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Battery Breakthroughs…And Other Small Business Tech News

By December 13, 2020December 14th, 2020No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Two big battery tech advances.

Two major battery technological advances have rolled out recently with the first coming from QuantumScape, a Bill Gates and Volkswagen-backed startup. The startup recently announced that the “solid state” batteries— created for electric vehicles— will now be more efficient than other batteries made in the past. The new EV batteries will have the capability to hold greater power, charge quicker, and have a longer life. Additionally, researchers have recently created a battery that is rechargeable, flexible, and composed of silver oxide-zinc. This battery has a real energy density that is 5-10 times more than current batteries and is easier to make than previous flexible batteries, which required very specific conditions. (Source: The Verge, UCSD News)

Why this is important for your business:

Yes, batteries are the killer app of the next few years.Battery tech is hot and you can expect that science will soon overcome the challenges of storing and using energy for all sorts of products – from vehicles to phones to machinery. These advances will allow us to avoid the problems of finding power and instead help us conduct business with less disruptions and more flexibility.

2 —WhatsApp’s new Carts feature is aimed at simplifying in-app shopping.

WhatsApp is rolling out a new feature for shopping carts, allowing users to buy several items at once from businesses using only one message. The new feature— which will work in correlation with the existing catalogs function—will now allow users to add more than one item to their cart and complete the whole order through one message, negating the need for the redundant communication that was required in the past. WhatsApp Business has more than 175 million users, making it a sought-after place for small businesses from all over the globe to sell their items. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, and despite its recent anti-trust challenges, is part of Facebook’s overall ecommerce strategy to make it easier for businesses to sell their goods through the communications platform. WhatsApp is more popular overseas, so if your business is selling outside of the U.S. these in-app shopping tools could help increase your sales to other parts of the world.

3 — and Wells Fargo are debuting an AP automation feature for SMBs.

Wells Fargo and are joining forces to create a feature to assist small and medium sized businesses in gaining access to automation for accounts receivable and accounts payable processes. Bill Manager— the name of the feature—will take the cloud-based features in and integrate them into the digital services that Wells Fargo provides in order to help give access to paperless methods for payment while providing more control and ease of use for businesses. The partnership will help streamline workflow into a digital process while adding additional features such as electronically capturing and tracking invoices, to name a few. (Source: Pymnts)

Why this is important for your business:

This partnership continues the trend of banking and financial accounting applications moving closer and closer together. My prediction is that banks will ultimately provide their own accounting software, either self-developed or through acquisition of existing software platforms.

4 — Workplace video communication app Voodle has raised $6M to combat ‘Zoom fatigue and Slack overload’.

Voodl— a Seattle-based startup— recently raised $6 million in funding. The company— which helps freshen up the way businesses communicate remotely— is replacing time consuming video calls or notes using short selfie-style clips. The video clips— similar to TikTok— are able to be searched and stored in channels and also have transcriptions that are able to be shared through other apps like Salesforce or Hubspot. With just 15 employees, Voodle plans to ramp up hiring with their new funding (Source: GeekWire)

Why this is important for your business:

The video clips— similar to TikTok— are able to be searched and stored in channels and also have transcriptions that are able to be shared through other apps like Salesforce or Hubspot. This is a new and more user-friendly way to store and share information via video and could pose a strong challenge to other communication platforms.

5— Shippit raised $22M to automate ecommerce shipping tasks.

Shippit— which helps companies with shipping and related logistics— recently raised $22M. With the coronavirus making more and more consumers turn to online shipping, supply chains have been pushed to the limit, forcing some major players like Amazon to limit how much inventory was able to be sent to warehouses at the start of the pandemic. (Source: Venture Beat)

Why this is important for your business:

Shippit assists businesses by providing several delivery options when customers are checking out while also automating returns, fulfilment, and other processes. The e-commerce explosion this year driven by the pandemic has also increased the need for better shipping and supply chain applications and Shippit is a great technology for small businesses to consider.

YOUR BONUS: Scientists beamed shapes and motion directly into monkeys’ brains using light.

Scientists recently tested the process of directly beaming images into the brains of monkeys using light and were able to achieve the greatest level of high-definition results yet. Through injecting small electrodes into a monkey’s digital cortex, researchers were able to stimulate several electrodes simultaneously in a safe manner, which allowed the monkeys to see and identify complicated shapes such as motion and letters. Through the process of injecting the electrodes deep into the tissue of the brain, scientists had the ability to be more precise about what was stimulated through using smaller currents than in other methods. (Source: Singularity Hub)

Why this is important for your business:

It’s been a tough year. But news like this brings hope.

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