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Microsoft Is Replacing Employees With AI…And Other Small Business Tech News

By June 7, 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 — Microsoft is replacing its employees with AI software.

This past week it was announced that Microsoft has let go several journalists and instead will be implementing AI (Artificial Intelligence) that has the ability to perform those same jobs. Nearly 30 journalists were given a month’s notice following Microsoft’s decision to no longer employ people who would research, edit, and choose the various news articles for one of their pages. While the individuals who worked on the site run by Microsoft did not write the stories they were curating, they did edit and pick stories from other news outlets and occasionally edit headlines and material when needed. My firm implements some Microsoft products. (Source: Novinite)

Why this is important for your business:

No disrespect to my colleagues, but the fact of the matter is that some journalism is pretty basic. Some have jobs that just take information from a press release or a news story and then convert those stories into a column. Wait a second…that sounds like me! Well, at least, I add some commentary and insights. But for stories that only require a summary to make into an article, can’t AI do the same? And can’t AI interpret your own technical agreements and turn them into blogs too? The future is here.

2 — LinkedIn is adding retargeting by video views and lead-generation forms.

Companies and businesses utilizing LinkedIn will be able to have several options moving forward in helping them retargeting and scaling campaigns. During the next month, LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager feature will give users the tools to redirect campaigns based off of video views as well as lead generation forms. With this move, LinkedIn aims to assist advertisers by providing them with new ways to target campaigns to individuals in order to help brands with their objectives. The newest marketing strategies have helped conversion rates go up 20% and have simultaneously cut costs. (Source: AdWeek)

Why this is important for your business:

Here’s my take on LinkedIn advertising: it’s significantly more expensive than Google and Facebook. But then again you get what you pay for. Ads on LinkedIn are focused more specifically to individuals that may be much better targets. Now these same people can be re-targeted if the first ad didn’t get noticed. This feature entices small business owners like me to invest more in this platform.

3 —A new cybersecurity warning reveals that hackers are targeting your smartphone as a way into company networks.

A new cybersecurity study released information indicating that— during the last 90 days of 2019 and the first several months of 2020— there has been an increase of 37% in phishing attacks that target smartphones. While those using laptops and desktops have been used to the threat of emails containing phishing campaigns, criminals setting their sights on IOS and Android devices with these attacks is relatively new. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

A warning here for your employees: with attacks being more difficult to identify on smartphones as opposed to regular computers, cyber criminals are easily able to access business accounts if users log in to phishing pages in order to access work information on the cloud.

4 — More than a million delivery drones are expected in the skies by 2026.

Recent information released by Gartner revealed that there could be over one million drones in the sky over the next 6 years. Throughout the last several months of the COVID-19 pandemic, drones have been used more and more in order to limit human-to-human contact while maintaining the ability to deliver supplies and medications all over the world. Throughout the pandemic, it has been shown that drones can often more efficiently and quickly deliver goods and medication as opposed to on-ground methods or robot deliveries. Drones are also proven to be more cost effective and can travel at a greater speed than on-ground deliveries. (Source: The Next Web)

Why this is important for your business:

This will have a major impact on the cost and timing of shipments and enable some businesses to access certain hard to reach people that could turn into more markets. I don’t expect to see armies of drones flying around but I do expect shipping companies to be able to use these vehicles as yet another source to deliver products and small business owners should keep those sources in mind.

5— Online retail sales have seen their highest growth on record this past April.

NAB’s retail index for online sales has shown that April experienced the greatest monthly growth in the index’s history, likely due to the many businesses and shops closing due to COVID-19. Fashion sales had gone up by 25.6%—domestically—while purchases made internationally in the same category only went up by 4.3%. Domestic sales in retail greatly surpassed international retail, which could have a lot to do with the shutdowns across international borders due to the crisis. (Source: Inside Retail AU)

Why this is important for your business:

This is not just a retail story. This story underlies the importance of diversification, a significant lesson learned from the Coronavirus pandemic. If you’re able to sell stuff online – or even through other channels like distribution or independent sales rep – it’s become a necessary model in case there are disruptions. The companies that embraced these alternative models were able to better navigate through the economic downturn.


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