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More Small Employers Are Replacing Workers With Robots…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

By October 31, 2021No Comments

(This article originally appeared in Forbes)

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

1 -Employees are not showing up to work, and employers are replacing them with robots.

Recent results from a Verizon survey revealed that 30% of the small U.S. businesses that participated have already begun to adopt digital solutions to help make up for the worker shortage throughout the coronavirus pandemic. These technologies include robots that scan shelves to manage inventory in grocery stores and stock shelves, robots that take the place of restaurant servers, robotic delivery tech, and toilet cleaning bots, to name a few. (Source: The Hill)

Why this is important for your business:

This article has more than a dozen examples of small and large companies taking advantage of lower tech costs to replace workers with automation. The tech companies won’t admit this and neither will the employers. But it’s happening. And given the high cost (and maintenance) of employing people, you really can’t blame them. I expect to see more of this in the coming years.

2 — According to a new report, 81 percent of online retailers increased their AI budget to boost holiday sales.

A new report revealed that 85% of retailers are expecting sales online to go up during the upcoming holiday season. The same report also revealed- however- that 42 percent of retailers continue to be concerned over the disruptions being caused by the supply chain crisis and how it may impact delivery times and inventory. The same report revealed that- in order to remain competitive-81 percent of retailers are planning to spend more on AI this year. (Source: Venture Beat)

Why this is important for your business:

Now why do you think 81 percent of retailers are planning to spend more on AI this year? If you’re still not sure, please refer back to the first item in this column. Hello tech. Goodbye people.

3 -Walmart rolled out its first installation of Bitcoin ATMs.

Walmart will be having bitcoin ATMs installed in 200 locations across the country through its partnerships with Coinme- a crypto-cash exchange- and Coinstar, the coin-cashing machine company. While the pilot program will only be 200 ATMs, the rollout is part of a larger plan to add 8,000 bitcoin ATMs throughout the U.S. Currently there are over 25,000 bitcoin ATMs across the country in gas stations and supermarkets. (Source: Pymnts)

Why this is important for your business:

If you’re a small business you should be watching digital currencies closely. No, not to invest. But to accept. Right now it’s still too “bleeding edge” and risky to deal with the volatility inherent in these things. But as companies like Walmart are doing, you’ll soon need to be doing the same or you may lose some customers.

4 — Google has lowered its app store fees to 15 percent amid scrutiny from developers and regulators.

Google announced this past week that it is cutting fees for its app-store in half for the majority of developers as the tech giant faces scrutiny for the cost charged. The Google Play store’s service fees for its subscriptions will go from 30 percent to 15 percent. Developers were previously charged the 30 percent rate for a full year. The policy seems to not pertain to in-app purchases, but just subscriptions. The new policy will begin at the start of the new year. (Source: Market Watch)

Why this is important for your business:

I’m not sure if this is just “scrutiny” or merely the result of increased competition from Apple and others. But the fact is that fees are coming down which means higher revenues and increased opportunities for developers.

5-Zoom now has auto-generated captions available for free accounts.

Zoom has added auto-generated closed captions that are now available for all free accounts. While the captions are currently available only in English, the video conferencing company does plan to include additional languages over time as well. The addition to the free accounts comes as Zoom works to make its platform more accessible to individuals with disabilities. Prior to this update, only paid users had access to the AI-generated captions. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

It’s a great feature and helpful for businesses in education or who have older workers. Tell your workers and turn it on.

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