Skip to main content

Small Business Tech Roundup: Will Meta’s New AI “Personas” Annoy You?

By August 6, 2023No Comments

(This column originally appeared in Forbes)

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

1 — Meta plans AI-powered chatbots to boost social media numbers.

Meta is taking more inventive steps to integrate AI into social media. The company is reportedly working on “Personas” which are AI chatbots that will engage with users on Instagram and Facebook. The chatbots will be conversational and some will have distinct personalities. Other aspects of the AI will offer professional services such as coaching and customer service. The goal is to increase the percentages of daily users by making their social media experience more enthralling. (Source: Ars Technica)

Why this is important for your business:

Big companies like Meta are experimenting with AI in all sorts of different ways and for a small business owner it will be fun to watch as they succeed…or fail. Do users want “coaching” advice from a robot? Will they enjoy interacting with a non-human while browsing their platforms or will they find it annoying and invasive? If it’s popular I’m sure we’ll all be doing the same which means that the answers will dictate how our websites will be developed and upgraded using similar AI tools in the years to come.

2 Bluevine launches an accounts payable solution that’s fully integrated with its small business banking platform.

Financial tech company Bluevine — which serves more than 400,000 small and mid-sized businesses — just released an accounts payable feature that will help small businesses manage and track monthly payments. According to the company, users can upload and store all of their monthly bills into a “digital filing cabinet,” automate/schedule/track outgoing payments, and delegate team members’ access to selected accounts. (Source: Yahoo Finance)

Why this is important for your business:

For years I’ve been predicting that banks will ultimately provide their own accounting solutions for their small business customers because it makes sense to do so. This has yet to happen in any big way. Bluevine, which provides banking and financing options for small businesses is taking a step in that direction by integrating payables with their platforms. Will receivables be next? General ledger? I still think we’re ultimately heading in that direction.

3 — Verizon Small Business Days returns with tech check, promotions, and new small business workshops.

Verizon announced its upcoming Verizon Small Business Days — a program designed for small and mid-sized businesses — that will include online workshops, promotional deals, and complimentary technical assessments. Special promotions include a free 5G phone for those who transfer their services to Verizon. Participants can also receive a free check up from a Verizon rep on their system and get input on any security issues, connectivity and where improvements can be made. (Source: GlobeNewswire)

Why this is important for your business:

Free phones aside, I strongly recommend a regular “tech checkup” particularly if you’re an owner of a small business. You should be aware of any potential security issues as well as whether or not your existing infrastructure is truly leveraging the cloud and is as effective as it can be. Verizon’s services are free, so why not take advantage.

4 — BigCommerce to launch new Google Cloud AI-powered ecommerce features.

E-commerce software provider BigCommerce is integrating Google Cloud’s AI into its platform “to allow enterprise merchants to optimize their ecommerce operations,” the company said. (Source: Tullahoma News)

Why this is important for your business:

With the proliferation of companies taking advantage of AI technology, BigCommerce emphasized that this will give online merchants the ability to automate their operations, improve customer relationships and increase sales.

5 — Microsoft Teams 2.0 to introduce a new app for meeting management.

Microsoft is releasing a new app for its Microsoft Teams 2.0. The app will be available this month with wide availability in September. (Source: Winbuzzer)

Why this is important for your business:

The app will help Teams members arrange and schedule meetings, itemize key details (date, time, number of participants), and store meeting content. AI-supported “Up next” features will allow users to review alerts, retrieve documents, and address any meeting-related questions. A “Recent” feature will provide a list of meetings conducted in the last 30 days including transcripts, notes, presenters and other memorialized content.

Skip to content