It’s clear our world is more connected than ever before and it continues to grow with an estimated 500 billion devices and things connected to the Internet by 2030.

Connection is what we do at Cisco, helping companies of all sizes connect, collaborate and communicate. For small businesses, connectivity is key to expanding networks, supporting teams and growing the business.

Having been selected as a national judge for the Telstra Business Awards this year, I have a particular interest in small business and how digital tool and technologies are transforming the way they operate in Australia. Some businesses want to improve workforce innovation and productivity, promote collaboration among employees, while allowing flexibility to work from anywhere, whilst some businesses want to enhance the customer experience and grow their business.

Nevertheless, it’s never been more important for small and medium business owners to keep their fingers on the pulse when it comes to technology and connectivity, to help drive their business forward.

Here are my top future tech trends that small businesses should be embracing:

  1. Adoption of cloud computing. So you’re able to run your business like an Enterprise grade business, simply and cost effectively.
  2. Integrated use of social and mobile. There’s no shortage of platforms for small business to reach and engage with new customers, partners and suppliers.
  3. Securing your business. This is a top priority to not only protect your business, and protect your customers’ data. Staying secure and current, no matter what size of your business.
  4. Insights from data and analytics. Simplified access through platforms and websites that will give you insights into what your customers are doing and the market trends to allow you to make important decisions.
  5. Explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT). They’ll be an amazing amount of data coming from connected devices and that provides an opportunity for small businesses like agribusiness or manufacturing to run its operations more effectively.

There are 31 small and medium business finalists in the running for the 2018 Telstra Business Awards, which will be held on the 20th of September at a Gala dinner in Melbourne.

Visit the Telstra Business Awards website for more information on the finalists.