The technology world always has a new version, generation or model available, and as an entrepreneur you might decide you need them all. Keep in mind that the ideal gadgets might not always be the newest and shiniest—focus on the gadgets that help boost your business' productivity, both on-site and while traveling. Here are a few innovative tech items that are expected to make their mark on businesses in 2014. Make sure to keep your eye on them—they may just be a game changer for your business.
All Inclusive Tablet
Photo by Guillem Alsina via Wikimedia Commons
Tablets are rapidly overtaking laptops as the mobile computing option of choice. As popular as tablets are, however, there is still a need for laptops. Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 solves offers the hardware of a portable laptop, condensed into a Windows 8.1 tablet body that works well for traditional tablet applications. It offers more power than the iPad and Android based tablets, along with Windows 8.1, which is tailor made for touchscreen computers.
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Google Glass gives users a heads up display with voice controlled apps and a great deal of flexibility when it comes to working with typical business needs. For example, you can create a Google Glass app that measures inventory based on what you see in your visual field, while remaining hands-free to check meeting notes. Google Glass is not yet available for retail sale, as an invite is required from Google. However, you can purchase them on the secondary market.
Near Field Communication
Photo by Emerson Alecrim via Wikimedia Commons
Near field communication (NFC) is not new technology, but more smartphones are beginning to incorporate it into their designs. NFC allows users to communicate over short distances for the purposes of payment processing, such as contactless credit cards, or other similar applications. Some phones that support NFC include the Acer Cloud Mobile, Blackberry Q10, Google Nexus 5, and HTG EVO 4G LTE.
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Mobile payment options are becoming popular in many business sectors, particularly those with a sales staff and traditional checkout counters and registers. Some mobile payment options work with an existing merchant account, while others handle all aspects of processing on their own. When looking at a mobile processing option such as GoPayment, look into the rates, availability of the card reader, and usability of the associated app.
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3D printing is another up and coming technology trend, allowing businesses to create and design complex, intricate parts in-house rather than costly outsourcing. While it may not apply to all businesses, it's unarguably a game-changer in a wide range of industries such as tech development, health, motor sports, and more. The costs and availability of 3D printers are beginning to expand, with consumer grade models soon to launch.