Story image

Top digital opportunities for Kiwi SMBs going into 2018

15 Jan 18

It’s set to be a shakeup of a year for Kiwi businesses.

Amazon is speculated to arrive, the Internet of Things will move from hype to reality, and robots are getting smarter.

But although 2018 is touted to be a year of digital opportunity, only 33% of SME owners say they have a plan for how they’ll use tech to grow their business, according to data from social enterprise Digital Journey.

Spark says that needs to change and is urging Kiwi businesses to think about how they’ll use technology to gain an edge locally and globally this year.

Spark business customer and marketing head Richard Sandford says it’s a loss for businesses not to be embracing technology.

“New Zealand's connectivity rivals some of the most developed countries in the world. With two new nationwide IoT networks on their way and the rapid spread of 4.5G, it will only get better. 

"We have every opportunity to lead, but we’re not doing that like we could.”

According to MBIE, New Zealand has $34 billion to gain if businesses made better use of the Internet. 

Sandford says New Zealand would see a number of new opportunities this year.

"Technology will bring new ways to save time and money, but also bring increased competition. We want New Zealand businesses to be well placed to take that head-on.” 

Here are some of the key digital opportunities for 2018 and what could they mean for small businesses.

Internet of Things (IoT)

This will be the year that IoT stops being a buzzword and becomes a reality.

Two new IoT networks will be launched in 2018, covering more than 70% of the places Kiwis live and work.

Businesses will have more IoT solutions available to them than ever before.  

One of the big opportunities is in tracking important assets.

IoT technology lets businesses know, at a glance, where their equipment is and what it's doing.

Electric vehicles (EVs)

Tesla’s 500,000 electric vehicles will hit roads around the world this year, including New Zealand.

EVs are growing in popularity and business owners who use them stand to markedly reduce running costs, and transport carbon emissions by 80%.   

Amazon.com

With Amazon.com recently opened in Australia, there’s every possibility it will continue to edge closer to New Zealand’s shores.

For the 28% of SMEs who aren’t currently selling their products or services online, Amazon provides either an opportunity to get online or a threat to the market share of businesses who decide not to evolve.

Robots and artificial intelligence

2018 is tipped to be the year artificial intelligence (AI) takes off and with it, the chatbot.

This technology is able to intelligently adapt, learn and improve the way it talks with customers.

The result is that chatbots are getting more sophisticated and demand for them from businesses is growing as the applications increase. 

IDC: Standalone VR headset shipments grow 428.6% in 3Q18
The VR headset market returned to growth in 3Q18 after four consecutive quarters of decline and now makes up 97% of the combined market.
Spark Lab launches free cybersecurity tool for SMBs
Spark Lab has launched a new tool that it hopes will help New Zealand’s small businesses understand their cybersecurity risks.
Preparing for the future of work – growing big ideas from small spaces
We’ve all seen it: our offices are changing from the traditional four walls - to no walls. A need to reduce real estate costs is a key driver, as is enabling a more diverse and agile workforce.
Bluetooth-enabled traps could spell the end for NZ's pests
A Wellington conservation tech company has come up with a way of using Bluetooth to help capture pests like rats and stoats.
CERT NZ highlights rise of unauthorised access incidents
“In one case, the attacker gained access and tracked the business’s emails for at least six months. They gathered extensive knowledge of the business’s billing cycles."
Report finds GCSB in compliance with NZ rights
The Inspector-General has given the GCSB its compliance tick of approval for the fourth year in a row.
Preparing for e-invoicing requirements
The New Zealand and Australian governments are working on a joint approach to create trans-Tasman standards to e-invoicing that’ll make it easier for businesses in both countries work with each other and across the globe
5c more per share: Trade Me bidding war heats up
Another bidder has entered the bidding arena as the potential sale of Trade Me kicks up a notch.