The Five Biggest Things In Tech You Missed This Week: 11/7

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things that happened in the world of technology this past week and why they’re important for your business (and mine). Did you miss them?

Panera Bread is automating.

From Business Insider:

“According to Ron Shaich, founder and CEO of Panera Bread, a tech revolution is coming, and it will be bad news for many workers.”Labor is going to go down,” Shaich said. “And as digital utilization goes up — like the sun comes up in the morning — it is going to continue to go up.” Panera Bread, is in the middle of the rollout for Panera 2.0, which includes installing touch-screen ordering stations for customers at tables and the to-go line.”

Why this is important for your business:

If you’re running a retail shop or restaurant, take a look around. The bigger players are automating and more and more self-service and self-ordering kiosks are popping up. To stay competitive, you’ll be needing to make the investment in this kind of technology very soon, so start doing your research.

Facebook introduces two new tools to improve local marketing.

From Facebook:

“New updates to local awareness ads allow businesses using Locations for Pages – a tool for connecting and managing business Pages with multiple store locations – to use information from each of their Pages to add dynamic ad copy, links and call-to-action buttons to their ads, so each ad is localized for its corresponding store. When businesses want to understand more about the people visiting their Page, they go to Page Insights. And now Page Insights has a new tab with information for local businesses who want to understand more about the groups of people near their store. Local Insights tell businesses the aggregate demographics and trends associated with the people nearby, so they can better understand and cater to the needs of the people in the area.”

Why this is important for your business:

Millions of small businesses rely on Facebook for their marketing and these two new tools will help you focus your advertising locally to get better responses and hopefully more business. Be careful – I’m seeing that as social media and mobile advertising tools get more mature and complex, the need to invest in skilled people to operate them is becoming more apparent. In other words: nothing in life is for free.

Microsoft is readying its Windows 10 Store for Business.

From ZDNet:

“Microsoft is readying its promised Windows Store for Business for Windows 10, and has made available some initial information on the coming Store as of November 4. The Windows Store for Business is the portal for Windows 10 apps for business users. The portal will allow admins to find apps for their teams. They can acquire apps individually or in volume. They can assign, reclaim or reassign licenses to various apps and control app updates. They also can distribute offline-licensed apps via the Windows Store for Business.”

Why this is important for your business:

With increased pressure from Google and Apple, Microsoft is taking steps to solidify its relationship with its business customers (that’s you and me) and the Windows 10 Store For Business will be our go-to portal for buying everything Microsoft-related. The idea is that if we have a problem or a need, and we’re already using Microsoft products, we’ll go to this portal first to find the solution and implement it.

You can now pay for stuff with smart jewelry.

Per Fast Company:

“This week the smart jewelry company Ringly announced a partnership with MasterCard that will allow customers to pay for items with the tap of a ring. The rings, which have been sold at Ringly.com and other online retailers since January 2015, pair with phones and are controlled using an iPhone or Android app.”

Why this is important for your business:

It’s not just smartphones. It’s rings and other items that will store information and be used to identify your customers and collect payment. If you haven’t already, start upgrading your point of sale systems to accept mobile payments because those payments are going to be coming from all different places…including jewelry!

Apple quietly launches an indoor mapping app.

From Silicon Valley Business Journal:

“Without much fanfare, the company launched the Indoor Survey App on iOS, which will allow businesses to map out their venues via an iPhone. Business owners will be able to map their venues by walking through them. “Enable indoor positioning within a venue using the Indoor Survey App,” the app description stated on iTunes. “By dropping ‘points’ on a map within the Survey App, you indicate your position within the venue as you walk through. As you do so, the Indoor Survey App measures the radio frequency (RF) signal data and combines it with an iPhone’s sensor data.””

Why this is important for your business:

I know you’d like your customers to linger in your store but the fact is they want things quick. They’re busy. And time is important. Within a few years most retailers and other businesses that have more than a few hundred square feet of space will be rolling out indoor mapping to help their customers, warehouse workers and other employees quickly find their way around their facilities and stores.

Oh, in case you haven’t seen it, a few midshipmen at the Naval Academy did this killer video of “Uptown Funk” that went viral this week.

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