Small Business Tech This Week: Drones Are Flying In Walmart And What The Heck Is “Cyberslacking?”


(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

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

1 – Walmart is testing drones in its warehouses.

According to this reportThe drones capture images — up to 30 pictures a second — in real time and mark missing items for inventory. The drones can check a full warehouse inventory in about a day, a process that can take a full month if done manually.

Why this is important for your business:

Here’s a use of drones that the FAA probably won’t mind (it’s inside), but you may love. Taking inventory has long been an expensive and cumbersome process for most businesses – and yet knowing how much inventory you have is critical for management. If Walmart succeeds, look for more drone technology in the future that will help you with this process.

 2 – Google is moving closer to creating a Universal Quantum Computer.

A group of scientists at Google’s research laboratories in Santa Barbara, California, and physicists at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain are getting closer to creating the ultimate computer – one that can handle “quantum bits” of information – too much data for today’s computers to process.

Why this is important for your business:

You don’t have to fully understand this technology (I surely don’t) but according to this Time Magazine cover story from a few years ago, quantum computers will design better planes, cut the rate of cancer deaths, help automobiles drive themselves and reduce weather-related deaths – all potential business opportunities for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.

3 – A new business-oriented virtual reality headset has arrived.

Sold by HTC, the Vive HR headset will sell for about $1,200 a pop and come with dedicated support for business customers with the option to buy the systems in bulk.

Why this is important for your business:

Virtual Reality is not just for gamers. Businesses are clamoring to figure out ways this technology can give users a better experience with their products – from walking through a “virtual” home to test-driving a “virtual” car. VR technology will shortly be used to help conduct meetings, test out prototypes of products and take “virtual” tours of showrooms and retail shops. You may find use for this technology in your business, too. HTC is betting on it.

4 – The corporate cloud is seeing a spike in malware infections.

Looking at millions of users, a security firm found that one in ten of all corporate files and folders shared on the cloud are infected by malware ranging from JavaScript exploits to spyware. What’s most concerning is that this rate is double the amount found in a similar analysis done last year.

Why this is important for your business:

Do you use a cloud-based sharing tool like DropboxGoogle Drive or Microsoft’s OneDrive? Many of us do. And it seems that many of us are also sharing (and spreading) infected files, too. Update your virus and security software and get some training to teach your employees the best practices for discovering and avoiding malicious software that could potentially disrupt your business.

5 – Researchers have designed a desk to combat “cyberslacking.”

Use your feet, man! The Tap-Kick-Click project uses a depth camera and special shoes that help “convert combinations of kicks, foot taps, jumps and postures into computer input commands.” So instead of sitting around “cyberslacking,” you and your employees can get up and kick your way around the Internet.

Why this is important for your business:

Yes, it seems a little extreme. But maybe this desk will help one or two of your employees be more productive. Or at least up their soccer game.


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