Amazon Uses A Drone To Deliver Popcorn And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

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(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 – Amazon delivers its first package via drone.

The delivery of a Fire TV stick and a bag of popcorn was made from a fulfillment center in Cambridge, England. Amazon hopes that “one day, seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road.” (Source: Forbes)

Why this is important for your business:

My Kindle still isn’t working right, and they expect a drone to deliver packages? It’s unlikely that drone delivery will be as ubiquitous as Amazon predicts, but you can expect this form of delivery to be an option to get your products to certain far-flung places of the world (where there are no kids with slingshots) within the next few years.

2 – A billion accounts get hacked at Yahoo.

Yahoo has confirmed this happened back in August of 2013. Oh, and this is a separate incident from the 500 million accounts that were previously hacked. Data stolen “may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords…and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.” (Source: Forbes)
Why this is important for your business:

If you’re running a site or have an email on Yahoo, change your password now. If you’re amazed, disgusted, shocked and thinking of leaving Yahoo forever, I don’t blame you.

3 – Microsoft’s Skype can now provide real-time language translation for mobile and landline calls.

Now, you can use real-time translation when making a call on Skype. As you’re dialing the number, just choose the “translator” button and a language. It works for any landline call and supports the translation of English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese (Mandarin), Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Arabic and Russian. (Source: The Next Web)

Why this is important for your business:

Language is by far the largest barrier stopping many small businesses from buying and selling overseas. Getting familiar and proficient with this tool may very well open up new markets and make doing business with your foreign partners much easier. (My company, The Gene Marks Group, is a Microsoft Partner.)

4 – A Chinese startup has unveiled a robotic arm that’s “perfect” for small businesses. 

It’s called the “Dobot M1” (no, Homer, not the “D’oh! bot”). It’s programmable with “interchangeable tool heads and kits for soldering, sorting, engraving, cutting, 3D printing and manufacturing.” It’s currently being funded through Kickstarter and should ship in May 2017. (Source: New Atlas)
Why this is important for your business:

If your company’s manufacturing process requires repetitive sorting, cutting, slitting, or other similar processes, the cost savings of buying and programming this robotic arm could well exceed the costs you’d need to pay an employee over a few years. It’s a great way to get your shop started on automation, and the arm itself could be put to more than one use on the factory floor.

5 – Twitter now lets you broadcast live video directly.

Twitter has announced that it has formally integrated its live video app Periscope with the popular social media platform. (Source: Forbes)

Why this is important for your business:

If you’ve tried to deliver live content via Twitter’s Periscope in the past, you’re likely had to jump over a few hurdles because Periscope is a separate application from Twitter. Finally, the two have been melded together so the process is seamless and much easier. This improvement makes Twitter a better player amongst the giants competing for your company’s online video content.

Finally, this company in London is seeking an “emoji translator.” Just in case you want to chuck it all in, move to the UK and really do something useless. Bring your umbrella.

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