Walmart Enters The Metaverse—And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

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

1 —Walmart is quietly preparing to enter the metaverse.

Walmart seems to be planning its own collection of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and cryptocurrency. Late last month, the retailer filed some trademarks that imply plans to sell and make virtual products such as sporting goods, personal care products, toys, home decor, and electronics. A separate filing detailed that Walmart will offer consumers NFTs as well as virtual currency. (Source: CNBC)

Why this is important for your business:

The metaverse is real and small business owners should be paying attention. Within the next few years we’ll be seeing more and more meetings, events and other activities taking place virtually as millions are now doing in gaming.  We’ll have our own avatars and attend functions in this virtual world. Certain locations will be hot properties. Digital products from furniture to artwork will be bought and sold. GenZ already knows this and they’ll be the biggest participants. Big brands like Walmart are already staking their claims.

2 — U.S. fintech Current is introducing high-yield savings where customers earn 4 percent interest.

Current—a U.S.-based fintech— will be introducing a new product geared toward making its bank offerings more efficient. The announcement included information on the launch of its new high-yield service known as “Interest” which will let any user earn a 4 percent APY (Annual Percentage Yield). That rate is 60 times the national average. Interest will be available to all users, which includes anybody using the free Basic plan in addition to its Premium users. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

There are now many online banking options for small businesses and acceptance has substantially grown over the past few years. And you can’t argue with a 4 percent interest rate when current rates are near zero!

3 —Softra no-code platform for building business apps on Airtable data raised $13.5M.

No-code web-app building platform Softr announced this past week that it recently raised $13.5 million and detailed that it plans to develop the “largest ecosystem for building no-code applications” in the world using table on the Airtable platform. Airtable has varying developmental sectors that allow users of different skill levels to build, from JavaScript programmers to non-programmers. The app can also integrate with more than 30 other products. (Sources: Venture Beat and Info World)

Why this is important for your business:

Airtable continues to be a very popular platform for many of my clients who are looking to easily build online databases and spreadsheets that can be customized for specific functions. Add-ons like Softr make the platform even easier to create apps by non-software developers. So before going down the software development road with a higher priced programmer, it’s worth looking at these tools first.

4 — IT spending is expected to hit a record high in 2022 as industries look to the future. 

According to a new report, spending for IT is expected to surpass pre-COVID levels with a growth of 5.1 percent this year. That will bring the total spending to $4.5 trillion. Analyst firm Gartner also predicts that the enterprise software sector— which includes areas like cloud computing— will see an 11 percent YOY (year-over-year) increase, which would be the largest growth in IT spending. The IT services segment which includes management and consulting services is predicted to be ranked second by spending $1.3 trillion (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

Coming out of the pandemic it’s looking more and more that 2022 will be an upgrade year for infrastructure, hardware and software. What are your plans?

5—Microsoft unveiled an accelerator for startups that use technology to help the planet.       

Microsoft announced an accelerator geared towards startups that use technology to help the environment. (Source: Microsoft)

Why this is important for your business:

The AI for Environmental Sustainability Accelerator will assist companies that use artificial intelligence to make a positive change in one of the following six categories: Green skilling, climate equity, ecosystems, waste, water, and carbon. The chosen startups will join the program and will receive cloud credits for Microsoft Azure and guidance from experts in the field.

Christin Hakim

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