Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are the backbone of the global economy, accounting for most of the jobs and economic output in many countries. However, they often face challenges such as limited resources, access to markets, and skills gaps that hinder their growth and innovation potential.
Fortunately, cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are leveling the playing field for SMBs, enabling them to access powerful tools and capabilities that were previously reserved for large corporations. By adopting cloud and AI solutions, SMBs can improve their productivity, efficiency, customer satisfaction, and competitiveness in various sectors such as healthcare, education, and agriculture.
A new report by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Accenture reveals how SMBs in these three sectors are poised to drive significant increases in economic output in the U.S. and around the world as they increasingly adopt cloud and AI technologies. The report, titled “Cloud-Enabled SMBs: Accelerating Innovation Across Industries”, is based on a survey of over 1,000 SMBs across 12 countries with advanced economies, as well as interviews with industry experts and case studies of successful SMBs.
The report projects that cloud-enabled SMBs will unlock $79.8 billion in combined annual productivity benefits by 2030 in the U.S. healthcare, education, and agriculture sectors. At a global level, those figures rise to $161 billion in annual gains for those three sectors across the 12 countries covered in the research.
The report also highlights how cloud and AI technologies are empowering SMBs to tackle some of the most pressing economic and societal challenges in their respective fields, such as improving access to quality healthcare, education, and food.
Healthcare: Making Healthcare More Accessible and Personalized
The healthcare sector is undergoing a digital transformation that is reshaping how patients receive care and how providers deliver it. Cloud and AI technologies are enabling SMBs to offer more accessible, affordable, and personalized healthcare services to their customers.
For example, the report projects that by 2030 there will be over 23 million annual telehealth consultations in the U.S. that are facilitated by SMBs using cloud and AI to make healthcare more accessible and personalized. Telehealth allows patients to consult with doctors remotely via video calls or chatbots, reducing the need for physical visits and increasing convenience and safety.
Another example is how SMBs are using cloud and AI to improve claims processing and billing in the healthcare sector. By automating tedious and error-prone tasks such as data entry, verification, and reconciliation, SMBs can reduce costs, increase accuracy, and speed up payments.
Education: Enhancing Learning Outcomes and Opportunities
The education sector is facing a growing demand for quality education that is relevant, engaging, and inclusive. Cloud and AI technologies are enabling SMBs to offer more effective and personalized learning experiences to their students.
For instance, the report projects that 19 million primary school and high school students in the U.S. will engage in e-learning via cloud-enabled SMBs in 2030, in addition to around 61 million adults accessing education online. E-learning allows students to access a variety of courses and content from anywhere, anytime, and at their own pace.
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Another example is how SMBs are using cloud and AI to create adaptive learning platforms that tailor the curriculum to each student’s needs, preferences, and progress. By using data analytics and machine learning, these platforms can provide feedback, guidance, and recommendations to help students achieve their learning goals.
Agriculture: Improving Food Security and Sustainability
The agriculture sector is facing a growing challenge of feeding a growing population while preserving natural resources and reducing environmental impact. Cloud and AI technologies are enabling SMBs to optimize their farming practices and increase their yields and profits.
For example, the report projects that by 2030, one in eight farms globally will use precision agriculture technologies supported by tools like AI and cloud – a notable increase from the current one in 20 farms. Precision agriculture allows farmers to monitor and control various aspects of their crops such as soil moisture, nutrient levels, pest infestation, and weather conditions using sensors, drones, satellites, or smartphones.
Another example is how SMBs are using cloud and AI to create smart irrigation systems that use data from sensors or satellites to adjust water usage according to crop needs. By reducing water waste and improving water efficiency, these systems can save costs, conserve water resources, and enhance crop quality.
Conclusion: Cloud-Enabled SMBs are Driving Innovation Across Industries
The report by AWS and Accenture shows how cloud computing and AI technologies are transforming various sectors such as healthcare, education, and agriculture by enabling SMBs to innovate faster, scale easier, and serve better. By adopting cloud and AI solutions, SMBs can unlock significant productivity benefits, create new value propositions, and address some of the most critical challenges facing their industries and society at large.