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Wendy’s Installs 1,000 Self-Service Kiosks 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 – Wendy’s will soon have self-ordering kiosks for its customers.

Looking to improve automation, reduce labor costs and provide a faster service for their customers, the fast-food giant is installing self-service kiosks this year in 1,000 of its locations across the U.S. (Source: Christian Science Monitor)

Why this is important for your business:

Big companies are automating so that they can cut overhead. Customers, particularly Millennials, are asking for more self-service functions to speed up the buying process. Your store or restaurant will likely need to make this investment in the next few years. Now I’m in the mood for a Baconator.

 2 – MasterCard has a new way for your customers to get their food and drinks.

Called Qkr!, the payment app will let your customers “create an open tab at participating bars that would replace the need to leave a physical payment card or ID with the bartender.” It will also allow customers to pay for their food without waiting for the bill. Unfortunately, the app’s name is wreaking havoc with my spell checker. (Source: MarketWatch)

Why this is important for your business:

The self-service wave continues – easy ordering, easy paying and easy drinking in this case. Sign me up!

3 – Major tech players and banks have formed a blockchain alliance.

According to Investopedia, a blockchain “is a public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions that have ever been executed. It is constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks are added to it with a new set of recordings. The blocks are added to the blockchain in a linear, chronological order. Each node (computer connected to the Bitcoin network using a client that performs the task of validating and relaying transactions) gets a copy of the blockchain, which gets downloaded automatically upon joining the Bitcoin network. The blockchain has complete information about the addresses and their balances right from the genesis block to the most recently completed block.”

Why this is important for your business:

Translation: It’s a super-secure way to manage digital payments. An alliance that includes Microsoft, Intel, JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse is planning to connect Fortune 500 enterprises, startups, academics and technology vendors to its subject matter experts on Ethereum – an “open-source, blockchain-based distributed computing platform that provides a decentralized virtual machine.” Look for your customers to demand this kind of security of their payments in the years to come. The Marks Group is a Microsoft partner. (Source: ZDNet)

 4 – PayPal now has 200 million active users.

The payment service announced the milestone this week and also celebrated the fact that 50 million of those customers are opting to use its One Touch system, which “allows users to stay signed in to their accounts and avoid repeatedly having to type in a password when buying from millions of retailers.” (Source: CNET). PayPal is a Marks Group client.

Why this is important for your business:

PayPal has successful pivoted from just being an online payment system to being a service used by many bricks-and-mortar merchants. You should be making this option available to your customers, too, assuming you want to make it easy for them do business with you.

5 – The tech startup market is at its lowest point in three years.

Startup deal-making has fallen 37 percent, according to the Bloomberg U.S. Startups Barometer. Currently, the index is at its lowest point since April 2014. Uncertainty with the current administration has affected investment decisions, according to one analyst. (Source: Bloomberg)

Why this is important for your business:

It’s always a good time to start-up a company if you’ve got capital, a good idea, a supportive significant other and 25 hours a day to devote to it. But tech startups are paused, so maybe you should pause as well until the future becomes a bit more clear?

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