According to a Smart Insights report, not only has the use of mobile tech surpassed desktop tech (in 2014), but Americans are browsing the internet on their phones and tablets for more hours a day than on a computer. The accessibility, along with constant advances in mobile technology are, as a result, reshaping how brands reach out to consumers.

Technology has forever changed many industries. In finance, companies like Biz2Credit, OnDeck and others caused a major disruption in how small business loan applications are handled. Entrepreneurs in search of funding no longer have to go from bank to bank and fill out mountains of paperwork. Now, they just go to an online platform and fill out one form in order to be connected with financial institutions that whose lending parameters they meet. Today, the majority of small business owners searching for funding are doing it via smart phones or tablets.

Consumers are turning to apps like BUDGT offer simple solutions to everyday finance and enables users to keep track of their expenses in a very unique way and create a new budget based on how much they have already spent during the month. Venmo (www.venmo.com) is a mobile payment service that lets users transfer money to each other via their phones.

It would be hard to identify an app that has changed an industry more quickly and significantly than Uber, which allows consumers to use their smart phones to arrange rides by routing trip requests to drivers who use their own cars. Uber has taken luck out of hailing a ride, enabled mobile payments, and allowed customers to give their opinions on review sites in real time. Likewise, the Waze app took GPS systems to the next level by adding in real-time traffic situations and even the locations of police officers who could possibly issue speeding tickets. Waze is now the world's largest community-based traffic and navigation app that enables drivers to share real-time traffic and road information.

Business owners and consumers alike also know that marketing is a core component of any company. How you market, however, is one factor that will ultimately determine how your business prevails amongst its competition. As traditional tactics begin to fade, some unexpected industries are taking advantage of the latest tech trends to gain exposure and innovate e-commerce as we know it.

Take Elizabeth Arden--a multi-million dollar cosmetic company that has teamed up with one of the fastest growing beauty apps, YouCam Makeup, to provide shoppers with a live preview of makeup and lipstick using facial recognition. Perfect Corp's series of cosmetic apps, including YouCam Makeup, is nearing over 200 million users -- more than Facebook has -- who happen to frequent the app multiple times per day.

According to Perfect Corp's Alice Chang, the company has over 200 patents protecting its groundbreaking photo visual tracking technology. The YouCam makeup app enables consumers to see how eyelashes and lipstick colors will look. Then, they can order product right on the spot.

"We live in a 'selfie' world. People want to look beautiful instantaneously," Chang says. "Every day 20 million photos are taken and we have 1 billion sessions per month."

Meanwhile, the Tinder dating app has helped countless men and women find romance -- presumably after they have used a beauty app to look better than ever before.

Lastly, iTunes app could be considered the granddaddy of them all since iTunes is where consumers can purchase countless apps, along with music, videos, TV shows, and books. Digital downloads revolutionized the music industry and digital technology has truly changed the entertainment industry forever.

Digital technology has helped industries from banking to beauty to dating to travel become faster and more efficient. Business owners of small to mid-sized firms should look into how apps can help them secure financing and better market to the consumer. Mobile apps are changing every industry and in order to compete effectively, growing businesses must keep up with technological advances.

Published on: Mar 17, 2016