Human development in recent decades has been accompanied by rapid changes in technology .... And the pace of change seems likely to accelerate.

We may be on the cusp of what has been termed the "Fourth Industrial Revolution."

Every major industry on our planet is about to be completely reimagined.

The experts quoted above agree: If you think recent advances in tech have affected your business, just wait until you see the next advances.

But don't wait too long. "More than half of organizations are, to one degree or another, falling behind rivals that are transitioning toward becoming a digital business at a faster rate," says a study commissioned by tech company BMC.

Which companies are in the greatest danger? The international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development puts it bluntly: "Small firms are lagging behind in the transition."

What's more, lagging behind is dangerous. As the National Small Business Association's most recent Technology & Small Business Survey says, "For three-quarters of small-business owners, keeping up with technology is very important to the success of their company."

But how can you keep up when so much is happening so fast?

1) Explore online news sites.

One of the most reputable and popular news sites is TechCrunch, which describes itself as "technology news and analysis with a focus on founders and startup teams." The site includes viewpoints from industry leaders as well as daily breaking news.

Another popular site is Recode, which defines its mission as "uncovering and explaining how our digital world is changing — and changing us." You can easily see its approach in recent headlines like "The life cycle of a viral product," "What comes after Zoom fatigue," and "Biden's plan to make stuff cheaper."

For even more news, try Engadget (which calls itself "the original home for technology news and reviews") and The Verge ("how technology will change life in the future").

If you don't want to go to news sites, you can have news come to you. With Google Alerts, you can set up an alert for any topic, and the service will email you links to news about it.

Google Alerts will send you all the news on a topic, which may be too much to sift through. Fortunately, the aggregator Feedly says that it filters news stories so you can "track insights across the web without having to read everything."

2) Go beyond the news.

News is important, but it's not enough for smart decisions. "What you don't want to do is to just read news-level information," says Rohit Das, a vice-president here at Exela Technologies, "because then that's just an update." Other media provide richer information.

"Follow industry social media accounts," says tech journalist Zachary Smith. "From large corporations you admire to companies outside your industry that inspire you to entrepreneurs who started from the bottom, the idea is to follow accounts of people and companies who are pushing the boundaries every day and who are outside of your typical news realm."

Das recommends LinkedIn, particularly LinkedIn Groups. Among the largest LinkedIn groups for tech in business are The Business Technology Forum, CompTIA Connect, and Digital Innovation.

If you'd rather listen than read, try podcasts. Tech writer Irma Hunkeler says that listening to tech podcasts "[can] help you to hone a more rounded understanding of the tech industry and will mean you can jump on the coolest new trends as soon as you hear about them, keeping your small business with its finger smack dab on the pulse." Among the most highly regarded tech podcasts:

Videos are useful, too. Some of the best sources for tech news and insights are TED Talks, CNET, Google Tech Talks, and TechCrunch. You can also find useful information on Digital Mailroom's YouTube page.

When videos and other media reveal a topic that intrigues you, it's time to learn more. "Research studies are very helpful from that perspective, to give you a deeper understanding of what's going on," says Das, who likes studies from Stanford, Harvard, and other universities. His colleague Saleem Ahmed, Exela's vice president of product strategy, says, "I rely on reports on findings from companies within the tech industry."

Where can you find the research? LinkedIn Groups are one source: "There are people who are posting either their own perspectives or they're posting links to newest research," says Das. Ahmed and other experts visit Thoughtworks Technology Radar, which offers a variety of reports on tech and business. And if you want to watch new technology develop moment by moment, try the software development platform GitHub.

Meanwhile, in the offline world...

Keeping up with tech is a big job, but you don't have to do it alone. "If you have a dedicated information technology (IT) person whose job is to stay abreast of these updates and changes, maybe this is when you schedule a weekly meeting with him or her to brief you on changes on the horizon," says Scott Allen, co-author of The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online.

If you don't have an IT expert, you can turn the people in your office into experts. As you explore news sites and other information sources, ask others in your company to do the same thing. Then hold brainstorming sessions to discuss what they find.

You can also go beyond your company. "Reach out to your contacts to tap into their wealth of knowledge," says Don Carroll, vice president of business development at software company VPL. Customers, suppliers, and colleagues care as much about upcoming tech as you do, and they may be exploring technologies that can help you.

Trade shows - in the physical world or online - offer industry authorities, high-tech exhibitors, and other people who live on the edge of new tech and want to share what they know. "Many networking events announce what they are planning on highlighting and what you should look forward to in the coming years," says Zachary Smith. "Learning how others work with new technology can be beneficial for you and may give you insight into a new product, service, or business you can implement in your own company."

Knowledge is just the start.

Eventually, you'll learn enough to detect the technologies that will affect your industry and how they'll do it. You'll even develop a sense about which flashy new devices and systems are just silicon-coated fads.

Stuffing your head with information isn't the whole job, of course. "Assessing digital readiness, making necessary improvements, and breaking down barriers to change are key to maximizing technology's potential," says Chuck Rutenberg, president of the IT company BizForce Technologies.

But it all starts with reading, learning, and finding out what's coming next.