The digital age is often referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but digital technology has not just transformed industry and commerce. It has had a massive impact on everything from health care to online entertainment options, and from running smart homes to potentially solving some of the world’s biggest social problems.
On a more individual front, technology now underpins how we work and often how we play too. Let’s explore some of the contemporary and future uses of technology for businesses.
Digital workplaces and data management
One of the most exciting commercial uses of technology in recent times is to create a digital workplace, finding ways to do things quicker, more effectively, and profitably, and with less waste. These are some of the advantages of creating digital workplaces.
The technology to gather, collate and analyze data has provided organisations with enhanced business intel. This has been especially valuable to manufacturers seeking ‘lean’ techniques. Creating integrated and streamlined business processes using end to end data management even makes it possible to carry out predictive analysis.
Communication and collaboration
Over the last year or so, many organisations were forced to accelerate towards flexible and remote working. Fortunately, much of the IT was already in place to support this, including software like Trello and Google Drive, that enable organisations to share data and project management tasks in real-time, across international boundaries.
The diversity and capabilities of day-to-day collaborative tools, such as Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Teams, have also made working from home manageable, and in some cases, preferable. Team huddles and meetings could still take place, just over video calls instead of in-person.
Increasingly diverse marketing opportunities have also been created by communication technology. Put it this way, since its launch in 2004, Facebook has swept the globe. According to data from Statista, the social platform now has around 2.91 billion users. It has been joined by a growing list of alternative (and constantly updating) social media platforms, including the fastest-growing one in history – TikTok.
Connectivity and Cloud computing
To create authentic digital workplaces, support good data management and underpin collaboration and home working, organisations need to achieve robust connectivity. At one time, this involved considerable investment in hardware and software, alongside a myriad of wireless accessories. This has been considerably contained and reduced by migration to Cloud technology.
For example, VoIP telephony makes it possible to keep in contact with clients via the internet, anywhere and anytime, free of charge. Data stored on the Cloud is often more secure too, and automated backup off-site can be a key part of Disaster Recovery Plans for organisations that hold sensitive or financial data, such as banks.
Shared and modular workspaces
Technology has not only supported working from home, but has also made shared workplaces a growing trend. Co-working spaces offer a versatile and cost-effective way to secure office space if you are a small business or a mobile worker, such as a sales rep who needs access to office technology ‘on the move’.
Company head offices also have greater potential for hot-desking, adaptable workspaces and multi-purpose desks, thanks to technology. This includes wall-to-wall internet connectivity (from leased lines, for example), dual monitors for project initiatives, and lightweight devices that can be moved around with ease.
Having access to ever more advanced technology and data to feed artificial intelligence has created a wave of investment in automation and robotics. This includes autonomous vehicles and AI-run equipment in warehouses and chemical and engineering plants, for example.
Even SMEs can optimise technology’s ability to automate business systems. For example, software can now take over mundane accounting and compliance tasks, so both in-house and agency accountants have more time to advise businesses on their plans. This includes providing insights based on the data analytics referenced above!
Another illustration of the potential created by both data and automation comes from the world of logistics and warehousing. It is now possible to add sensors to product consignments, or even individual packages, to monitor not only their accurate location in real-time but also product status, using office technology thousands of miles away.
Innovation and interactive business models
This is perhaps the most exciting business use of technology, as its boundaries are limitless. Technological advancements are supporting the very thing that they rely on – innovation. Tech provides invaluable tools for R&D teams, software developers and creators of online experiences.
For example, who would have imagined all those years ago that it would be possible for the gambling industry to grow to extraordinary lengths and be able to deliver a quality casino experience online as well as in person? With the ever-growing development of technology, gaming businesses are able to deliver the highest quality games and uk casino slots to their target audience through online means.
For many industries, there is considerable investment in ‘user experience’-driven technology, including finding ways to incorporate virtual reality and augmented reality in business developments, marketing and communications. Technology is also being constantly developed to better engage website users and offer highly interactive experiences in other ways.
As we move ever-closer to 2022, it will be interesting to see which new technological developments will emerge for businesses to benefit from in the coming year.
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