Conducting business is no longer as simple, and dare we say primitive, as being present in the store at the point of sale, making said sale, recording said sale and replenishing inventory stock – all in a very hands-on manner. The technology sector, which has grown in and of itself in the last decade at least, has had a massive impact on business and continues to shape the evolution of business in the near future. Here are the up and coming technological trends which will impact businesses.
Environmental sustainability seems to be the name of the game in most industries and if a company wishes to be successful and make a big impact, they have no choice but to get on board. Therefore, any technologies that have a low environmental impact themselves or enable production of better, more ‘green’ products, will likely be a huge hit in the market. Consumers, thanks to awareness and the internet, have a far superior understanding now more than ever about methods of production and how their choices impact their environment. When conducting business, it pays to cater to this trend.
The internet has changed everything for human connection over the last few years. Both professionally and personally, the internet enables connections between people that might ordinarily not have occurred, albeit facilitated by an LCD screen. ‘Cyber’ connections have become so frequent and popular that they have even become a precursor to a physical connection. For example, when applying for a job with a company, it is not unusual for the prospective employee’s personal Facebook page to be viewed and the hiring company may well ask for the link to a LinkedIn page. Therefore, one can even go as far as to say it is beneficial to buy into this trend and ensure social media is utilised effectively for optimal business opportunities.
Virtual reality is a massive area of development in the technological world and being used by a variety of companies for training and educating employees and customers. It allows realistic simulation of situations that may only happen on occasion in reality, thereby reaching a superior level of training and expertise. It also facilitates cost-savings and ease of use as experts are not required to be in many places at once, training users all over the world.
The use of drones is spilling over from the home hobbyists arena to the business world. Companies such as Villaway are using drones to do vacation home property tours with film companies making use of the size and accessibility of drones to capture hard-to-get camera shots and angles. Most recently, Amazon is investigating the use of drones to do home deliveries so they can reach a sub-30 minute delivery target. This has been dubbed ‘Prime Air’ and is still in investigative phases but is set to be very promising indeed.
A virtual staff is becoming popular, allowing businesses access to best talent from the entire world. With technology such as FaceTime, Google Calendar, Google Hangouts and Skype, business meetings are possible even with a room full of faces on screens. It is not hard to convince employees to work for you either, as this type of set-up allows people to work remotely from anywhere in the world affording them career-progression, job satisfaction, a family and work-life balance concurrently.
The likes of Nike, Garmin and FitBit have introduced fitness trackers that can assist with a healthy lifestyle and weight-loss. Most recently, the tech brands such as Apple and Samsung have joined the ranks with cellular watches that allow all this and the added benefit of conducting your social life from your wrist.
However, perhaps most endearingly, is the collaboration of Simon Wheatcroft and IBM to develop a tracker that facilitates a blind person to run a race on their own. The technology is Wayband and consists of an armband that has a built-in GPS signal to detect whether its location is agreeable to the pre-programmed course. If corrections need to be made, it alerts the runner to veer right or left through vibrations. There is a chest pad component that warns the runner of any obstacles directly in their path. This technology is due to be first used in a race in November 2017 by Simon Wheatcroft, its legally-blind founder, and is set to facilitate scores of visually-impaired runners worldwide who wish to race unassisted.
How can technology help you?
Technological advancement is all around us and yet the New Zealand Government has found that the majority of small-to-medium sized businesses in New Zealand have failed to utilise it effectively thus far compared to global counterparts. Mostly, this under-utilisation is a due to a lack of vision of how technology will impact the economy, businesses and society in general.
Even if a business does not require the cool tech mentioned above, technology is still extremely effective in basics such as inventory control, sales, shipping and building strong customer relationships. In fact, inventory management software is effective at incorporating many business practices into one easy-to-manage package. Not only will inventory management software assist with the overall running of the company, but it will also result in better control and cost savings as well as an accurate overview of the company when making inventory or financial decisions or reporting to investors.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.