How is Tech Changing Business?
The influence of new technologies on business has never been greater – we take a look at some of the trends for 2021.
18:47 31 March 2021
Advances in technology are changing the way that businesses run
2020 presented businesses the world over with a unique and unprecedented set of challenges. The events of the year may have been catastrophic, but for business the pandemic has been an enormous driver for change. It has also created a tipping point for technology – organizations and individuals forced to engage with and integrate tech more directly than ever before.
The rapid alteration in circumstances has necessitated many changes, aided by a number of key existing and emerging technologies. Many of the trends were already underway pre-Covid, with widespread adoption accelerated in the last twelve months. From retail to hospitality to entertainment, such as the new online casinos Canada found here, business is embracing technology like never before. Here are a few of the key tech advances that are permanently changing the way that businesses are run.
Remote working tools and the future of the office environment
Remote work has been possible for several years, of course, but many businesses were reluctant to endorse this way of operating. Shared physical space, team camaraderie, keeping tabs on staff, in-person business trips – all this had become so much part of working culture that moves towards a more virtual environment were slow and incremental.
Luckily for business, when many workers were forced to stay at home, the tech to support remote work was already there. You may not have heard of Zoom before last year, but they have been around since 2011. Many new startups are getting in on the action, providing services to support employers and teams to work together even while physically apart. While we can expect to see a partial reversion to older models as the year goes on, businesses now know that in many cases remote work is not only possible but preferable. The knock-on effects are too numerous to list here, but this has been possibly the single biggest shift in how businesses run. And it is only possible because of the technology.
Digital retail integrates with the physical
Retailers have been compelled to adapt or die. For those that have survived, the introduction of new services and the development of e-commerce represents an evolution that may have taken several years under normal circumstances. For the customer-facing side, there are new approaches and services. For example, most businesses now use social media as a primary way to engage with the public. More clothing and accessory retailers now offer virtual dressing rooms and assistants. Capturing real-time data can help predict not only what the customer may want to purchase in the future, but can also assist with digital supply-chain management.
Tying in with digital retail is contactless delivery. Most delivery services now offer no-contact drop-offs, and even food is paid for online rather than in cash at the door. Many companies are now increasing their efforts to use robotics and AI to fulfil home deliveries. For smaller businesses, there are portable credit card readers so customers can still pay at the door. These devices will also help small and medium retailers as shops continue to reopen.
Telehealth and e-learning
Two other areas where virtual services have proved both necessary and effective are healthcare and education. Clearly in both cases, in-person interactions are vitally important overall. However, a large portion of both health consultation and teaching has been successfully achieved through remote means in 2020. The major change here has been in the public perception of these services, which were often met with suspicion and resistance before the pandemic. These areas will continue to develop in the coming years.
In many ways, the predictions for how tech will drive business are the same now as they have been for the past few years. AR and VR will play much bigger roles in a variety of industries. Robotics and further industrial automation will become more sophisticated and widespread. The internet of things will give businesses new ways to engage with their customers.
The difference now is that these things are no longer just predictions – they are actually happening. The events of the past year have created a seismic change in how technology applies to business, and there is no going back.