New opportunities can arise from technological advancements, but challenges
New technology can radically reshape an industry — to change it from the ground up and require businesses to adapt quickly if they want to stay competitive.
It’s more important than ever that business owners know how to manage periods of major technological innovation. This will ensure they can be ready to change direction and take advantage of new tech as necessary.
These five industries are some that have faced both challenges and new opportunities as a result of a changing technological landscape.
Modern industry is undergoing a major transformation right now. The rise of several new technologies, collectively referred to as Industry 4.0, is reshaping how manufacturers, warehouses, and foundries manage work.
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors, for example, are internet-connected devices that gather information on facility processes.
One popular application of IIoT sensors is predictive maintenance. This is a maintenance approach where factory owners use analytics platforms and data from IIoT devices to predict when machines will need maintenance. This approach helps reduce maintenance-related downtime and prevent unexpected machine failure.
Other businesses use massive volumes of IIoT data to learn more about the flow of materials, goods, and workers through industrial facilities. Over time, this data can be analyzed with advanced machine learning algorithms to pinpoint bottlenecks in facility design or inefficient workflows.
2. Construction and Architecture
New technology has had a major impact on how construction companies and architecture firms approach their work.
Tools like building information modeling (BIM) systems allow designers to create full 3D models of a building before construction. This allows them to more easily spot design oversights and provides a valuable visualization of what the final structure will look like.
On the construction site, tools like augmented reality (AR) — which use headsets to project computer-generated visuals onto the real world — simplify workflows. With this tech, it’s possible to overlay digital measuring tools onto a site or literally visualize the steps involved in completing a structure.
3. Legal Services
Effective lawyers, when arguing a case, use every tool at their disposal to make their argument. In many cases, better and better technology has started to change how lawyers bring evidence into the courtroom.
In addition to new techniques like mock jury focus groups, some lawyers are starting to use technology like 3D visual representations of injury evidence to present their case more completely and convincingly.
Over the next few years, automation is likely to change the law industry again, with new technology making it possible for computers to handle some tedious work that lawyers currently do.
4. Streaming and the DVD Rental Industry
The decline of DVD rentals and the emergence of new streaming platforms meant major industry businesses like Blockbuster were forced to cease operations. Of the major DVD rental companies, only Redbox managed to survive with its old business model mostly intact.
The businesses that were able to emerge from the DVD rental industry only did so because they wholeheartedly adopted new technology, like video streaming over the internet. Netflix, as a result, is probably one of the best examples of how businesses can use technology to slowly drop old models and pivot to new ones.
In 2007, Netflix — which initially made money by renting and mailing DVDs to customers over the internet — introduced its streaming platform. While the company didn’t ditch physical media right away, it was soon apparent that the convenience of streaming would have a major impact on how people watched films and television.
The DVD rental industry continues to shrink as online streaming celebrates new milestones of growth. While Netflix’s pivot required a significant investment, the move was ultimately necessary to keep the business afloat.
5. Fast Food and Retail Coffee
In 2009, Starbucks became one of the first food and beverage retailers to introduce an app. The app offered a gamified shopping experience for customers and provided points when users made purchases that unlocked perks or could be traded for rewards, like a free drink.
Now, it’s not uncommon for major fast food or retail coffee chains to offer some form of mobile app and rewards program combo.
These apps follow the model that Starbucks first experimented with. They typically include some form of gamification, like a points and rewards system that encourages additional purchases.
Apps also offer benefits to customers who create an account. In practice, this can allow the company to keep track of consumer preferences and deliver advertisements or promotions that are more likely to be relevant to a customer.
How Businesses Have Adapted to New Technology
New technology has the possibility to radically reshape an industry and force businesses to adapt quickly if they want to stay relevant.
The examples above prove that the right investment at the right time can revitalize a flagging business model and breathe new life into a whole industry at once.