Ever since we invented the steam engine, the development of technology was always one of the driving forces behind global business growth. These days, things are no different. What did change in the wake of the digital era, however, was the pace at which these changes are happening. Another thing we have to take into account is the scale of these disruptive forces. Namely, during the previous decades, technological breakthroughs were usually industry-specific. The similar leaps in the digital arena are industry-agnostic.
So, what are the exact ways how these profound changes are affecting the contemporary industrial sector, and what can we do to use them to our advantage? Let us try to find out.
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Artificial intelligence allowing endless deep learning possibilities
If you are still unfamiliar with the term “deep learning”, it describes the possibility of artificial intelligence (AI) to autonomously create patterns for use in decision making. Using these patterns, AI is capable of turning unstructured data into structured sets of information. How is this relevant to various business sectors? The right question would be – how it is not?
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For instance, real estate companies can use this technology to create comprehensive property valuation and suggestion models. The transportation industry can streamline and optimize routes, while retail can leverage deep learning to offer highly personalized consumer recommendations. At this very moment, as much as 49% of companies are planning to use machine learning. Add to the equation the early adopters and we will see why this technology is a force to be reckoned with.
Chatbots taking over the customer interaction
Machine learning, however, is not the only area where artificial intelligence has an opportunity to shine. Namely, according to recent research, by the end of this year, 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human on the other side of the line. The majority of these conversations, of course, are held by advanced chatbots – the heart and the soul of contemporary CRM.
The reasons behind this growing popularity of chatbots are all but obvious. First and foremost, modern chatbots are offering extremely fast, reliable and quality service, thus effectively eliminating long queues and waiting times. Second, the conversation technology has become advanced enough for AI to offer answers that venture outside the standard Q&A questionnaires. And then, there the financial implications. Chatbots are simply far more affordable than human employees. Granted, they still have a long road in front of them before passing the Turing test, but chatbots are, at the moment, the preferred method of CRM communication and will remain so in the following years.
Wider adoption of sophisticated industrial equipment
This development is especially important for industries like oil and gas that have been with us for more than a century and are still deeply rooted in legacy infrastructure and traditional ways of thinking.
The business branches like this were always slow to develop the latest tech developments and streamline operations. Why fix something that ain’t broken, right?
The answer to this question, like always, can be found in the financial rationale. If we are to follow the previous example, the cost-effective oilfield equipment that is currently being used across the industry has such a tremendous impact on the operational efficiency that performing wide-scale upgrades makes much more sense than working with the legacy infrastructure. Of course, this is only one of the numerous cases of this development. Legacy systems are coming to the point of no longer being sustainable. They need to be replaced sooner than later.
Internet of Things connecting the world
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology that allows different internet-capable tools to interact with each other, pass on valuable data, and adjust their performance based on the information received. Its overall influence on the business world has, so far, proved to be tremendous. One of the best ways to illustrate this would be the healthcare industry. Using the advantages of IoT, wearable medical sensors are able to continuously track vital patient signals and allow doctors to monitor them online.
Other important applications can be seen in the field of agriculture. With the ability to collect and pass the relevant farming data (weather patterns, soil type, crop images, pest control info), agricultural tools are now able to function semi or even fully autonomously. This makes farming far more streamlined and, as a result, more competitive. Of course, these were only two examples. The applications of IoT are virtually limitless.
Blockchain opening up new business verticals
Although digital currencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum haven’t quite become the bank disruptors they were intended to be, their impact on the financial world can’t be ignored. As a matter of fact, every reasonable business in the game at the moment is, in one way or another, dealing with these digital assets.
The benefits of digital currencies are more than obvious – they are making business transactions faster, and, since they are effectively eliminating third parties, less money-consuming. However, the disruptive potential of blockchain technology doesn’t stop here. By organizing their data in this type of informational structure, healthcare institutions can create easy-to-expand universal ledgers, pharmaceutical companies can get an easier way to track production, and so on.
Communication making the world smaller and faster
Last but not least, we have to mention one of the most far-reaching attainments of the digital era – streamlined and affordable communication. But, we have to go beyond the simple observation that web-based communication has completely overhauled the business phone systems and is now on its way to erase landlines from existence. Namely, it is not only the speed in which we are able to pass the information that counts but the type of data as well.
We are nearing the time when virtual and augmented reality will become so accessible that we won’t be able to imagine business communication without the help of HUD interfaces feeding us with a constant stream of AV data.
We hope these few considerations gave you some general idea about the ways in which modern digital technology is reshaping the face not only of one industrial sector but the business world as a whole. Although the changes are occurring at a rapid pace, some patterns and main lines of development can still be observed. And based on what we can see now, the future of various industries looks very exciting, indeed.