In the past 10 years, technology has made immense strides, changing both our personal lives and the business world forever. Businesses that haven’t adopted these new technologies yet are already behind the curve, and those that hold out longer will only keep falling farther and farther behind competitive companies. Here are four technologies that are revolutionizing the business world.
Additive manufacturing, better known as 3D printing, is a technology that could forever change the business supply chain. In additive manufacturing, raw materials are used to literally print a three-dimensional object from scratch layer-by-layer. The result is a manufacturing process that is less expensive, less wasteful, and capable of creating objects that traditional manufacturing process can’t make. Because it creates objects on demand from digital blueprints, 3D printing can also be used to cut out delivery costs by simply creating parts or objects when and where they are needed. This technology has already been applied in many different sectors, from heavy industrial areas like oil and gas to printing fine, intricate jewelry. Many believe that 3D printing will grow more and more common, eventually becoming the standard of manufacturing.
Machine learning is one of the areas in which the greatest advances have been made over the last few years. Machine learning is a field that deals with allowing computer programs to acquire and use data as they operate, meaning that they do not have to be programmed with certain data. In a sense, machine learning is a form of AI. Machine learning also allows computers to make complex decisions based on multiple different factors. Though machines won’t be replacing humans in critical thinking anytime soon, this technology does have the ability to take over rudimentary decision-making functions in an everyday business context.
Inventory Management Software
For as long as there have been businesses, inventory management has been a logistical element of those businesses. At one time, inventory literally had to be counted, tracked and recorded by hand, creating severe limitations on how much inventory could be managed in one facility at one time. With the onset of the digital age, computerized inventory management and tracking became possible. Since then, the ability of software to keep track of a business’s product, parts and material stocks has become steadily more advanced. You can even get ERP software for businesses in the construction industry and pretty much any other industry out there. Because it helps improve efficiency, there is hardly an industry out there that couldn’t be benefited by this type of software.
Today, inventory management software can not only track inventory but also re-order when supplies reach a certain threshold. Though humans are still needed for regular control checks, the modern software can automate much of the inventory process. In automated warehouses, this principle is taken one step further, with machines largely handling the picking of inventory when it is needed.
Virtual Reality Technology
Though it may sound more like a sci-fi concept than a business tool, virtual reality has still proven to have some very real applications across different industries. In the medical industry, for example, VR has been used to model the internal organs of patients in a virtual environment to improve surgical planning. In business-based applications, virtual reality has been used to make long-distance video conferences more realistic and interactive, as well as for product design purposes. Other potential applications of virtual reality technology include gaming and immersive learning. This technology is likely still in its infancy, but virtual reality is already changing the way business could look in the future.
As technology continues to improve, adapt and advance, businesses will need to become more and more tech-savvy to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by it. Consumers, too, are getting better with technology, meaning that they will be expecting more out of the companies that supply their goods and services as time goes on.