AI (artificial intelligence), robots, IoT (internet of things), blockchain, hike! Doesn’t it sound like a foreign language? It certainly does to my mother! Yet it is the language of the future.
Which of these technologies should we pay attention to? Let’s look at some of the more popular ones:
- AI- Depending on your industry, AI will most certainly impact it. Service industries such as accounting are definitely impacted. After all, if a program like Alexa can learn how to put together your taxes, it is bound to disrupt. Machine learning and artificial intelligence can be powerful – preventative maintenance can be completely redefined in a proactive, predictive way.
- Robots – Isn’t everyone talking about robots? Of course, this is partially because they are fun to talk about. Is a robot good in all situations? NO! We’ve seen many manufacturers and distributors try robots and end up slowing the process down because they didn’t think about the full impacts.
- IoT- We don’t even think about all the devices that are connected in our everyday lives. Smoke alarms, security systems, phones, refrigerators, Amazon Alexa, our car, traffic signals, manufacturing machines, RFID tags and much more. Connecting devices because we can yet for no valuable use just adds to the mountain of data to analyze. Instead, we should think about the strategic use of IoT for our business.
- Blockchain – Talk about another buzzword! Isn’t a phone call, an email, EDI, lot traceability in ERP or a customer portal sufficient? Many times – yes. Again, the value of blockchain should be evaluated before jumping on board with the latest and greatest trend; however, there will be uses. When instantly visible, irrefutable and non-changeable (think avoidance of high potential fraud), traceable transactions are required, it might be just the medicine.
- Autonomous vehicles- Forklifts, cars, trucks, and more. Again, let’s think ‘fit’ to our business. In trucking, it is likely to make all sorts of sense. Rates continue to rise. There is a shortage of drivers. Baby boomers are retiring. Environmental rules continue to increase. It does seem to fill a potential gap.
The underlying bottom line when it comes to technology remains – let’s not use technology for technology’s sake! Instead, think smart. How does it fit with your business requirements? Will it provide a superior customer experience? Purse those with a strong return on investment, ignore the rest and success will follow while your competition chases ‘shiny objects’.