Technically Speaking

By Rubal Jain, MD, Safexpress

That technology is imperative to businesses is a given. Emerging technologies, how­ever, are set to take it to a whole new level.

Until some years ago, it was technol­ogy that would have to comply with com­pany strategy and targets. Now, it is the other way round. How else do you explain companies choosing to release their advertising campaigns via digi­tal channels and social media as opposed to print and TV ads, which is how it was less than a decade ago? It isn’t just about advertising and marketing, however. Technology has changed the way we shop, do business, communicate within and outside the enterprise, engage with company stakeholders, and so on. That technology cuts down costs in the long run is a fact that has been proven time and again. To sum up, investing in technol­ogy makes sense in every way possible.

It doesn’t matter what the size of your company is. Cutting-edge technology, or the lack of it, will impact your business – without fail. Every time. It isn’t just about emails, Skype conversations, enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, and handheld devices. Today, technology has advanced to internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and much more. To repeat, no matter what the size of your company, embracing new-age technology will not only give you a first-mover advantage, it will positively impact your operations, communications, security sys­tems, research & development and, in the long run, your company strategies.

Emerging technologies may seem overwhelming and intimidating in the beginning, and top management might feel it isn’t really essential, but as time goes by, they will become crucial to success. After all, if you told a company chairman there was no way he could not have an interactive company site and mail id a decade or so ago, he would think you were just trying to sell him a website, and that it will never be that important. Cut to 2017, and it is a must for compa­nies not only to have a web presence, but put a digital marketing strategy in place, among other things. Simi­larly, emerging technologies, which seem alien and complicated today, will become par for course tomor­row.

As Murat Sonmez, Head, Center for the 4th Industrial Revolution, and Member of the Managing Board of the World Economic Forum LLC, put it, “New technologies are redefining industries, blurring tradi­tional boundaries, and creating new opportunities on a scale never seen before. Public and private institu­tions must develop the correct poli­cies, protocols and collaborations to allow such innovations to build a better future, while avoiding the risks that unchecked technological change could pose.” Sonmez said this while showcasing top emerg­ing technologies that were selected by the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network and Global Future Councils, in col­laboration with Scien­tific American and its board of advi­sors.

Let’s take AI, for instance. No longer relegated to science fic­tion and geeky science fairs, AI is being touted one of the strong­est emerg­ing technologies that will change the world of business. Data mining and algorithms from data are al­ready helping companies zero-in on trends and insights for everything, from managing inventory levels to predicting demand, that too in real time. A number of companies – SAP, Siemens, General Electric, and oth­ers – offer business intelligence apps for deep learning. These companies offer solutions such as monitoring machine & industrial equipment and predicting repairs, analytics, sales enablement, and dashboards that gather information to assist compa­nies in decision-making. According to IBM, by 2025, Decision Support will create USD 2 trillion worth of IT spending; this excludes the $1 trillion that companies are already spending on software, services and hardware.

Emerging technologies are and will impact the supply chain & lo­gistics industry as much as, say, the FMCG sector. These technological breakthroughs can be used in a va­riety of ways. Take for instance Saf­express, which went live on Oracle Fusion Cloud for GST recently, and became India’s first supply chain & logistics company to do so.

Apart from cloud, the other emerging technologies that will fit in seamlessly with the supply chain & logistics industry include IoT, au­tomatic identification & data capture (AIDC), and those such as radio fre­quency identification (RFID). The last one, RFID, was once considered too impractical due to its costing, but is now being increasingly used in the logistics industry. AIDC, along with RFID and IoT, is not only go­ing to improve shipping efficiencies manifold while also saving consider­able amounts of time, but will also significantly reduce costs.  

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