ech is moving forward more rapidly than anyone thought possible and it is having a considerable impact on the economy. Tech isn’t just finding its way into consumer devices, but across the entire supply chain too, delivering efficiencies that didn’t seem remotely achievable even ten years ago.
Advances in tech, however, are opening up gaps in certain industries between what’s possible and what is actually happening on the ground. Some sectors are simply lagging way behind their current capabilities - and it’s holding them back.
In this post, we will take a look at the technology gap in certain sectors and discuss what needs to change.
Many people think that banking is at the forefront of technology because of the ATM revolution in the 1970s. But things have come a long way since then, yet banks still remain in a state of limbo.
For instance, smart chatbots are functioning as customer service reps in other industries, yet banks haven’t quite got the message and are still forwarding many of their customers to traditional call centre staff.
Banks are also still heavily reliant on manual account settlement. Their processes ultimately rely on software transferring funds from one person’s account to another in order to ensure that they settle transactions correctly. But with emerging technologies, such as blockchain, their tech is outdated. Banks could increase their security by creating networks of blockchain-connected computers that must all agree on who owns what before filing away a new set of transactions. But currently, they are not pursuing this tech to replace their core business functions.
Lastly, banks are still struggling to keep pace with consumers’ mobile banking app requirements. Users want one-stop-shops for all their financial transactions, yet banks are still struggling to provide adequate security for these types of transactions. An integration of banking apps with budgeting and brokerage apps would help their cause.
The tech gap is also becoming a major problem in the pharmaceutical industry. Even today, most large enterprises in this sector are using outdated methods of drug discovery and are not taking advantage of the latest tech available to them. They’re stuck in what commentators call “cultural sclerosis” which means that they are set in their ways, only going down the tried-and-tested path.
Pharmaceutical companies still manually work their way through candidate molecules for drugs, testing each of them individually, despite the fact that the process is long and laborious.
However, for several years now, academic researchers have been using machine learning algorithms to identify the most likely natural plant sources of medicine, based on chemical analysis and big data. These methods allow them to get rid of the vast majority of candidate compounds and simply focus on the ones that are most likely to make a difference. The pharmaceutical industry should be using this tech but unfortunately it isn’t widespread at the moment.
The pharmaceutical industry also stands to benefit from substantial advances in 3D printing. We typically associate this tech with small plastic trinkets but researchers believe that it will eventually be able to print out human tissues, even entire organs, using samples from patients’ bodies. Thus, by the end of the decade, we could see the first printed tissues being grafted onto human limbs.
Today’s 3D printing tech could also transform medical prosthetics. Instead of receiving a generic prosthetic arm, it can now allow patients to get something that looks like it is a natural part of their body. However, big pharma still isn’t quite onboard with this.
Tech is going to affect agriculture in a big way over the coming years. Perhaps the biggest changes are going to come in the form of new biosciences. The Genome Project, completed in the early 2000s, proved that we could read DNA. But now the tech is so advanced that scientists can edit and write in the language of life as well.
For the agricultural sector, this change in tech is a big opportunity. It means that they will be able to design practically any crop they like by using DNA. Farmers could sow hybrid plants that can survive in harsh conditions or direct sunlight. Or, they might grow genetically edited cultivars that confer greater health benefits to the people who eat them.
Agriculture is also going to be heavily affected by the coming wave of drone and sensor technology. Sensors are able to detect many of the variables that farmers care about, such as soil saturation, temperature and sunlight. The price of this tech collapsed over the last decade, making it more accessible than ever before.
This tech’s potential for energy and labour saving is tremendous. In theory, farmers could hook their sensors up to irrigation systems, they would then automatically provide the optimal level of watering for their crops, given total sunlight, temperature and current soil moisture. Tech like this could slash waste and improve yields.
Lastly, the supply chain and logistics sector is feeling the impact of tech in a big way, but still isn’t deploying it on a mass scale. Autonomous driving tech, for instance, has the power to shape the future of transport across multiple settings. Autonomous delivery vehicles could deliver packages to customers without the need for human drivers and robots working in distribution centres could replace the work of regular pickers, cutting costs and improving speed.
The supply chain is also benefiting from improvements in demand planning software. Historically, firms just used spreadsheets to plan their production schedules. But with advances in data processing and the ability to integrate supply chain networks, that’s all changing. Now it’s possible for companies to get the heads-up on factors affecting their supply chain in real-time, allowing them to make better decisions.
Lastly, logistics companies that need to route delivery services could also benefit from tech advances. Machine learning algorithms are becoming much better at route planning, this may be the best option for the industry until the arrival of practical quantum computing.
Innovation is always a challenge to integrate. That’s why so many businesses work with partners like us who understand the landscape. At Gemraj Technologies Ltd, we can offer you IT training, digital transformation (including cloud migration and process automation), cybersecurity (including compliance) and managed IT services. Together, we can build a brighter and more advanced technological future.