Wireless devices are essential to most people's daily lives; mobiles, tablets, smart watches, Google Glass and other innovative tech is never more than an arm length away. In business, office accessories from printers to computer mice have gone wireless. Apps help us organize, prioritise, and sometimes even can turn off the lights at home from a remote location.
But how will this technology be applied this year - both in your personal and professional life? Several things influence where these trends will go: data analysis will determine the most efficient products and uses and businesses' adaptation of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies will open the doors for a new wave of tech in the workplace
Below, Business Review Australia contributor Megan Iemma has outlined 7 industries that are trending towards wireless innovations.
More freighting companies and trucks will have trackable sensors embedded to analyse the speed, location and estimated time of arrival/departure of the vehicle. This will also help with deliveries, as goods will be able to be tracked with real time information and updates via an app by the consumer and/or business.
One of the emerging trends is remote automation of energy sources such as lighting and heating, which are controlled via a wireless device or sensors. This is leading to new markets/niches in manufacturing to provide this technology, such as the Belkin ‘WeMo’ which is being using for both business and home automation.
Emerging trends suggest there will be less office staff as cloud-based systems and wireless devices integrate more effectively. There is already software such as GeoOp with GPS tracking for service-based businesses such as tradies, removalists and anything that requires jobs to be dispatched. This software assists businesses to track employees and deploy jobs as they come in.
Data is becoming the key to retail success and customising an individual’s experiences, whether it is shopping for clothes or even groceries. Managing this data in a single format will make small business owners and companies much more efficient with productivity and help deliver better service and products to the customer.
Consumers are currently using their mobile devices primarily for comparison shopping. Other products will be able to detect mobile devices and then send ads as soon as you pass by the sensor.
In 2014, major hotels will integrate more technology by providing hotel rooms/suites with wireless devices that control everything from opening blinds to delivering high-speed video/audio through WiFi.
It is essential for business travellers to be able to access the latest technology (such as inbuilt Apple TVs) and be able to run meetings from the comfort of their room, rather than need to use a meeting room at the hotel. Again, data plays an important part in analysing these trends and helps build a customised experience for the consumer.
Food and Drink
More restaurants will use mobile devices for menu ordering which will improve efficiency and front of house procedures. Employees will use MPOS (Mobile Point of Sale) units to finalise an order and use for customer feedback. Data such as when customers are coming in, ordering patterns and what are the most popular items will help with inventory and stock control. Information will be also be sent to mobile devices for feedback on meals, upcoming specials and sign up for engaging with the brand.
Wireless devices are helping medical practitioners in medical clinics and hospitals where they can access patient’s records in real time such as Smart Ward developed by Australian Matt Darling. Trends are emerging where there are less products and better systems to help avoid error in both aged care and hospitals.
In 2014, there will be more of an explosion of wearable devices that are used in healthcare and this information will be fed back to pharmacies, health care companies which will develop further products/apps to enhance the consumer experience.
Advanced Wearable technology other than smart watches will not only impact on how data is used, it will also improve the interaction between health-care practitioners. This will assist the monitoring of patients daily habits to enable more precise management of both medication and health conditions.
Ultimately in 2014, businesses will need to follow and act on these trends that are emerging in their industry. As consumers now have more access to information they will be seeking businesses that provide better service via the latest technology. Decision makers will need to invest in technology and not become ‘digital ostriches,’ otherwise businesses will be overtaken by others who take the initiative.