Blue- or white-collar jobs, mass factory workers, brick and mortar marketplaces, the necessity of paper trails and rooms filled with files has been heavily disrupted by the digital revolution. Disruption means that something has been interrupted. A process, a system or a way of life is suddenly changed from one thing to another. The disruption caused by innovation in technology might have left some people behind, but at the same time, it has opened an array of new opportunities in the tech world and marketplace.

Where the manufacturing industry used to require a whole lot of people to get a manufacturing job done, with the disruption of the fourth industrial revolution, it takes a lot less manpower to produce even more than ever before.

AES explores how the digital revolution has disrupted the marketplace.

What is the digital revolution?

The fourth industrial revolution is characterised by a fusion of technologies where the lines are becoming blurred between physical, digital and biological spheres. Driven by technologies such as the following:

  • AI (Artificial Intelligence): where machines can analyse patterns, data and provide solutions.
  • Blockchain: a secure solution to sharing information and data between two points.
  • Smart computers & devices: cloud-based sharing and storage abilities as well as connectivity.
  • VR (Virtual Reality): using a headset people can be in a simulation of the real world.
  • Robotics: implemented in various places, robotics give machines the ability to do some of what people can do.
  • IoT (Internet of Things): technology that provides connectivity between objects and appliances

These technologies are largely responsible for a change in the way we approach and solve major and minor issues. Think about examples such as voice activation, virtual assistants, automated email campaigns and many other, new automated systems. The change is rapidly increasing and will continue as time goes on, and more research and innovation is taking place.

Some of the disruptions in the marketplace:

At this stage, we are only scratching the surface when it comes to technological disruptions in the marketplace. Changes within transport, labour and finance are enough to shape an economy, never mind the disruptions taking place in other sectors of life.

We’ll touch on transport, employment, finance and communication but bear in mind there are endless possibilities for innovation in this newly discovered technical reality.

1.    Transport and logistics

Traditional transport methods are becoming more and more disrupted as technology invades the systems. This will both improve and increase the capacity and efficiency of transportation on a great and small level in the future.

As an example of this, a report on how the digital revolution is impacting transport and mobility in the UK conducted by Atos draws the following conclusions:

  • An increase in transport capacity needs means a reliance on data: “data is being used as a driver for intelligent infrastructure and how developments like IoT can be strategically deployed to create more reliable services and more convenient access for transport users, including the rail network.”
  • An increase in connectivity and computing power means that vehicle and asset care management and maintenance, as well as operations, will be restructured to become more efficient.
  • The Digital Vision for Mobility means that that mobility will be seen as a service, digital railways are becoming essential as well as intelligent transport systems and logistical adaptions.

In South Africa, we see how transport solutions such as the My Citi busses, Uber as well as the Gautrain are a first step in the direction of technological change within the transport sector today. These are causing disruptions in the public transport market because taxis are now on the backburner, customers prefer a ‘safer’ and more efficient option.

1.    Employment in the digital age

With the development and implementation of Artificial Intelligence, automation systems and other technologies characteristic of the digital revolution it’s safe to say technology is changing the way we work. In fact, many jobs have already become redundant due to robotic technology and automation taking the place of the ‘hands on deck’ approach to work. At the same time, many new jobs that require a new set of skills are in demand today.

Here are a few ways work is being digitized:

  • Asset digitization – data, connectivity in machines, infrastructure.
  • Operational digitization – payments, processes, business models, supply chain interactions.
  • Workforce digitization – digital tools, workers, new jobs on the market.

2.    Fintech, cyber-security and new business focus

Fintech or Financial Technology is a combination of finance, business and technology. The role of Fintech is disrupting the way businesses do banking today. Gone are the days of long bank queues to conduct simple banking tasks, a lot can be done online.

With the implementation of high-level technological solutions in big and small businesses, comes an increased need for cyber-security and data protection. This means that the marketplace will need to zoom in on inbuilt data protection, third party risk management and more protective measures, providing a new emphasis on technology, unlike the past 50 years of business focus.

3.    Communication in the marketplace

Business marketing and communication has changed dramatically with the installation and integration of tech systems and the use of social media. Digital marketing has taken the cake as more traditional mediums of communication have slowly dwindled, although these should not be neglected.

Below we’ve highlighted 3 examples of the disruptions in business communication:

  • Big Data: by harnessing Big Data, businesses can now personalise and automate the customer experience and the way businesses relate to customers and other businesses (B2C and B2B communications, respectively).
  • Paid media: it is no longer easy to bump your brand above the social media algorithms, and so an increased need for investment in paid media is becoming essential to any business plan.
  • Instant messaging: communication is now instant giving customers access to answers 24/7.

At AES, we believe in the power of technology as a solution rather than as a negative disruption.

We are more than happy to bridge the gap between what you need and who will fit well with where your company is growing in a technology-driven world. Contact us today to recruit the right people for your business needs.

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