Technology has always played a major role in how business has changed over the decades. Before there was the internet, there was the telegraph, which made it possible to send messages much faster than what we now call “snail mail.”
Television was probably one of the biggest revolutions in business since movable type, allowing for the first video advertisements and product placement and opening up a whole new world of commercial possibilities.
Some may even remember the old manual credit card readers and individual stickers on every grocery item rung up on a mechanical cash register. The invention of the bar code changed that forever in 1974, and now it’s everywhere, and the old way of doing things is practically a thing of the past.
The list of technologies that have transformed business is practically endless: the home computer, the laptop, the mobile phone, portable data storage, even the system of credit itself — none of them existed once upon a time, and now it’s difficult to imagine how we ever got along without them.
But the advancement of technology continues to accelerate, and some industries have been significantly transformed by developments in tech. Here are a few examples of industries that have significantly changed in the past few years.
Over the past 50 years alone, developments in agriculture have been enormous. The “Green Revolution” of the 1960s and the development of new irrigation techniques allowed for unprecedented yields in crops. In the 1970s, glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup let landowners kill weeds with greater efficiency. The first genetically modified crops appeared as early as 1982 and have since become the norm around the world. The 90s brought satellite tracking so farmers could see their land from high above, and by the 2010s, farmers were using data collection tools to increase the sustainability of their fields. The future will bring even more innovations, such as vertical farms in closed buildings, increased automation, and the implementation of AI.
Many of us are already familiar with one of the more prominent changes in education: the rise of mobile learning. The COVID-19 pandemic made it necessary to take dramatic steps to keep children safe, and so Zoom classes took the place of in-person classes in schools all around the country. While the efficacy of remote learning remains controversial, it’s unlikely to just fade away as a concept. In addition, many educators believe digital content may replace textbooks as soon as 2026. Teachers are also introducing VR technology and gamification into their curriculum, making learning a more game-like experience in order to make it more engaging. Educational software has long been a classroom staple and will only grow more prominent and sophisticated as time goes on.
Finances and Banking
Like so many industries, the world of finance was changed forever by the internet. Online stock trading radically altered the landscape of finance, and things have only changed more in the past few years. Many financial advisors and stockbrokers have found themselves having to compete with trading websites such as E*TRADE. Banks now commonly allow for mobile deposits, reducing the need for visits to a physical branch office. Checks themselves may all but vanish in the near future. Meanwhile, big data and artificial intelligence is playing an ever-growing part in how big business works with finances.
Technology has always been at the forefront of developments in the field of medicine, and MedTech is constantly evolving to ever greater sophistication. Genetic testing has dramatically changed the efficacy of detecting, diagnosing, and treating diseases. 3D printing has proven to be a revolution when it comes to the creation of medical equipment and prosthetics. Wearable devices such as Fitbit have become commonplace, making it easier than ever to collect medical data. Other technology in healthcare includes the use of virtual and augmented reality to aid with surgical guidance and patient well-being. Research is currently being done into the bioprinting of human tissue, which could mean the end of having to find donors for vital organs.
Travel is another area where technology has made a huge difference in how business is done. Travel websites like Tripadvisor and Expedia, for example, have made human travel agents much less necessary, to the point of nearly being obsolete. Airline comparison websites make it much easier to find a cheap flight anywhere, making travel more accessible and affordable. Booking flights, trains, hotel rooms, and even restaurant reservations can now be made without making a single phone call. Getting around in an unfamiliar area is easier than ever, thanks to GPS and online guides. And, of course, mobile devices and the internet make it much easier to capture moments in photography or on video, stay connected with others, and make sure our loved ones are safe while traveling.