Technology has seen rapid improvements over the past fifteen years, making life easier for all of us. Fifteen years ago, who would have thought you could watch an NFL game live on your phone, or use Amazon to have groceries delivered within an hour?
New technology doesn't always mean things go smoothly, however. With new innovations come a whole new set of challenges. Here are four industries that each face unique challenges when it comes to efficiently using emerging technologies.
1. Food Service
One of the side effects in this era of on-demand technology is that our patience easily wears thin. We're becoming more and more used to getting what we want whenever we want it, and with as little effort as possible.
That challenge carries over to the food service industry in the form of customer expectations. What are the best ways to serve customers quickly without diminishing the quality of the product? That has caused chains such as Starbucks to constantly tinker with ordering and pickup apps, while also being careful not to over-invest in something customers may not use very often.
Big data is another challenge. Restaurant owners now have access to loads of data on their customers, but what's the most effective way to harness that data to encourage engagement with the brand?
2. Hotels and Hospitality
The hospitality industry is so concerned about that challenges technology presents that it formed a group to address it: The Hospitality Technology Strategic Initiatives Council.
The group has identified three key technology-related issues within the industry: compliance with the payment card industry [PCI], unique ID numbers for hotels and support for disabled guests.
When it comes to PCI compliance specifically, hotels are thinking of ways to store sensitive customer credit card data in a single system. Having the right hardware helps, but that, of course, comes with an investment: 15 percent of IT assets costs are used for the cost of hardware.
The bulk of technological challenges facing the healthcare industry more or less boils down to one word: regulation.
The healthcare industry is regulated heavily, as it should be. While those regulations are mainly designed to keep everyone safe, they can come with negative consequences. For example, compared to other industries, healthcare has been somewhat slower at identifying and adopting new technology.
The technological concerns go well beyond the actual act of treating patients, of course. Technology also raises concerns with security, patient privacy and the industry's ability to integrate new storage systems.
In the insurance industry, one of the biggest technological challenges to emerge has been managing client and customer expectations. It makes sense. The younger generation grew up with ample access to digital technology, causing this group to expect more automated services from the businesses it deals with. That includes the insurance agency.
In theory, better technology makes businesses more efficient, and there’s evidence of that in the insurance world. Digital marketing alone has been shown to reduce costs by as much as 65 percent, while also cutting the turnaround time of insurance processes by up to 90 percent.
That said, just two years ago, a full 39 percent of life insurance providers in the U.S. and Europe had not addressed a digital strategy when it came to securing new customers.
No Industry Is Immune
This list may include just four industries, but technology poses challenges to just about any industry you can think of. This includes things such as the newspaper industry coping with a shift from print to digital products, or the music industry moving to web-based distribution models, versus the now-antiquated record store.
Make no mistake: new technology is a great thing that generally makes life easier. But it's also important to remember that these new innovations aren't always problem-free.
Image by Matt Jones