There is no doubt that the Information Revolution has had an indelible impact upon our daily lives. This observation is even more true in regards to business operations.
Specific sectors have been dramatically affected; some for the better and some for the worse. It is estimated that no fewer than 2.32 billion individuals now own smartphones and other mobile devices. This number is expected to increase well beyond 2020.
Let us look at how handful of industries have been impacted.
In the past, a travel agent would act as a middleman between the consumer and holiday-oriented firms. Finding the best deals and booking reservations would generally be the responsibility of the agent. This has all changed thanks to third-party sites such as Expedia and Kayak.
While consumers are able to expedite the entire booking process, such a trend has significantly reduced the opportunities to become a professional agent.
The Car Rental Sector
The rise in smartphones and online options is impacting the car rental industry. In particular, value-adding services such as digitisation are set to take centre stage between 2017 ans 2021. Although the entire sector is expected to grow, car sharing is beginning to emerge as an alternative to traditional rental companies. Some of the factors which have caused this include:
- Less complicated contractual agreements.
- Fewer supplemental tariffs and surcharges.
- Greater flexibility in terms of location.
When we take into account that global companies such as Zipcar also include fuel and insurance as part of their standard rental package, it becomes clear to see why consumers are migrating towards such services. As a result, traditional rental firms will have to offer similar benefits if they expect to succeed within such a competitive landscape.
Takeaway Food Products and Services
This digital revolution has affected many more industries than travel and car rental services alone. In fact, the methods that consumers employ to perform such mundane tasks as ordering takeaway food have been dramatically streamlined.
Smartphone applications are taking much of the guesswork out of the equation by providing one-touch access when browsing menus and requesting specific items for subsequent pick-up or delivery. Deliveroo and Uber are two notable examples of this emerging trend. Once again, this will impact the customer service sector.
With increased levels of automation, the need to have a human contact point (such as a dedicated telephone number to place an order) may not be as necessary.
Taxis and Hired Transportation
Private transportation services have also felt the impact of the Internet and mobile phone revolution. Dedicated taxi companies are often in direct competition with global firms such as Uber. In fact, recent data has shown that as many as 40 million customers are considered to be “active riders” and this number is expected to substantially increase.
A handful of reasons for this trend include availability, flexibility and prices that are notably cheaper than most taxi firms can afford to offer. Once again, this is causing traditional transportation providers to rethink their existing strategies and to strengthen their presence within the digital domain.
What Might the Future Hold?
Most experts predict that these trends should become even more pronounced during the coming years. As a greater number of smartphone users gain access to 4G connectivity and as the number of applications continues to increase, many businesses may soon only exist within the digital domain.
Although this might not spell the end for traditional enterprises, it is essential that they find ways to adapt to such a changing business environment.