As technology constantly changes, industries mold themselves to adapt to a new world. In recent decades, technological advances seem to have vastly affected nearly every industry. New phones and internet technology are literally changing the way people walk in the street, communicate with one another and utilize data, while the rise of 3D printing is giving the medical professionals a major overhaul.
With continued improvements and an exponentially growing reliance on technology, it stands to reason that businesses of all types will continue to undergo these changes. Some industries, however, are poised to change significantly more than others in the coming years.
In recent years, the ride-sharing app Uber has gained a lot of ground on traditional taxi services. And with cheaper and more convenient alternatives to regular taxis, many younger people are shying away from the idea of constantly driving. Now this is where the self-driving car comes in. There has already been plenty of hype surrounding self-driving cars, especially regarding their safety. As the technology has improved, the number of companies manufacturing self-driving cars has skyrocketed to the point that ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber have gotten in on the action, manufacturing their own self-driving vehicles. Lyft predicts the mind-boggling statistic that “a majority” of the rides it provides will be provided by its self-driving cars by 2021. With alternative options providing stiff competition to the traditional “get your license and buy a car” system, it will be tough for car manufacturers and the used car market to keep up.
Given its place as an older form of entertainment, many people might not think of the effect technology has had (and will have) on poker. The most recognizable example of this influence is the slew of websites offering online poker. Online poker isn’t the only way in which poker and technology are teaming up, though. With artificial intelligence becoming more advanced, the idea of a “man vs. machine” poker match is becoming more plausible. In the near future, poker players could find themselves sitting at a poker table across from a robot rather than a human. In fact, computer scientists from Carnegie Mellon University have already experimented with poker matches played between bots and humans in April 2015, though the results weren’t exactly suitable for casino use.
The music industry has already undergone massive change in the past decade. With the creation of music-sharing programs like Napster and Kazaa, album sales began their decline. Music publishing companies took notice of this and changed their approach. In 2016, there are legal options for listening to music without actually purchasing it, such as Spotify and Apple Music. Of course, this has effectively added to the problem of declining album sales. In their most recent move, RIAA has developed a system for counting streams toward album sales toward Gold and Platinum-certified albums.
Gaming is a rare industry in that nearly all technological advances affect it. Since game consoles take advantage of computer hardware, software development, and the internet, video games are constantly becoming more ambitious. However, the most recent trend in the gaming industry will finally deliver on a long-awaited innovation: VR. While there are still some kinks to be worked out with virtual reality gaming, the sheer number of headsets and games being developed for those headsets is evidence that the technology is very near. While popularized virtual reality gaming is still years away, augmented reality games (games that combine locations and objects with artificial ones) have recently become popular, with the runaway success Pokémon Go being a recent example.
In-store retail is changing to some degree, but it’s still largely traditional. Online retail, however, is undergoing constant changes and becoming an increasingly popular option over physical retail locations. With the success of Amazon, many retail companies are offering similar online services, such as 2-day shipping passes and the ability to shop with third party merchants. In a move to further expand their services and separate itself from the competition, Amazon has been looking into using shipping drones for years.
As industries and technologies constantly advance, it can be hard to keep track of it all. Especially when each changing industry or new technology seems to send a shock wave of innovation through nearly every other industry, no matter how unrelated the two may seem. No matter the industry, its inner workings are inevitably going to be affected by technology. As either a business owner or consumer, the best thing to do is to be aware of the impending changes and take advantage of them.