By DeVry University
Not long ago, people could legitimately claim that technology was not part of their every day jobs. Today, workers ranging from shop clerks to doctors to computer engineers must have not only a firm grasp on technology but also a willingness to adapt as it inevitably changes over time.
The examples are boundless yet often overlooked. A hospital employee uses a tablet to admit emergency room patients. A mechanic downloads a repair manual for a self-driving car. A law firm employs security protocols to keep its files safe from prying cybercriminals. From healthcare and law to engineering and mechanics, new technologies are the norm for businesses nationwide.
This trend stands to change the modern world. Some, including the World Economic Forum, are calling it the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“There are three reasons why today’s transformations represent not merely a prolongation of the Third Industrial Revolution but rather the arrival of a Fourth and distinct one: velocity, scope, and systems impact,” according to a Foreign Affairs article penned by Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. “The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent…it is disrupting almost every industry in every country. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance.”
Here are some of the ways technology is supporting and driving business in a number of industries:
There have been many changes in manufacturing, but one of the widest-reaching is upon us now: The Internet of Things, a versatile system of connected devices, enables companies to follow products all along the supply chain, generating data along the way. Companies can analyze this progress to identify potential new sources of revenue and areas ripe for optimization. The power of the IoT doesn’t end at the supply chain level, though.
Once these devices are in use, manufacturers and other stakeholders can make use of the data they generate to determine how consumers are using their products and services. In turn, they can optimize existing offerings and develop new products to meet consumer demands.
Technology has significantly changed the healthcare field at all levels. It starts with the office staff, who help to ensure that the patient information they enter into software optimized for the healthcare industry is compliant with regulations such as HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Accountability Act). Administrative workers also use Electronic Health Records, the new industry standard, which creates centralized patient records and provides nationwide data that can lead to the development of improved treatments. Healthcare employees can even remotely monitor patients’ health with wearable device systems.
This forward march of healthcare technology also extends to the technicians who use artificial intelligence to simulate how cancer develops in different people’s bodies, to the doctors who use mobile devices to dictate notes and access information.
Educators from the pre-school level all the way through college are leveraging technology to actively engage students, to differentiate content and instruction, and to prepare students for college- and career-readiness. Technology is steadily working its way into classrooms, and almost every state supports online learning opportunities, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
From electronic whiteboards, to digital video, to data analytics software, to mobile apps, to social media and more, educators’ time is increasingly technology-focused.
Technology has the power to vastly improve the lives of citizens, as well as public sector employees’ ability to serve them. Harnessed and deployed correctly, data gathering and analysis stand to improve government and public services at every level, from local to federal. As cities and towns further understand the inner workings and nuances of their communities, they can refine internal systems and resolve issues more quickly.
With technology at the core of modern business, professionals must be able to effectively use the hardware, software and services their companies run, with the expectation that new hires can do so from their first day on the job. But even before that point, professionals must have enough technical knowledge to navigate the many social media sites and other Web platforms that companies use to post jobs, interview candidates, and vet potential employees.
This demand for technology is not just the proposal of American businesses; even the federal government recognizes the need for the country to adapt to this change. “To build for the future, the Federal Government needs a Digital Strategy that embraces the opportunity to innovate more with less, and enables entrepreneurs to better leverage government data to improve the quality of services to the American people,” states the federal Digital Government Strategy.