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Technology Continues to Create Sweeping Changes in the Workplace, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Technology has introduced vast changes throughout industries of all types, greatly boosting productivity and reallocating (or eliminating) workers.  A major cause of change for employees, and therefore job seekers, is the tidal wave of new technologies that continues to revolutionize the workplace at all levels.  Prospering companies are using new ways to communicate with customers, automate back-office tasks and factory operations, and push ahead with research and development.  There is a never-ending stream of technological innovation.  For example, employers long ago harnessed the power of networked desktop computers.  Today, they are rapidly adopting the use of mobile computing devices such as tablets, internet-based telephone systems (VOIP and unified communication systems), voice-recognition software, cloud computing and video conferencing technologies.
The trend of using new practices and technologies while cutting layers of management is largely about communication.  This is true whether it is communication between the top offices and the factory floor, communication with customers, communication between the computers in one corporate office with those in another, or communication from the sales department to the warehouse and the supply chain.
These new technologies mean continuous retraining for much of the workforce.  Job seekers who want the best posts must have the training and skills that will let them utilize new technologies effectively.  Workforce training is a critical need nationwide.
Jobs in America are shifting to new categories of work based on technologies that didn’t exist a few decades ago.  For example, the job title “social media manager” emerged in recent years.  Services firms, as well as manufacturers, are placing more and more employees in recently created technical and service positions, while many of the tasks once performed in-house are now provided by outsourced services providers.  In the telecommunications industry, digital technology has completely changed the list of job titles while enabling phone service providers to reduce the ratio of employees to customers.  In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created at cellular telephone companies.  Now, internet-based telephony, competition from cable providers, fiber to the premises and wireless networks such as Wi-Fi and 5G continue to force telecommunications firms to evolve.
Another excellent example:  Retailing, shipping and warehousing are undergoing a technology revolution due to the introduction of Radio Frequency Identification Tags (RFID).  This breakthrough in inventory management is based on the placement of digitized product data within product packaging, combined with the use of special sensors in stores and warehouses that can automatically read that data.  These sensors can alert a central inventory management system of product movement and the need to restock inventory.  From loading docks to shelves to cash registers to parking lots, RFID sensors will eventually track the movement of each pallet or individual item.  Many bar codes will eventually be replaced by RFIDs.  RFID can even eliminate the need to scan each item at checkout in a retail store.  Checkout stations will be equipped with sensors that read RFID-based data such as product code and price, and then automatically calculate purchase totals.  Benefits can include less shoplifting and few inventory errors.  Another benefit is that firms will be able to reduce overall inventory thanks to better tracking.
As online ordering, tracking and inventory management continue to become more sophisticated and cost-effective, purchasing executives at firms of all types and sizes will accelerate the use of internet-based systems for management of their supply chains.  There are significant opportunities here for e-commerce services and software companies.  Likewise, there is great promise for third-party logistics (3PL) companies that combine the power of internet-based information with strategically located warehouses to fulfill the inventory needs of manufacturers.  Robots are being used to a rapidly growing extent in picking inventory within warehouses prior to shipment. is a leader in this regard, and it owns its own robotics development and manufacturing division, Amazon Robotics.
Manufacturing is undergoing its own technology revolution.  This is often referred to as factory automation.  Advanced technology used with great success on the factory floor includes computer-driven machine tools that require highly skilled operators, along with robotic assemblers that are capable of working nonstop, 24/7 to create and assemble parts into finished goods.
Over the mid-term, massive changes in business and industry will be caused through rapid adoption of processes and systems based on artificial intelligence (AI).  AI enables software to identify patterns in digital data, as well as in images such as digital photos/video of people, places and things.  AI and a process known as machine learning means that more and more task that are currently handled by humans will be processed by computers.  It remains to be seen how quickly, and to what extent, this will have broad effects on the workplace and hiring.

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