Industry 4.0, another name for the fourth industrial revolution, unfolds gradually before us. The latest tech innovations allow us to see technology blur the lines between physical, biological, and digital societies. Therefore, it’s safe to say that tech is driving significant changes across major industries or economic sectors, reshaping human interactions, work environments, and even our lifestyle choices.
The healthcare sector, for instance, has seen some of the most significant revolutions due to the digitalization of the sector’s processes. Artificial intelligence, big data, and machine learning are some tech tools that assist medical practitioners towards more accurate disease diagnoses, health data tracking, and personalized treatments.
The entertainment industries, cloud gaming, gambling, online casinos, and similar spaces have also seen big changes over the last few decades due to technological advancements. Drones find applications in agriculture, and elearning has made education all the more available and seamless. Those are just a few industries that have seen significant changes due to technological developments.
This article looks at some industries going through significant changes due to technological developments. Though the list isn’t exhaustive, you’ll find some of the perhaps less-obvious sectors that have seen intensive technological advancements here.
In no particular order, they are:
Photography is one of the sectors that have seen giant leaps due to technological changes over the last few decades. Whereas large format cameras and rangefinders were the order of the day, the speed and autofocus-ability of digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) have upped professional photographers’ game.
Their full-frame digital sensors allow photographers to take infinite shots of the same scene. Within a few minutes, their photographers can select their favorite from the infinite shots taken, publish and print them easily.
Now, beyond the revolution of DSLRs, smart and mirrorless cameras that work silently and weigh lighter than DSLRs are slowly taking over the industry. With smart cameras, photographers can upload pictures immediately, giving them multiple publishing or printing options, including posting directly on social media.
Asides from the above, technological advancements also changed the post-processing stage of creating pictures. Moreover, photo retouching allows photographers to dramatically change photographs’ features to the extent of evoking debates in different aspects of the photography industry.
More than ever, automotive firms focus on safety and convenience throughout their factory processes. Innovations like Mercedes Benz’s Night View Assist Plus and similar technologies from BMW allow drivers to highlight pedestrians via a dashboard or preempt pedestrians’ paths. With radar technology, drivers can get a real-time warning when getting close to protruding objects. For instance, if a truck is coming from behind the driver, radar tech raises the alarm to prevent a possible collision.
Besides changing how automobile riders relate to other road users, tech companies like Samsung’s big screens help improve road safety, especially with 18-wheelers. Since most road mishaps involve semi-trailers, the TV manufacturer decided to produce large television sets behind many 18-wheelers.
The screens display the road ahead of the 18-wheeler to cars driving from the rear before they attempt to drive beyond the trucks. The manufacturer also has a special camera that aids night vision and other similar tools to help improve some definite aspects of the automotive industry.
Travel and hospitality industry
Gone are the days when hotel rooms with a bunch of keys were the only means of hosting guests in a new city. Technological advancements have allowed firms like Couchsurfing and Airbnb to bring a new model into the hospitality industry. Millions of travelers worldwide can assess their preferred rooms online on sites like Airbnb.
Asides from getting direct information from new hospitality innovations like Airbnb, a prospective visitor can use a website like Lonely Planet for other customer reviews. Suppose you were visiting a new city you’ve never been to before or a major tourist destination, sites like Lonely Planet display reviews from fellow travelers from a different country about the city you’re considering visiting.
News and media industries
The media and news worlds have grown from not just being swift but virtually instantaneous. Tech advancements have altered the entire news industry on both the side of journalists and their audience. While the era of daily newspapers meant people had to wait till the morning to hear local news events, it isn’t the same anymore. In the same vein, viewers do not have to wait for the news at 9 or 10 pm to know what transpired during the day.
Devices like smartphones, tablets, and smart cameras allow journalists to upload real-time news online and let hundreds of millions of people keep a tab on events, regardless of location. Even more intriguing is the introduction of citizen journalism. Every day people have been able to publish uncovered events in less-reached areas, thanks to online platforms and social media.
With the immense support that technological advancements in the telecom industry have given humans, it’s almost unbelievable to imagine a world without mobile phones. Moreover, the telecoms sector has seen intensive developments not just in providing communication access but in easing and simplifying how we communicate across cities and continents.
Social and business environments have also seen tremendous revolutions, with the introduction of conference calls, instant messaging apps, and internet-based voice calls. Today’s telecoms sector not only provides better phone or internet connection for users via voice calls or traditional SMS services. They also produce USB modems to support private and corporate communications better.
The plethora of electronic libraries and magazines available today have made searching for books or reading one totally seamless. Whole libraries and international bookshops now have digital platforms available to billions of potential readers anywhere on the planet. New apps that allow new authors to publish their works and have a wide array of books have also hit the market.
Thanks to Amazon Kindle, a portable online library that allows people to download millions of books from international bookstores, people can carry their libraries around on their mobile gadgets today. In addition, audiobook productions and many other smart devices have been introduced to allow physically-challenged individuals to access valuable information.
In the past, Hollywood shot movies using industrial video cameras and few light effects and settings, eventually producing poor-quality pictures. But today’s high-tech movie productions and screening rooms have introduced massive changes to the film industry.
With laser projections getting into the cinemas like IMAX, film images are clearer with darker shades that help project the colors you see on the screen. Then shortly after the cinemas welcomed 3D technological advancements in the early 21st century, lenticular lens technology with nearly real-life images took the tech advances a leap further.
Moreover, movie fans don’t need to visit the theater to watch their favorite TV personalities. They can access cinema-grade footage from their gadgets, like iPads, computers, and cell phones fitted to display HD movies.
The above industries are some sectors where technological advancements have made significant impacts over the last few decades. However, as history has almost always revealed, it’s safe to expect even more technological advances in these industries in a matter of years.
Bearing that in mind, one could only imagine how many changes future technologies will bring into these industries and others in the coming years. We can only start looking forward to them.
Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Johannes Plenio.