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How IoT will change the way you work

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What will a world with many Internet-connected devices look like and how will it change the workplace? YUNUS SCHEEPERS, chief information officer of Nashua, has some answers.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been described as the anchor of the 21st century industrial revolution that will connect everything around us as well as increase productivity and efficiency. Predictions estimate the growth of the IoT will reach 50 billion objects by 2020.

IoT describes a growing network of connected variables which include sensors, processors and chips that have the ability to interact with other devices on a network. The computers, smart phones and printers we use have the capacity but now we’re starting to see televisions, cars and industries being able to receive data or being controlled remotely.

Soon every device you own – and nearly every object you can imagine – will be connected to the Internet. Whether it’s through your phone, wearable tech or everyday household object. Imagine a smart office which sets the optimal workplace temperature throughout the day – that’s soon becoming a reality. No more fights about whether it’s too hot or too cold.

Businesses should be the top adopters of IoT solutions to improve the bottom line by lowering operating costs, increasing productivity and expanding into new markets or developing new product offerings.

Change is coming to the office building too and it’s geared towards worker and customer convenience. IoT allows more data for your business than you currently track. This opens the door to learn more in-depth metrics on consumers and their behaviours, your employees and how they work, and even details on how the business operates. IoT means more software and data management systems to manage and implement this information.

Nashua has implemented IoT in its printing software with a device called Pro-Act Nashua.  It sits in all Nashua’s printers and picks up any abnormal behaviour before something happens to the printer and alerts the user that there will be an issue.

Everything faster

IoT means faster inventory management systems. Having all your equipment devices and products into the same network allows for efficiency – instantly updating numbers is at your disposal and tapping into metrics can be done easily form anywhere.

Interconnected devices will include everything from robots to cars and the public transportation system. This means shorter commute times for employees and faster deliveries. You get everything you need faster, but on the one hand, customers will expect and demand faster and more efficient service.

Machines and equipment in industries will operate smoother and maintenance routines become easier. The bottom line is that less money will be spent to produce inventory ad most of your costs will likely decrease.

IoT will change how we do business. Remote work will become even more feasible. Thanks to cloud-hosted software in devices like tablets and our smartphones is already an option for many professionals. With IoT all devices are manageable on one network – given just a tablet and an internet connection you’ll be able to manage an entire store, team or production line.

The downside of IoT integration

Tech and device management can be a complex task. For IoT to work at its optimum point devices need to be updated with the latest software and connected to the network. This will be expensive and demanding. Some industries will also disappear or radically change when IoT becomes mainstream. Some might even become obsolete, for example the logistics and delivery industry will become completely automated.

Businesses need to pay close attention to how their industries develop and be prepared for major changes. There will be sectors that will start to be higher demand allowing for more profitability and entry to new entrepreneurs. It’s important to watch how this new tech develops and get your business to gradually adapt to changes and reap the benefits of IoT.

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Second-hand smartphone market booms

The worldwide market for used smartphones is forecast to grow to 332.9 million units, with a market value of $67 billion, in 2023, according to IDC

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International Data Corporation (IDC) expects worldwide shipments of used smartphones, inclusive of both officially refurbished and used smartphones, to reach a total of 206.7 million units in 2019. This represents an increase of 17.6% over the 175.8 million units shipped in 2018. A new IDC forecast projects used smartphone shipments will reach 332.9 million units in 2023 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6% from 2018 to 2023.

This growth can be attributed to an uptick in demand for used smartphones that offer considerable savings compared with new models. Moreover, OEMs have struggled to produce new models that strike a balance between desirable new features and a price that is seen as reasonable. Looking ahead, IDC expects the deployment of 5G networks and smartphones to impact the used market as smartphone owners begin to trade in their 4G smartphones for the promise of high-performing 5G devices.

Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, says: “In contrast to the recent declines in the new smartphone market, as well as the forecast for minimal growth in new shipments over the next few years, the used market for smartphones shows no signs of slowing down across all parts of the globe. Refurbished and used devices continue to provide cost-effective alternatives to both consumers and businesses that are looking to save money when purchasing a smartphone. Moreover, the ability for vendors to push more affordable refurbished devices in markets in which they normally would not have a presence is helping these players grow their brand as well as their ecosystem of apps, services, and accessories.”

Worldwide Used Smartphone Shipments (shipments in millions of units)

Region2018
Shipments
2018 Market
Share
2023
Shipments*
2023 Market
Share*
2018-2023
CAGR*
North America39.022.2%87.226.2%17.4%
Rest of World136.877.8%245.773.8%12.4%
Total175.8100.0%332.9100.0%13.6%

Source: IDC, Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast, 2019–2023, Dec 2019.

Table Notes: Data is subject to change.
* Forecast projections.

Says Will Stofega, program director, Mobile Phones: “Although drivers such as regulatory compliance and environmental initiatives are still positively impacting the growth in the used market, the importance of cost-saving for new devices will continue to drive growth. Overall, we feel that the ability to use a previously owned device to fund the purchase of either a new or used device will play the most crucial role in the growth of the refurbished phone market. Trade-in combined with the increase in financing plans (EIP) will ultimately be the two main drivers of the refurbished phone market moving forward.”

According to IDC’s taxonomy, a refurbished smartphone is a device that has been used and disposed of at a collection point by its owner. Once the device has been examined and classified as suitable for refurbishment, it is sent off to a facility for reconditioning and is eventually sold via a secondary market channel. A refurbished smartphone is not a “hand me down” or gained as the result of a person-to-person sale or trade.

The IDC report, Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast, 2019–2023 (Doc #US45726219), provides an overview and five-year forecast of the worldwide refurbished phone market and its expansion and growth by 2023. This study also provides a look at key players and the impact they will have on vendors, carriers, and consumers.

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Customers and ‘super apps’ will shape travel in 2020s

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Customers will take far more control of their travel experience in the 2020s, according to a 2020 Trends report released this week by Travelport, a leading technology company serving the global travel industry.

Through independent research with thousands of global travellers – including 500 in South Africa – hundreds of travel professionals and interviews with leaders of some of the world’s biggest travel brands, Travelport uncovered the major forces that will become the technology enablers of travel over the next decade. These include:

Customers in control

Several trends highlight the finding that customers are moving towards self-service options, with 61% of the travellers surveyed in South Africa preferring to hear about travel disruption via digital communications, such as push notifications on an app, mobile chatbots, or instant messaging apps, rather than speaking with a person on the phone. This is especially important when it comes to young travellers under 25, seen as the future business traveler, and managing their high expectations through technology.

Mobile takeover

With the threat of super app domination, online travel agencies must disrupt or risk being disrupted. Contextual messaging across the journey will help. Super app tech giants like WeChat give their users a one-stop shop to communicate, shop online, book travel, bank, find a date, get food delivery, and pay for anything within a single, unified smartphone app. Travel brands that want to deliver holistic mobile customer experiences need to think about how they engage travellers within these super apps as well as in their own mobile channels.

Retail accelerated

In the next year, research shows, we will see an accelerated rate of change in the way travel is retailed and purchased online. This includes wider and more complex multi-content reach, more enriched and comparable offerings, more focus on relevance than magnitude, and an increase in automation that enables customer self-service.

“How customers engage with their travel experience – for instance by interacting with digital ‘bots’ and expecting offers better personalised to their needs – is changing rapidly,” says Adrian Roodt, country manager for Southern Africa at Travelport. “We in the travel industry need to understand and keep pace with these forces to make sure we’re continuing to make the experience of buying and managing travel continually better, for everyone.”

Read the full 2020 Trends report here: 2020 Trends hub.

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