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Tomorrow's World, Today: real life applications of new technology

04/11/16 Daniel Saddi Associate Director

The growth of technology in this century has been phenomenal, leaving companies in a desperate race to stay at the forefront of innovation. Others who haven’t embraced the speed of change have fallen by the wayside: Amstrad, Blockbusters, Kodak, Xerox… household brands have suffered through a lack of commitment and faith in new technology.

At Redline, we’ve been serving the European technology industries for over 30 years. We’ve watched the birth of the personal computer, the boom in mobile phones, the internet revolution and the advance of additive manufacturing. We take a look at some businesses that have been early adopters of new technology and how they are finding real-life applications for it.

The Technology: Drones

In the technology sector, talk of drones is becoming ubiquitous. Since the move from governmental and personal development to commercial, the potential for drones to interact with our everyday lives is palpable.

The Company: Amazon

What began as an online bookseller is now one of the world’s most renowned e-commerce companies. Amazon have pushed the boundaries with breadth of stock, customer service and delivery speeds, underpinned by a host of pioneering technology. Amazon have now turned their hand to developing a fleet of drones, designed to deliver parcels in under 30 minutes from purchase time. It’s an enormously ambitious project, but with other companies content to rely on economy mail service, it’s not unfeasible to see Amazon leaving the rest of the competition behind again.

The Technology: The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is a concept, rather than a technology, but we couldn’t afford to miss it out. Involving everyday objects, people and even animals, the Internet of Things enables everything to interact with one another via the internet. Whether it’s through a simple Wi-Fi connection or a mix of GPS, RFID and strategically-placed sensors, objects and devices can make intelligent decisions depending on its programming and situation.

The Company: Honeywell

Another client of Redline, Honeywell are well-known in the Internet of Things arena for their industry-leading smart thermostat. Replacing your traditional heating control, Honeywell’s offering enables you to control your home’s temperature and humidity from your phone, tablet or even your computer at work. It uses both GPS and RFID in what’s known as geofencing to identify when you’ve left home and will optimise the temperature of your home accordingly.

Smarter still, it won’t change the temperature when you’ve only popped to the shops: you can set the range to various distances from a quarter-mile through to seven miles from home.

The Technology: 3D Printing

While 3D printing has been around since the 1980s, its popularity has surged in the last few years. The capability to design and manufacture objects in trifling timeframes with zero wastage has caught the attention the world – just last year, architects embarked on a project to build a full-size house using just 3D printing. 3D printing has even managed to construct a drone and all its circuitry. Even more exciting: Voxel8, the company behind the innovation is about to start selling the printers capable of such technology to the mass market. Technology enthusiasts across the world are about to have access to a truly game-changing piece of kit.

The Company: Royal Mail Group

With a history spanning back to the 16th century, Royal Mail Group has overseen the invention of the newspaper, steam engine, locomotive, telephone, lightbulb, radio, transistor, PC, internet, email and CD-ROM, amongst other momentous technological breakthroughs. Yet the company’s ability to adapt has kept it relevant. In a move that surprised many, Royal Mail Group turned its attention to 3D printing. Offering customers the ability to purchase and send ready-to-print items, or have their own designs printed in a delivery office, Royal Mail Group is bringing the technology to a non-technological audience at an affordable price.

3D printers is expected to grow by 95% by 2017, providing Royal Mail Group with crucial experience and know-how before it becomes too late. So when people ask how a traditional delivery service can still operate in the 21st century, thank their commitment to new technology as a contributing factor.

The speed at which technology progresses has had a profound impact on our lives. Moore’s law theorises computer processing power doubles every two years, providing engineers with an unprecedented level of opportunity to develop exciting new technologies. It’s more important than ever for companies to be ready to adapt to change if they don’t want to be left behind. Kodak, Blockbusters and Amstrad paid the price of inflexibility – it’s hard to see companies like Amazon and Honeywell going the same way.