VR Training and 3D Printers: Unbelievable Business Tech That Proves We’re Living In The Future
The future is now. Once seemingly sci-fi concepts are now being used in everyday business. If you’re looking to transport your business well and truly into the 21st century, here are just a few of the technologies that could be worth looking into.
Telephones are old hat. Video communication services such as Skype have been around for a while now and are seeing increased usage in business. They allow face-to-face interaction without having to actually meet up in person. This can cut out time and money spent travelling and serve as a more personable approach to a phonecall. Video calls can be used to host virtual conferences, to do live demos and to even give virtual tours of an office or a construction project. Video calling can be used for conducting interviews, taking some of the pressure off the candidate as well as cutting down preparations made by the interviewer.
Laser technology has been around a while, but only recently has it become more economically feasible. In manufacturing, lasers can be used to carve out the most intricate of cuts. They can also allow full customisation, doing the job the multiple specifically set up cutting machines might have once had to do. There are places online where you can read about newer laser systems and get to grips with the technology. Some companies can be outsourced more affordably to carry out cutting tasks, so that you don’t have to buy your own laser cutter.
Much the same as lasers, 3D printers have allowed much more detailed and customisable manufacturing methods. They are currently used by dentists and orthodontists to create dentures and braces, by hospitals to create prosthetic limbs and parts and by mechanics and repairmen to replicate hard to find parts such as old engine component. 3D printing is still in its infancy and new possibilities are constantly being discovered all the time.
Most of us may associate VR with the video games industry, but it’s been finding other uses – namely as a training tool. Trainee pilots are able to use VR to simulate complex taking off and landing procedures, surgeons are able to use it to simulate operations and the military have been using it to simulate potentially dangerous scenarios out in the field. When made interactive, this technology can be expensive to produce. However, VR can be used to help create less-complex guided tours of hotels, properties and construction projects. Those interested should check out software such as 3D Vista.
Drones are remote-controlled flying robots that are able to take aerial footage. A lot of people are buying them as toys, but in some industries they’ve found a more practical use. In real estate, a drone can be used to create aerial shots of a property, allowing people to see the surrounding and scale more accurately. In construction, Drones can be used to inspect hard to access parts of building such as roofs and high rise levels, preventing someone from having to risk going up there if not needed. Drones have also found a use in agriculture, where they can be used to monitor crops or livestock. Buying a drone is expensive and some professional models require a bit of training to control them. However there are many photographers that are now buying drones and putting themselves up for hire – a cheaper method of getting your own aerial photography which may be more sensible in some cases.
The Internet of Things
There was a time when PCs were only household objects that had internet access. Then mobile phones, tablets and e-readers began getting internet access, and now even kettles and central heating is connected to wi-fi. This method of connecting everything to the web has become known as the ‘internet of things’ and has been finding its way rapidly into business. Machinery used in manufacturing is now going digital, producing analytics which can be read on another computer device and used to increase output, reduce wastage and spot faults before they happen. Some businesses are also starting to microchips in tools to prevent them getting lost and monitor them for wear and tear.
On a more grand scale, there have been potential plans to transfer the internet of things to a urban planning level. Traffic lights, public transport and street lighting could all be digitally monitored allowing faults to be automatically picked up. Train timetables could be made to automatically adjust, traffic lights could adjust to the traffic flow and street lighting could turn on where and when it needs to.
Touch Interactive Desks
Interactive touch tables as produced by companies such as U-Touch are being used widely already in many museums and libraries. Some companies meanwhile are replacing their desktop computers with such desks, combining their PC and desk into one. This technology allows more easy information sharing – people can gather around from any angle instead of having to swivel round a screen. Clearly, such tech isn’t cheap, although in a few years it could be.
Money has been increasingly going digital. However, the likes of Satoshi Nakamoto have taken things one step further by creating a wholly virtual currency known as Bitcoin. Businesses often dealing in international transactions can invest in Bitcoin as a way of getting around transfer fees. It is essentially a global currency that can be used by all. Due to its volatility, many smaller companies have been slow to take it up, although there are some that accept it including some retailers. You can even buy digital wallets for Bitcoin that work much like cards and phone payment apps.
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