Then and Now: E-commerce, Smartphones, and Robots

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically accelerated the adoption of know-how in enterprise, enabling firms to optimize their operations and meet altering client expectations. In Half 1 of this text collection, we mentioned the origin and success of department shops, supermarkets, and the retail bar code.

Let’s proceed this exploration of the previous to find the success of the longer term. In Half 2, we evaluate e-commerce, smartphones, and robots. Now ubiquitous in our lives, how did they get their begin and what can we count on sooner or later?

First Merchandise Bought On-line

Generally it appears onerous to consider there was a time earlier than on-line purchasing. Right now, we will order mainly something, from books and housewares to groceries and cleansing provides, to be delivered proper to our door in just some days. That comfort has actually paid off, however how precisely did we get right here?

As with different rising applied sciences, one can debate the origin of e-commerce. Candidates embrace a pizza, marijuana, a CD, or laptop elements.

The primary actual on-line transaction that concerned knowledge encryption software program to ship a bank card securely befell in August 11, 1994 on a web site known as NetMarket. On that now memorable day, Dan Kohn offered a CD of Sting’s ‘Ten Summoner’s Tales’ to a good friend for $12.48 plus delivery.

As soon as the web could possibly be used as a safe purchasing channel, on-line purchasing’s success was inevitable. In 1995, Amazon and eBay launched their on-line purchasing platforms, quickly adopted by Rakuten in Japan and Alibaba in China.

A decade in the past, e-commerce made up solely 8 p.c of complete retail gross sales in the US. The pandemic, as with most digital applied sciences, turned a significant development accelerator for e-commerce. In line with McKinsey, COVID-19 compressed 10 years of e-commerce adoption into three months. On the peak in 2020, worldwide e-commerce grew practically 26 p.c.

E-commerce will proceed to develop within the double digits crossing $6 trillion worldwide by 2023. China has by far the biggest retail e-commerce market, representing 52.1 p.c of complete worldwide gross sales. The US is second however at solely at 19 p.c.

As of 2021, over 2 billion folks worldwide shopped on-line — that’s over one in 4 folks.

First Smartphone

The smartphone brings the world of digital info proper to our fingertips, and it’s onerous to think about residing with out one. Right now, 85 p.c of adults in the US personal a smartphone. However the path to the smartphone began with a two-pound handheld cellphone generally known as “the brick.” In 1984, Motorola launched the primary handheld transportable cellphone, the DynaTAC 8000X, which value practically $4,000 and had a battery lifetime of simply half-hour.

One thing will need to have been within the water in August 1994, as like e-commerce, that was the stunning begin for the smartphone. On August 16 of that 12 months, IBM launched the Simon Private Communicator to the market. Though the time period “smartphone” didn’t come into existence till a 12 months later, Simon had most of the options of a real smartphone, together with built-in functions like an handle e-book, calendar, calculator, and notepad. It even had a touchscreen, though it required a stylus.

The worth of that unique Simon smartphone shouldn’t be too totally different from the worth of an iPhone at present. IBM priced Simon at $899 with a service contract ($1,435 in at present’s {dollars}). The unique Simon was on the market for six months and solely 50,000 models have been offered.

Quick ahead to 2007 when the Apple iPhone emerged and the world was perpetually modified. In a lot of my world shows and articles, I identify the smartphone because the third megatrend that reworked retail.

Right now, all the world has been educated to stare at that smartphone display. In 2021, simply the highest 5 largest smartphone markets crossed over 2 billion models in complete utilization.

First Robotic

The phrase “robotic” was coined in 1920 by the Czech playwright Karel Capek. In “R.U.R.” (Rossum’s Common Robots) Capek imagined synthetic, absolutely useful servants.

The primary industrial robotic was the Unimate, developed within the Nineteen Fifties by Joseph Engelberger and George Devol. The unique function of those early prototypes was to carry out duties that may hurt people.

In 1959, a Unimate prototype was put in on a Normal Motors meeting line to maneuver scorching items of steel. The introduction of robots within the manufacturing course of led Normal Motors to turn out to be probably the most automated automotive plant on the earth. Robots might construct 110 automobiles per hour, greater than twice as quick as another automotive plant on the time.

The worldwide marketplace for industrial robots was $43.8 billion in 2021. The market is predicted to develop at a compound-annual-growth charge (CAGR) of round 10 p.c, reaching practically $71 billion by 2028.

Within the retail trade, the robots at the moment are additionally accelerating their invasion. One in 4 retailers are presently engaged on a robotic undertaking and 47 p.c report that they are going to be engaged on an in-store robotic undertaking within the subsequent 18 months.

The pandemic raised the profile of robotic automation in warehouses and shops. Sixty-three p.c of retailers say the pandemic elevated robotics’ significance to be used in warehouses and 42 p.c see higher significance in shops coming. Robots and different autonomous applied sciences are feeding the drive to contactless commerce that has been underway for a while.

E-commerce and smartphones have dramatically modified the world. Extra robots are coming to do the identical.

Learn this full article on the creator’s web site. 

Tony D'Onofrio website

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