Coming Soon or “I didn’t know they
could do that!”
Yes, next year holds as many new changes as
this year. Some of the leading technical changes that should
become mainstream are:
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). This
will allow you to ask the dumpster or air conditioning unit
or any object as small as a pill bottle, “What are you,
when were you last serviced, who did the work and how long did
it take?” Some drug companies are tagging their pill bottles
to ensure the contents are not “knock offs”. This
technology could actually be placed in the pill itself. Now
your significant other doesn’t have to remind you of your
medication, he/she just scans your body and they know. Schools
are placing the little chips in student ID cards so they can
track them coming in and out of the school building, just by
tracking who walks through the door. Think of it as a personal
“Easy Pass” used for toll collection.
High-Speed Wireless Internet. In the metropolitan
areas you will be able to use your hand held personal digital
assistant (PDA) or cell phone to pickup your office calls as
if you were at your desk (VOIP). Receive and send e-mail message
with pictures, sound and if you want, your favorite TV program
from your in-house TIVO. Better yet, if you want to know where
your drivers are, you can tap into in-vehicle cameras and look
out the windshield to see what street corner the vehicle is
Combine the wireless internet with RFID and,
imagine, a retailer will press a button and a list of items
running out on the shelves will be generated and electronically
sent to the suppliers, and the next day’s delivery route
truck will drop off the needed goods. Think “Wal-Mart”—
they actually allow their suppliers to see their “near
real-time” sales activity so they can have inventory available
to supply the stores. Once only the “big guy” could
afford this technology, now you will buy it at Office Max or
Internet Shopping for Business. Companies
will offer shopping over the internet with small lot size “just-in-time
delivery”. Included in the service will be e-mail reminders
that recommend, based upon historical usage rates, that you
get a delivery to avoid running out of inventory.
Electronic Banking will update your back office
accounting package with those latest credit card purchases,
checks processed, and deposits received giving you near real-time
cash flow control and pre-tax gross profit on a daily basis,
while at the same time reducing the clerical work.
All-In-One Devices will continue to combine
cell phones, pagers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), radio,
camera and musical juke box, combined into the first offering
of the multi-media device that can fit into a pocket. A complete
mobile office that allows your service technician to complete
the work, getting needed equipment and job info, do needed electronic
record keeping, create the invoice and get the next assignment.
Oh yes, the invoice is emailed to the customer for their records.
Far-fetched? Think about the absence of secretaries in almost
all businesses. Soon to follow, file cabinets and filing clerks.
How do you take advantage of these trends?
Pick just one, and make it part of your business, if you are
successful by this time next year, you will have more free time
and be better informed about your business. Yes, just one new
tool can make a big difference. If you use a cell phone, try
wireless email. If you use email, try electronic banking, QuickBooks,
with credit card and banking account electronic updates.