Is your business about to be disrupted by data?

The challenge of dealing with COVID-19 comes on top of recent trends in data-driven innovation and presents challenges and opportunities for companies across all sectors.

In a matter of weeks, organizations implemented remote working for many employees, driving internal changes that would have taken years to plan and roll out only a few months ago. This has shifted the focus of operations to the vital role that technology now plays in our businesses.

The genie cannot be put back in the bottle. This forced global experiment will change how businesses operate over the next decade and beyond. Several key technologies will play a vital part in these developments, with the collection and exploitation of data being the common link.

Drive to automation

The rise of robots in automated factories and warehouses was well underway before workplaces shuttered their operations in response to COVID-19. However, the need for social distancing and safe workspaces has driven a significant increase in the demand for robotic devices and helpers. In the U.S., companies including Brain Corp, Xenex and Simbe Robotics are taking on extra staff to build and maintain the robots retailers and hospitals now need to sanitize buildings and stock shelves.

While these devices help keep workers safe, they are also generating data that is used to streamline workflows and business planning. For example, Simbe’s Tally robots collect real-time data on where products are located on shelves, helping customers and stock pickers find what they are looking for in less time. Such robotic solutions will continue to harvest new data, reducing operating costs and improving customer service as they go. Businesses that implement them will find themselves at an advantage once the current crisis ends through their lowered cost base and organizational learning.

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