Machines are on the rise. As computing ability and artificial intelligence move forward we are getting machines that can do more and more things. While we are not quite yet at risk of the machines taking over the world and making humans subservient they are certainly doing more and more. In light of this, I thought it would be great to share m=some of the applications of machines in the business world that are already in action. This is not the realm of theory or science fiction, this is happening in today’s world.
I’ve watched with interest as pizza vending machines are being rolled out in the world. The concept is amazing, a machine that makes your pizza with the touch of a few buttons. One manufacturer claims it makes your pizza to specifications within 3 minutes. I like the sound of that. With issues around the coronavirus, customer service in Zimbabwe and convenience this is something I will be keeping an eye on because I think it’ll be a big hit. It is believed pizza was the first fast-food delivered as far back as 1889! Pizza also has the honour of being the first thing purchased using cryptocurrency so pizza ushering us into the machine-made fast food isn’t that much of a surprise. Others will surely follow suit.
This I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing first hand I loved it. Using computer-operated lockers I managed to send a package to a friend overnight. I simply paid through a mobile app, which instructed me to drop off the package at a locker close to me. The next day my friend was notified that his package had arrived, all he had to do was go to the locker close to him and enter a code to pick it up. The convenience of doing this without dealing with Post Office employees (no offence intended) was amazing for me. This could really change the game in logistics and courier for small items.
Major companies such as Amazon are already completely automating their warehousing systems. Think about it, it’s not actually that hard to manage. Such systems would be best suited to managing boxes or cases of products as opposed to individual units. With some products, you could make a good case for the management of individual units too. Machines run everything from accepting, storing, accounting for and dispatching inventory. This can massively reduce the cost of warehousing but also increase efficiency in warehousing. This is one to look out for.
There’s a lot of talk about deliveries being made through automated drones and driverless cars. You can read about William Sachiti’s project on driverless cars for deliveries. While the idea is still being tested extensively it really is here already and looks to be a good one, for some members of the industry at least. Expect to see this take over once regulations on unmanned vehicles are sorted through. Delivery and logistics are big parts of the eCommerce landscape and anything that improves them is certain to be welcomed by the industry.
If you can deliver food across or city or town with a machine then surely sending it from a kitchen should be no problem at all. We have already seen waiting for robots, or at least runner robots in action. Runners are pretty much the assistants to waiters in restaurant environments and help with the manual part of the job such as bringing orders and clearing tables. This could become quite a big hit especially when we are dogged by so many customer service problems in our nation.
Speaking of customer service the use of machines in it is a very big deal right now and by all accounts, it looks like we can expect it to become bigger. Many businesses now employ chatbots and automated answering systems for telephone calls that try to offer customer service assistance where needed. These are designed to handle low pressure, low friction situations with customers such as clarifying as simple detail. As artificial intelligence forges forward you can expect these systems to have the ability to handle much much more.
With these industries already being entered by machines, there are many more that are on their way to introducing autonomous machines to the mix.