While technology has the ability to take us far beyond what we could ever have imagined not that long ago, this is not to say that everyone is going to be spending their working lives stuck behind a computer screen.
There are, despite economic growth and technological advances, a myriad of jobs and professions that still require a hands-on approach. These jobs still span all sectors – farming, construction, and hospitality. The human element is still a crucial element.
Improving productivity, reducing fraud
However, where tech comes in is to systemize many of these jobs to make them on only more productive and efficient, but in some areas to also eliminate the element of risk and human error.
One of the ways in which tech can help more ‘physical’ businesses is through labeling and tracking a process from start to finish – and beyond. Let’s follow one product – for example, the humble fishcake. Seafood is often at risk of being fraudulently passed on as better quality, and therefore higher priced than they are due to the complex nature of the supply chain. This has a severe impact on the market as a whole.
The lifecycle of the humble fishcake
A good fishcake will have started its life in, for example, the North Sea. A fishing trawler will have pulled some cod into his nets and placed them into fish bins according to category. These bins will be pre-labeled with bar codes so that when the catch is taken back into the dock, those fish are automatically assigned a batch identity that will follow it through its life cycle, from the area of the sea in which it was caught, right through to the plate it eventually lands on.
Assigned to this batch identity, or ‘tag’, every bit of information will be recorded – where it was caught, who the fishermen were, which dock it was delivered to, the factory where it was processed, storage temperatures at every process, how many products it was filleted down into, where it was packaged, which supermarket shelf, or restaurant plate it ended up on, and even who ate and consumed it.
All this information can be stored on a barcode, or QR code, available to anyone who is interested in the provenance of that one fish cake. Many restaurants are even placing it on menus to reassure their customers of the genuine provenance of their food.
A shrinking world
Our online world has certainly created a global marketplace that is more open to scrutiny by a global audience. Consumers are incredibly tech-savvy. They are environmentally conscious, displaying a more discerning and demanding attitude towards the products they purchase to be sustainable and ecologically sound.
And technology has driven this demand for quality and sustainability, not just in the food supply chain, but in every other sector too.
In the construction industry, it is crucial that all construction processes are now carried out in a way that reduces waste, conserves energy consumption, and promotes a more sustainable way of running and maintaining the building overall.
While traveling is one of the biggest offenders in contributing to the carbon footprint, the hospitality industry has long since been conscious of taking a more robust approach to better managing energy and water consumption, cutting back on single-use plastics, and implementing more responsible wastage solutions – particularly in areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Technology is at the forefront of the pressure that is being placed on international companies to achieve robust standards in sustainability. It has opened up the channels of scrutiny, ensuring that there is no longer any place to hide fraudulent and destructive company policies that are today considered outdated and damaging to the environment.