Then and Now: The Surprising Start and Success of Your Favorite Technologies

Then and Now: The Surprising Start and Success of Your Favorite Technologies

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Part 2: E-Commerce, Smartphones, and Robots

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly accelerated the adoption of technologies in small business, enabling companies to improve their functions and meet up with modifying client expectations. In Part 1 of this short article series, we talked over the origin and accomplishment of department retailers, supermarkets, and the retail bar code.

Let’s go on this exploration of the earlier to learn the success of the long run. In Component 2, we evaluation e-commerce, smartphones, and robots. Now ubiquitous in our life, how did they get their get started and what can we assume in the long run?

Initial Product Acquired On line

cyber monday 3870916 1920At times it appears tricky to believe that there was a time prior to on-line shopping. Nowadays, we can purchase fundamentally something, from books and housewares to groceries and cleansing provides, to be shipped correct to our doorway in just a several times. That benefit has surely paid out off, but how specifically did we get in this article.

As with other emerging technologies, 1 can debate the origin of e-commerce. Candidates incorporate a pizza, weed, a CD, or laptop parts.

The 1st true on-line transaction that associated knowledge encryption software program to deliver a credit score card securely took put in August 11, 1994 on a web site identified as NetMarket. On that now unforgettable day, Dan Kohn sold a CD of Sting’s ‘Ten Summoner’s Tales’ to a friend for $12.48 plus delivery.

After the world-wide-web could be applied as a secure searching channel, on the internet shopping’s results was inescapable. In 1995, and eBay released their on-line browsing platforms, quickly adopted by Rakuten in Japan and Alibaba in China.

A decade back, e-commerce manufactured up only 8% of complete retail gross sales in the United States. The pandemic, as with most digital technologies, turned a big expansion accelerator for e-commerce. In accordance to McKinsey, COVID-19 compressed 10 years of e-commerce adoption into 3 months.

At peak in 2020, throughout the world e-commerce grew practically 26%.


E-commerce will carry on to increase double digit crossing $6 trillion around the world by 2023. China has by far the largest retail ecommerce sector, representing 52.1% of total throughout the world profits. United states is second but at only at 19%.

As of 2021, around 2 billion people globally shopped on the internet — that is about one in 4 people today. ‘Field of Gold’, which was one particular of the tracks on that Sting CD that started off it all, beautifully summarizes the journey’s riches that ecommerce has accumulated since its unforgettable commence.

Initial Smartphone

communication 6605648 1920The smartphone delivers the planet of electronic info appropriate to our fingertips, and it’s challenging to picture dwelling without having one particular. These days, 85% of adults in the United States possess a smartphone. But the path to the smartphone began with a two-pound handheld cellphone regarded as “the Brick.” In 1984, Motorola introduced the first handheld transportable mobile phone, the DynaTAC 8000X, which value virtually $4,000 and had a battery lifestyle of just 30 minutes.

Anything have to have been in the water in August 1994, as like e-commerce, that was the stunning begin for the smartphone. On August 16 of that calendar year, IBM launched the Simon Particular Communicator to the market place. Even though the term “smartphone” didn’t arrive into existence right until a yr later, Simon experienced a lot of of the functions of a genuine smartphone, such as developed-in purposes like an address reserve, calendar, calculator, and notepad. It even had a touchscreen, though it expected a stylus.

The value of that authentic Simon smartphone is not far too different price tag from the selling price of an Iphone today. IBM priced Simon at $899 with a services agreement ($1,435 in today’s bucks. The unique Simon was on the marketplace for six months and only 50,000 units were being marketed.

Fast ahead to 2007 when the Apple Apple iphone emerged and the globe was without end transformed. In quite a few of my international displays and articles or blog posts, I title the smartphone as the third megatrend that remodeled retail.

Right now, the complete globe has been educated to stare at that smartphone display screen.


In 2021, just the major 5 largest smartphone markets crossed around 2 billion models in complete utilization.

Initial Robotic

david 7017729 1920“The word “robot” was coined in 1920 by the Czech playwright Karel Capek. In “R.U.R.” (“Rossum’s Common Robots”) Capek imagined synthetic, totally useful servants.”

The 1st industrial robotic was the Unimate, made in the 1950s by Joseph Engelberger and George Devol. The unique objective of these early prototypes was to execute tasks that would hurt humans.

In 1959, a Unimate prototype was mounted on a Typical Motors assembly line to shift sizzling pieces of steel. The introduction of robots in the manufacturing approach led Standard Motors to turn out to be the most automated automotive plant in the earth. Robots could establish 110 automobiles for each hour, much more than two times as rapidly as any other automotive plant at the time.

The world current market for industrial robots was $43.8 billion USD in 2021. The market is predicted to grow at a compound-annual-growth fee (CAGR) of all around 10%, reaching practically $71 billion USD by 2028.

In the retail field, the robots are now also accelerating their invasion. A person in four shops are now operating on a robotic challenge and 47% report that they will be functioning on an instore robotic task in the following 18 months.


The pandemic raised the profile of robotic automation in warehouses and shops. Sixty-3 of merchants say the pandemic amplified robotics’ value for use in warehouses and 42% see larger worth in outlets coming.  Robots and other autonomous systems are feeding the drive to contactless commerce that has been underway for some time.

E-commerce and smartphones have drastically modified the worlds. Much more robots are coming to do the exact.