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


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Component 2: E-Commerce, Smartphones, and Robots

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly accelerated the adoption of technologies in small business, enabling firms to enhance their functions and meet up with modifying customer expectations. In Part 1 of this write-up collection, we mentioned the origin and achievement of department shops, supermarkets, and the retail bar code.

Let’s go on this exploration of the previous to learn the achievements of the future. In Portion 2, we assessment e-commerce, smartphones, and robots. Now ubiquitous in our life, how did they get their start out and what can we hope in the long run?

First Product Procured On the web

cyber monday 3870916 1920Occasionally it appears to be challenging to believe that there was a time right before on the net purchasing. Today, we can order essentially nearly anything, from guides and housewares to groceries and cleaning supplies, to be shipped appropriate to our doorway in just a number of days. That benefit has certainly paid off, but how accurately did we get right here.

As with other rising technologies, one can discussion the origin of e-commerce. Candidates involve a pizza, weed, a CD, or laptop or computer pieces.

The to start with true on the internet transaction that involved information encryption software to mail a credit score card securely took position in August 11, 1994 on a site named NetMarket. On that now unforgettable day, Dan Kohn offered a CD of Sting’s ‘Ten Summoner’s Tales’ to a mate for $12.48 additionally shipping and delivery.

As soon as the internet could be made use of as a secure purchasing channel, on-line shopping’s results was unavoidable. In 1995, and eBay introduced their on line shopping platforms, soon followed by Rakuten in Japan and Alibaba in China.

A 10 years ago, e-commerce manufactured up only 8% of complete retail product sales in the United States. The pandemic, as with most digital technologies, grew to become a big expansion accelerator for e-commerce. In accordance to McKinsey, COVID-19 compressed 10 decades of e-commerce adoption into a few months.

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


E-commerce will proceed to increase double digit crossing $6 trillion all over the world by 2023. China has by much the major retail ecommerce current market, representing 52.1% of overall around the world income. Usa is next but at only at 19%.

As of 2021, more than 2 billion people throughout the world shopped on the net — that is about a single in 4 men and women. ‘Field of Gold’, which was a person of the tracks on that Sting CD that begun it all, perfectly summarizes the journey’s riches that ecommerce has accrued considering that its unforgettable begin.

First Smartphone

communication 6605648 1920The smartphone delivers the world of electronic information and facts right to our fingertips, and it’s tough to envision residing without a person. Currently, 85% of older people in the United States own a smartphone. But the path to the smartphone begun with a two-pound handheld cell phone recognized as “the Brick.” In 1984, Motorola produced the first handheld moveable cellphone, the DynaTAC 8000X, which charge virtually $4,000 and had a battery lifetime of just 30 minutes.

A little something ought to have been in the drinking water in August 1994, as like e-commerce, that was the stunning begin for the smartphone. On August 16 of that yr, IBM unveiled the Simon Personal Communicator to the marketplace. Whilst the time period “smartphone” didn’t come into existence right until a 12 months later on, Simon experienced numerous of the attributes of a genuine smartphone, this kind of as designed-in apps like an address ebook, calendar, calculator, and notepad. It even experienced a touchscreen, though it needed a stylus.

The cost of that initial Simon smartphone is not much too different rate from the selling price of an Apple iphone these days. IBM priced Simon at $899 with a service contract ($1,435 in today’s bucks. The primary Simon was on the market place for six months and only 50,000 models have been sold.

Speedy forward to 2007 when the Apple Apple iphone emerged and the planet was eternally improved. In several of my world wide displays and posts, I identify the smartphone as the 3rd megatrend that reworked retail.

These days, the total globe has been experienced to stare at that smartphone monitor.


In 2021, just the major 5 most significant smartphone markets crossed about 2 billion models in whole utilization.

To start with Robotic

david 7017729 1920“The phrase “robot” was coined in 1920 by the Czech playwright Karel Capek. In “R.U.R.” (“Rossum’s Common Robots”) Capek imagined artificial, absolutely purposeful servants.”

The very first industrial robot was the Unimate, produced in the 1950s by Joseph Engelberger and George Devol. The unique objective of these early prototypes was to carry out tasks that would harm human beings.

In 1959, a Unimate prototype was put in on a Typical Motors assembly line to go scorching parts of metal. The introduction of robots in the manufacturing procedure led Standard Motors to develop into the most automatic automotive plant in the world. Robots could build 110 cars and trucks for every hour, additional than twice as quick as any other automotive plant at the time.

The international sector for industrial robots was $43.8 billion USD in 2021. The market is envisioned to expand at a compound-annual-growth fee (CAGR) of around 10%, reaching virtually $71 billion USD by 2028.

In the retail business, the robots are now also accelerating their invasion. One particular in four vendors are now performing on a robotic undertaking and 47% report that they will be doing work on an instore robotic task in the next 18 months.


The pandemic lifted the profile of robotic automation in warehouses and shops. Sixty-three of shops say the pandemic amplified robotics’ great importance for use in warehouses and 42% see bigger great importance in merchants coming.  Robots and other autonomous technologies are feeding the push to contactless commerce that has been underway for some time.

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


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