The Rise of Technology – Chris Wahler

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  Posted by: The Probe      7th February 2018

Technology has radically changed the way that we live and work. We lead tech-dependent lifestyles surrounded by computers, screens and Wi-Fi enabled gadgets, which seem to develop and advance almost every week. Most people are now very familiar with internet connected ‘Smart’ equipment around the home such as televisions and other multi-media devices. But now, many appliance manufacturers have developed dedicated ‘smart home’ platforms to enable users to remotely operate things like thermostats, locks, lights, ovens, washers, dryers and robotic cleaners. In fact, there is even a ‘smart’ fridge with a camera so that you can take a peek inside using a smartphone, to see what you need to buy for dinner!

Statisticians predict the technology field will expand exponentially as the demand for state of the art technology and products continues to rise. Furthermore, more businesses are able to adopt new technology, and currently in the UK there are millions of telecommuters or people that work remotely. Connectivity such as 4G and Wi-Fi means that employees can communicate quickly and easily, access documents and stay in touch with smart devices wherever they are. A recent report revealed that the influence of emails, business software and mobile phones has lead to an 84% increase in productivity per hour for office workers, since the 1970s.[1]

Although some may say that all this blurs the lines of the work/life balance, it seems that new technology is driving productivity and growth and companies are benefiting from increased rates of motivation, loyalty and staff retention. Employees too are enjoying this flexibility and stress levels are significantly lower for those that no longer have to travel long distances or try to juggle their work with personal commitments.

For obvious reasons, it is not possible for dental professionals to work from home. And, some would say that they are the lucky ones. Certainly, there is a growing concern that the technological advancements of recent decades have produced a displacement of workers similar to the effects brought about by machinery in the Industrial Revolution. Statistics say that machines will occupy 47 per cent of all employment opportunities within the next two decades[2] and some areas of the workforce may be downsized as skills sets become obsolete. However, robotic process automation (RPA) and digital systems have revolutionised many workflow processes and a great many workers have been removed from mundane, repetitive tasks. Added to this, production rates, quality and consistency have also improved considerably.

Another aspect is that there is now an increased demand for technology experts, computer software designers and programmers as well as people to curate and customise datasets to keep all this equipment running and operating efficiently. According to an Economist, Bavaria in Germany has one of the highest levels of technification and robotisation in the world, yet there is just 2.6% unemployment.[3] Equally, humans are the most productive at occupations that require them to regularly interact with other humans and we live in a man-made world where it is unlikely that we would let technology or anything else turn us into subordinate citizens.

Interestingly, the rise of technology has also resulted in the growing popularity and resurgence of handcrafted production. Handmade objects have long been looked at with superiority and associated with a skill that has a direct link to another human being, along with emotions attached. This tends to make handcrafted items significantly more attractive and it has been observed that consumers are willing to pay more for a handmade product rather than a mass produced or ‘off the peg’ item. Furthermore, there is nothing better than the delicate touch of the human hand when it comes to intricate detail, which is what sets these items apart and adds value in terms of quality and integrity.

This is the reason why a large proportion of companies have the desire to retain that ‘personal touch’ with their customers. Although there is, of course, a place for automated processes, it is possible to maintain some handcrafted elements in manufacturing processes in order to extend additional care, quality and value. One company that understands this is Unigloves. As a market leader in the field of single use gloves, Unigloves uses smart technology with online and offline manufacturing processes but it does not underestimate the human touch and incorporates handcrafted elements into the washing, inverting, inspecting and packing its gloves. Due to cost pressures and competition, some manufacturers do not retain any hand finishing techniques and only use fully automated methods. However, Unigloves has specifically developed the Vitality range for dental professionals and believes that the high standards and extra care it employs to produce these premium gloves, with built-in moisturisers, pays dividends in terms of safety and quality.

A robot or an app cannot substitute the skills of a dental professional and your occupation is likely to remain secure for many years to come. Nevertheless, it is important to remain up to date with technological developments and the ‘smart’ thing to do is to look for technology and products that have been tried, tested and produced to work for you and with you, so that you can continue to provide high quality modern dental care.

 

For further information about Unigloves products, please visit www.unigloves.co.uk

 

 

[1] Report by O2 Business and the Centre for Economic and Business Research. ‘Technology leads to 84pc increase in office productivity’ in Technology News. The Telegraph. 12th November 2017. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10396263/Technology-leads-to-84pc-increase-in-office-productivity.html [Accessed 20th November 2017]

[2]  Aaron Smith. Public Predictions for the Future of Workforce Automation. Pew Research Center. Internet and Technology. http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/03/10/public-predictions-for-the-future-of-workforce-automation/ [Accessed 20th November 2017]

[3] Daniel Lacalle. Face It, Technology Does Not Destroy Jobs. 1st March 2017. http://www.dlacalle.com/face-it-technology-does-not-destroy-jobs/ [Accessed 20th November 207]

 


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