Here, right before our very eyes is a classic example of how technology eats it’s own.
A brief skip down memory lane would tell you that Walmart grew exponentially large and fast because they were the first to apply One’s and Zero’s to every aspect of their supply chain. What most people don’t know is ‘how’ Walmart got those ‘low prices’. They cut out every scrap of paper and automated their distribution systems. This meant from the orders they sent their suppliers, to the fact when your purchase is scanned, one is set up to replace it in a warehouse somewhere near by.
One other little factoid you can thank Walmart for. That WiFi you are reading this blog post over was recognized by Walmart as a way lower the cost of ‘wiring’ a building for transacting data INTO their networks. They adopted the 802.11 spread spectrum radio that was both secure and low cost. Now their associates could do manual inventories faster, with less loss and miscounts. They started a revolution that plowed traditional retailers into the ground.
For all the woes you hear about Walmart, they employ over 1 million Americans. Better, they employ some of the best and brightest people when it comes to IT. But now, even Walmart is threatened by the news above.
Who caused it? Steve Jobs and Ronald Reagan.
Whoa. How’s that Van Horn? After a Korean airliner was shot down by the Soviets because it strayed into their air space due to the technology of the day, Reagan learned it wouldn’t have happened if they were able to use our Global Positioning System Satellites. He opened it up to commercial and civilian use so that type of thing would never happen again. This gave rise to being able to ‘track’ a device moving through three ‘Cellular Towers’ and the ability to ‘hand off’ to the next Cell.
Cell phones started off using analog wave forms and rapidly moved to digital. As soon as One’s and Zero’s were able to be used reliably, the only thing in the way was opening up enough ‘bandwidth’ to shove your song from Pandora through while you drive to work.
Steve Jobs came along and envisioned a device that rode on this digital highway. The iPhone would allow you use a variety of tools that you now find ‘critical’ to your daily life and ‘also’ be your phone. Everything from guiding you to a new location, to finding a new dating partner in the grocery store you’re shopping in. But along came ‘business’…. and this is where the article is headed.
Now that there are MILLIONS of these devices out there, Uber came along and created an APP…. that creates an income. It allows people who have a car that isn’t being used, to take some one who doesn’t have a car, or who can’t drive, some place, for less money, more conveniently, or in a better vehicle than what local cabs can provide. This is a COMPLETELY novel use of the technology.
Enter Amazon. Amazon like Walmart is constantly looking to drive ‘cost’ out of their operation while improving service to the customer in a way that adds up to ‘value’. So Amazon is now harnessing the power of an Uber like ‘job app’ where individuals use their own vehicle to deliver small packages from an Amazon warehouse around a city. This is huge.
This is disruption at its best. Stay tuned. If you aren’t disrupting…. some one is going to be disrupting you. Have a great day and thanks for reading.