Technologies are advancing at such a rapid speed that it’s no surprise recent science fiction movies don’t seem fictional anymore. The landscape is filled with increasingly affordable technologies and our worldwide stock exchanges dominated by tech companies.
With almost 80% of the US, UK and Australian population now online, businesses operating in the window and door industry will gain a competitive advantage by embracing emerging technologies. But which of the many coming out do you take seriously?
Drones & autonomous trucks
Ok it’s a stretch for this year, but drones and self-driving vehicles can significantly impact how you conduct onsite quotes, manufacture, deliver and install products. Imagine a customer submitting an online quote request, one of your drones is automatically deployed to perform a site measure, returning data instantly to you and your customer. Once the order is placed, a drone or self-driving vehicle is deployed with the goods ready for installation.
Virtual or augmented reality
In other industries, virtual reality (VR) has applications today for product design and testing. For our industry, it would be great to be able to showcase a new product to customers, so they can see how it performs and get agreement before the product is built. Add a VR golf simulator in the office and you’ll also have some very happy staff and customers.
Around ninety percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. Our current output of data is roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes a day. That data translates to a lot of information, with big players like Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and the like spending over $15 billion in this space – it’s worth paying attention to.
Large businesses have been using big data to drive decisions for years, however the availability of data sets and the tools to process and analysis data are the development areas now making this available to you. Predicting trends and making important business decisions will be driven by software
Machine learning, artificial intelligence and alike
I’m grouping these together because for business operators it comes down to different ways of automating processes in the business. You will see the impacts in the form of commercialized and easy to use software and machinery. Behind names and acronyms there are some sound business principles and opportunities supporting these developing areas.
You may be using, or considering, a first-generation automation technology for your business, think CNC machines, modern extrusion presses, software applications. Be on the lookout for emerging technologies that can delivery efficiencies for sales, marketing, manufacturing, scheduling, HR, finance and just about everything else in your business.
Checking out Agent.ai and see how this emerging technology is automating customer support.
Smart home technology is an established market with great applications and benefits. Make sure your products are compatible with emerging smart home technologies or provide your products with or as part of a smart package to customers.
New business models
Technology and increased competition are driving companies to consider new business models and pricing strategies. Increasingly we are seeing businesses offering customers a monthly subscription instead of large once off up upfront fees. For example, you could provide a product, installation, maintenance and period upgrades to your customers under a fixed monthly subscription model.
New models and ways of thinking will reduce the barriers for customers doing business with you and help create new and reoccurring revenue streams for your business. For inspiration look to the other industries, for example software industry and leasing software platforms.
New and creative business partnership models are also being enabled by technology. Be it competitors reselling one another’s solutions to broaden their market offering, access to new international suppliers and/or better access to reseller networks who can distribute your goods. Online industry publications and networking events are a great starting point for identifying new partnership opportunities.
Think outside the box to get more windows out the door.
Although being prominent in other industries, a very small number of companies in the window and door industry are selling their products through online stores.
If you have simple prefabricated products, a WooCommerce or Shopify website gives you an easy way to sell online. If your fenestration products and processes are more complicated, then you should be speaking to Soft Tech about how we can help get you selling online.
Bitcoin investors rejoice, although I remain a sceptic. With over $50 billion in digital currency exchanged by Coinbase alone, this is a very fast-moving space. As major cryptocurrencies move out of the dark shadows of the web towards mainstream investment vehicles, they now have potential to become a mainstream currency.
With everything from houses to basic commodities being traded through cryptocurrencies, supporting trade in these currencies for your customers and suppliers may not only become a competitive edge or marketing ploy, but an expectation. Check out Bitcoin Pay and Bitpay for examples of Bitcoin platforms available today. At least start to consider how you would adopt this technology within your business.
That’s a wrap
I have covered some of the most applicable red hot technologies for the window and door industry. There are many other areas with significant R&D being poured into them but start with these and see what works best for your business and where you are at. Leverage these exciting and productive areas of technology in your business today and stand out in the market.