Digital technologies continue to transform the way we conduct business, encompassing an ever-evolving suite of tools that can be harnessed to enhance and optimise operations, and the arboriculture sector is no exception.
For business owners, it is important to keep up to speed with the latest technology developments, and as digital technologies continue to progress and become increasingly prevalent, businesses that are able to adapt will have an advantage over less flexible competitors.
From mobile technologies to the IoT (Internet of Things), the following is a look at some of the technologies that are fundamentally changing the way we work.
Mobile Technology: Keeping Connected And Informed
The now ubiquitous smartphone is a logical starting point in this list of technologies, with touchscreen mobile devices having become a critical component of business operations across a range of sectors, from the office through to the field, keeping us connected and informed.
From communicating with clients, employees and co-workers, to both accessing and sharing information online, to taking photos and filming video, smartphones have become a hub for an ever-evolving range of functions. Meanwhile, smartphones are being harnessed to deliver increasingly business-specific applications – take, for example, Adelaide-based equipment supplier Tree Care Machinery’s (TCM) efforts to develop an app providing insight into machine operations and a range of safety benefits.
As outlined in the previous issue of AA, this has led to TCM becoming involved in the federal government’s Small Business Digital Champions Project, with TCM Managing Director Shane Cavanagh observing that “businesses that choose to ignore digital technologies will not survive”.
Cloud Computing: Keeping Up To Date While On The Go
Cloud computing goes hand-in-hand with mobile technology, providing for on-the-go access to a range of online services, from simple storage of information to interactive software designed to manage and streamline workflows.
Software applications are no longer bound by the limitations of local computing infrastructure, and in the arboriculture industry, with workers potentially spread far and wide across different projects, the benefits can be multifold.
For businesses that are seeking to keep track of multiple jobs, it may be possible to catalogue each job or project, maintaining a historical account of work previously undertaken, regularly updating and detailing the work that is being undertaken, and scheduling future work.
Of course, with all of this information accessible via smartphone, workers can potentially access and update project details while in the field in real time, if required.
IoT: Keeping Tabs On Machine Performance And Operations
The IoT comprises an ever-expanding network of connected devices that collect and share data, providing enhanced insight into different aspects of machine performance and allowing for remote monitoring of operations.
Putting the scale of the IoT into context, the International Data Corporation (IDC) forecast last year that there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices, generating 79.4 ZB of data, in 2025, with this bringing into play a range of opportunities for industry.
In the industrial and automotive category, the IDC expects that, along with an increasing number of connected “things”, more advanced sensors will be deployed, providing further insight into machine functions.
In the arboriculture industry, IoT applications can potentially be utilised across a range of functions, including pinpointing the location of equipment, and monitoring machine health and efficiency, helping to improve productivity and determine when maintenance needs to be undertaken.