Monthly Archives: March 2018

Digital Disruption: 5 jobs that may soon become Obsolete

Опубликовано: March 29, 2018 в 11:47


Категории: Insights

Once upon a time, there lived lamplighters, telephone switchboard operators, and human computers. All of a sudden (over many years) advances in technology happened, the digital age had arrived – causing the need for these roles to disappear, and the people behind them forced to retrain. Join us as we look at 5 jobs that may one day no longer exist.

1. Farmers
The role of a farmer has traditionally included the work of planting crops, harvesting, weeding, pest control, measuring land, and tending to animals. Today, almost every aspect of the job can be done either semi-autonomously or autonomously by machines. Cultivators survey land dimensions using satellite images, pesticides & fertilisers are administered using drones, whilst harvesting and weeding can be done by self-driving farm equipment. In countries where human labour is expensive farms will most likely be managed by a small number of highly trained people who operate machinery from the comfort of their offices. For livestock, and cattle specifically,  automatic milking systems are already in use and becoming increasingly popular.

Companies like Techno Farm in Kyoto, Japan are redefining the way farming has been traditionally done with indoor automated vertical farms, with minimal cost, space and human input.

2. Bank tellers
Unless you’re doing something significant like buying a house, there is now almost nothing that can’t be done online, or with your smartphone. Just as ATM’s have replaced the first wave of banking jobs, it is likely that many of the remaining human based teller jobs will be taken over by digital interfaces with integrated AI. Machines will be able to approve bank loans, and even open accounts, faster and cheaper than their human counterparts with less chance of errors or fraud.

3. Travel agents

When last did you visit a travel agent? Unless you’re working for a large company, or have clients with very specific travel requirements, gone are the days when the travel agent could find you a great deal on a flight, an exclusive hotel offer, then send you off equipped with maps and brochures. The launch of websites like Skyscanner,, and Airbnb, means that for almost no cost at all you can become your own travel agent, and all from the comfort of your living room.

4. Media: Printers, Publishers and Music Salespeople
Though many may prefer printed books and news, one of the hallmarks of this digital age is that is that almost all literature and media is available electronically. Information has become free. The emergence of platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have all been the catalyst for the monumental pace at which we consume information and the decline of traditional media. Specifically, the Amazon subscription model, has led to a decline in the amount of people willing to pay for books, newspapers or CD’s. This, as well as free services like Craigslist in America have also had a significant effect on revenue raised from advertising.

5. Manufacturing/ Factory Workers
Just like in the industrial revolution, the digital age again has found ways to make these jobs more efficient. Especially in the case of simple or repetitive jobs, which can simply be engineered & programmed for robotic execution. For example back in 2016 Foxconn, who famously manufactures for Apple and Samsung amongst others, announced that they were replacing 60,000 of their employees with robots . Naturally, other companies such as Changying Precision Technology, have since followed suit and have reported significant benefits from doing so.

Looking Ahead
There’s no question that automation is creeping into almost every industry, and in ways we could never previously have imagined. While some remain fearful about what this means for them, one of the key strengths that humans have always had is our ability to evolve, to adapt to change. The days when a person trained for a job and stuck to it for life are over. For today’s generation of students, workers, and job seekers developing a broad range of skills and competencies is the best way to future-proof for the changes still to come.

WhatsApp and WeChat – Changing the way We Do Business?

Опубликовано: March 16, 2018 в 10:35


Категории: Insights

‘Social messaging apps’ are applications and platforms that enable instant messaging, many of which started around social networking platforms. If you  live in the Western Hemisphere there is a high chance that you or someone you know uses  ‘WhatsApp’ heavily as a major communication tool. If you live in the East and more specifically China for example, there’s a possibility that you may not have even heard of WhatsApp, but you will certainly be familiar with the app ‘WeChat’ as a communication tool.

At the start of this year, WhatsApp announced the rollout of a version specifically for businesses; WeChat on the other hand has already gained a significant lead over WhatsApp in terms of business use & integration with commerce.

Let’s deconstruct both of these applications and explore how these platforms have risen to impact the way we conduct business.

WhatsApp and WeChat in Numbers

WhatsApp, launched in 2009 was acquired by Facebook in 2014. According to Statista, WhatsApp currently has more than 1.5 billion monthly active users globally making it the current most popular mobile messaging app worldwide. A survey taken of 187 countries (using android data) showed that WhatsApp was the most popular messaging app in 109 of those countries.

WeChat was launched in 2011 by developers Tencent Holdings Limited, it currently has over 900 million active users globally, with 90% of this customer base being in China. The platform currently ranks third in the list of the world’s most popular messaging apps, (Facebook messenger being 2nd). The same survey  showed that WeChat was shown to hold the number one spot in only 3 countries, (admittedly one of those countries is China with a population of over 1.4 billion people).

Each Application has its key advantages

With WhatsApp you can use the internet to send messages, documents, images, audio, and short videos, the developers are even piloting a payment service in India. Live location sharing and group chats are also some of the most coveted features amongst users. There’s a desktop version available from the WhatsApp website. The business version allows you to add a business profile, and access messaging statistics; undoubtedly, more pronounced differentiating features will be developed over time.

WeChat has become a one stop shop for everything. It’s known for its Mini Programs feature which incorporates many different functions and programs developed from Tencent and independent developers. In January 2018, WeChat announced a record of 580,000 mini-programs in its feature. It allows you to do everything that WhatsApp can, plus so much more, including, playing video games, or contacting strangers. Imagine WhatsApp, Tinder, Uber, your local bank, all merged together, and accessible via a single interface – this will only start to give you a picture of the endless WeChat universe. Both applications are available across multiple platforms.

The Business Implications of both Applications are Vast

  • Increased internal communication: Simpler, and faster that writing an e-mail.  The option to set up groups works well since most people already use the apps and don’t need to download any new software to stay connected.
  • Cost Control: Businesses find that using these muti-platform applications as an alternative to traditional mail, SMS or even Email campaigns cuts communication costs significantly.
  • The blurring of Personal & Professional Communication: The distinction between personal and professional communication has become increasingly vague as businesses communicate from behind ‘personal’ profiles. Users receive responses from businesses with increased informality, outside of traditional business hours and even using emojis.
  • An advantage for Micro-Enterprises: A local fruit and vegetable seller may easily send a group message to his regular customers showing his fresh new arrivals. Many start-ups use WhatsApp or WeChat as their main way to communicate with customers. It also provides an avenue for digital marketing.
  • New ways to pay: Opening up possibilities for new customers, and businesses to take payment or transfer money with less involvement from the banks than before.
  • Business Engagement:  WhatsApp and WeChat allow businesses to effortlessly engage their user base; soliciting feedback and providing beneficial information to users. Additionally, in the case of WeChat, customers are frequently asked to complete surveys and openly share their experiences.

Final thoughts

Apps like WhatsApp and WeChat are quickly becoming the norm in relation to business. Since they’re both already well accepted, businesses may soon need to consider them as essential tools in the fight to remain relevant and competitive.

Could digital doctors become our reality?

Опубликовано: March 7, 2018 в 17:24


Категории: Insights

Over the last few years we have seen significant advances in healthcare related products, channels and processes. The increase in wearable technology like heart monitors, or pedometers; the Apple watch for example, which allows wearers to track a range of health statistics. The ever-increasing amount of games that promise to improve your cognitive ability, or apps that can count your calories and offer nutritional advice. Not to mention expert surgeons being able to train others from all over the world, on how to perform complex operations using video streaming, with the option to ask questions (as was recently done in St. Anna hospital in Geldrop).

There is no question that digitalisation has already had a significant positive impact on healthcare, but this leads us to our next question: Will there ever come a time when we have no need for doctors?

The future

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA), recently inaugurated a smart pharmacy equipped with a robot for prescribing and dispensing medication to patrons. The robot dispenses the prescribed medication with a click of a button based on a bar code, saving time, and supposedly minimising any human error.

Depending on the field and specialism, acquiring knowledge plus gaining hands-on experience means that it can take anywhere between 9 and 12 years for a doctor to become fully qualified in their respective field. Currently General Practitioners (GPs) tend to have a broad knowledge base and can offer general advice. For more complex cases however, the GP would usually need to refer a patient to a specialist. Even though a specialist may have great depth in his or her field, he or she may not be able to provide the absolute best insight for every single patient’s condition.

With the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), we are equipped with the technology to have computers quickly cross reference and identify patterns that humans can’t. This would be unimaginable 30 or even 20 years ago. Partnered with electronic personal medical histories, and web-based software (much like the model employed by the company ‘Modernizing Medicine’), computers now and into the future will not only have the width of knowledge GP’s, but the depth of knowledge of a specialist (and beyond) across every field of medicine.


Of course, digitalisation is not without its risks, as captured in the book ‘The Digital Doctor’ by Robert Wachter. Wachter shares an anecdote about a teenager who ends up being given a massive overdose of antibiotics after a new electronic system in a hospital full of safeguards against errors, allowed a major error to occur. Therefore, we could infer that a major risk of digitalisation could be human’s overdependence on the technology. In addition to this, there is the risk that humans may rely on computers, even more than their own knowledge.

Not to mention that a computer can always be hacked.

 Could digital doctors become our reality?

While we agree that there is significant room for the expansion of digitalisation in healthcare, a fully autonomous digital doctor seems highly unlikely in the near future. Firstly because humans will always have a primary preference for human contact, especially in the vulnerability of sickness. Secondly, because humans are living organisms. As such, our bodies as well as the sicknesses which plague us are constantly evolving. Consider Smallpox for example which has had a significant impact on world history with the amount of lives it claimed, yet now eradicated. We will always need human doctors, at the very least to programme computers. And while we already have computer assisted surgery, we don’t yet have the technology for a computer to perform a whole surgical procedure without human intervention.


While we celebrate the and welcome the advances in technology surrounding healthcare, there will always be a need for human doctors. Perhaps as the use of A.I. in the medical field increases, the way doctors are trained will change. The time freed up by the use of A.I. could be spent learning how best to optimise the digital-medical partnership, as well as researching how to make the Cancers of today become the Smallpox of tomorrow. As suggested by the author Robert Wachter, computers should become servants rather than masters and do enough of the busywork freeing up doctor’s time, to do what only a person can do.