Technology solutions: where to from here?
Technology has propelled humankind into a fascinating future, but are we creating technology solutions to solve problems that really matter? In this two-part series, we explore a brief history of how technology made its impact in our lives, ask other important questions, and share what’s next on the horizon for TuYu.
The wheel is undoubtedly one of mankind’s most impressive inventions. Sources place its first appearance in 3500 BC in ancient Mesopotamia, and some argue that it was a late discovery of the Bronze Age. What is certain is that it is an inescapable part of our history and life as we know it.
We’ve come far with the wheel, trading wagons for petrol automobiles and motorcycles, and more recently electric vehicles, and one can’t help but wonder if we’ll see flying cars next?
Not all inventions are as rewarding as the wheel. There’s the worst of the worst, like chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, harmful chemical compounds that were used in refrigeration units and aerosol cans; chemicals so destructive that they pollute our atmosphere for up to 100 years.
There have also been less useful inventions like the CueCat, a cat-shaped bar-code scanner designed and developed in the hopes that people would use them to scan specifically-marked bar codes to visit websites, or electronically modifying the sound of a potato chip to make people believe it to be fresher and crispier than it really is.
More pressing technology conversations are taking place today. Artificial Intelligence has been a topic few can escape. For some, it’s a scary prospect and the idea of a future akin to a post-apocalyptic feature film where robots have taken over, comes to mind.
Among those warning about the impact of AI in our lives is billionaire Elon Musk. Musk’s position is that we need to be very careful about AI because we’re “summoning the demon”.
Is Musk wrong? Are his concerns misplaced? Maybe. Maybe not. Facebook recently made headlines when its AI developed a unique language, one that human humans couldn’t understand. Forbes Magazine went as far as to dub the incident a “creepy preview of our potential future”.
In North America and Europe, the trucking industry is set to be disrupted by technology. Soon, self-driving trucks will be introduced and the impact will be devastating. In North America alone, the industry is made of three million full-time drivers, and while safer roads due to self-driving trucks is a valid argument, what will happen to the three million jobs and those who depend on truck drivers?
Back home in the mobile payments space, things are less ominous. We’ve seen some of the most exciting growth and innovation over the last five years. Practical technology solutions like Snapscan’s partnership with Street Parking Solutions (SPS) to offer Capetonians a more convenient way to pay for on-street parking, Zapper’s growth to accommodate mobile payments for restaurant receipts, bills, ecommerce and donations, and ParkFind’s parking application that helps you find parking in Cape Town and pay for it are all great examples of how mobile payment technology solutions can be used to solve real problems.
When we opened our doors in 2013, we set out to solve a challenge that every business deals with: how to reward people (consumers and employees) for performing certain behaviours? Since then, we’ve had the privilege of being able to help businesses across South Africa quickly and easily reward people, in turn increasing revenue.
Our mobile applications for Apple and Android devices have received thousands of downloads, and our users have shown their appreciation for mobile cash rewards by using them faster than competitive solutions like gift cards.
All the success we’ve had has given us the opportunity to widen our solutions offering. We’re now looking at other complex challenges that South Africans deal with, challenges that we’re in a unique position to solve with mobile technology.
In our next blog post, we’ll share one such challenge and how we’re working to solve it.
Until then, what do you think about where technology is going? What problems are the most pressing and should be addressed by technology?
Call us on 021 812 1495 for help on setting up your consumer or employee mobile cash rewards program.