As part of our Crossing the Chasm series (download the report here), we’ve been looking at how digital ordering technology has developed and been adopted by the food and hospitality markets. Our industry report looks at the journey and progress in detail, but in this article, we’re looking at the democratisation of technology and how it contributes to broader technology success.
The democratisation of technology refers to the process by which technology becomes more accessible for end users. It’s an important occurrence because it allows for follow-on technologies to be improved. It also empowers people without a technological background to make use of and have a greater relationship with the relevant products and services. Through the democratisation of technology, end users have the opportunity, not only to purchase or subscribe to said solutions, but to do so without paying extortionate fees. What’s more, they can begin to feedback on the technology en masse, playing a meaningful role in the further development of the product.
That digital ordering has been able to develop and travel along the adoption curve is possible because of the broad democratisation of technology. AI and cloud computing have played big roles in allowing developers and their employers to scale processes and build faster than ever while also reducing the costs of hardware and infrastructure. Their impact is huge. Because of the technological feats they’ve enabled, digital transformations are sped up and challenges which may have existed for years, have been tackled.
In terms of digital ordering specifically, the emergence of company branded websites may be seen as the catalyst for innovation to occur. Once teamed with the launch of Android and iOS and the associated growing smartphone market, developers saw the opportunity the mobile market held, and democratisation in this area really began. Disruption then occurred with the introduction of companies such as Just Eat and Doordash; this opened the doors and minds of people to internet-based ordering, and from there, other options and opportunities grew.
As alluded to, democratisation drives down the price of technology investments. Much like in the consumer world, where customers wait for the 2nd or 3rd generation of a product to make their purchase – hoping for a better technology at a lower price – continuous innovation leads to lower CapEx for businesses. When a supplier faces rivalry from external products, they are pushed to enhance their service, develop their technology and keep to a competitive price point. This is technology, not only making the lives of customers easier, but helping the businesses providing the service more efficient and profitable.
For consumers digital ordering has been shown to improve the experience of guests in a restaurant, bar or other hospitality setting. For businesses, it makes service and kitchen management more efficient and leads to greater revenue. It’s a complete experiential and operational upgrade. We are even reaching a point now that, for companies which don’t take the leap into digital ordering, the future is murky. Consumers will soon expect digital service to come as standard and will baulk at brands where it is not.
Returning to the wider topic of technology democratisation, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the process can change lives for the better, creating opportunities that may not have been imagined before. It makes the unachievable, achievable. We are living in a time of technological transformation. With IoT and AI, voice-control and automation/robotics propelling technologies – including digital ordering – forward at an incredible rate, we can only imagine where the world will be ten years from now. Still, change won’t happen overnight, and it’s ok for businesses to move carefully – as long as they do move.
There’s a paragraph, within a Forbes article on the topic which seems to sum up the democratisation of digital ordering technology perfectly.
When technology is created by people and for people, its higher-order purpose is not to just improve business performance; it must improve people’s lives. It must help create a world in which people thrive. Where human intellect takes flight.
We couldn’t agree more.