Of transitions and transformations: The decade of technology

Omkar Paranjape
Sunday, 29 December 2019

While the new millennium altered many things, it was the last decade that saw major changes in many fields. The catalyst was of course the new technologies. We look at the major upheavals in food, social media, literature and entertainment

Technology is one of the fields which saw major advancement in the last decade. While many technologies became obsolete, many new were introduced. India took to technology in a big way which made tasks easier and also helped solve some of their problems. 

We take a look at three key technological developments of the decade...

ONLINE RETAIL
This decade has experienced a boom in online retail sector. As more and more customers realised the ease of online shopping and started ordering stuff from international websites, established Indian retail brands decided to go online too. Realising that they would go out of business if they didn’t have an online presence, small traders chose the same path too.

The millennials, who believe in the ‘shop till you drop’ mantra, are tech-savvy consumers. They use smartphones (social media and the internet) to gather information about a product or a brand online before making any decision to purchase it. They consider online shopping fast, convenient and relatively cheaper with lots of offers.

According to Aditya Nair, CEO, Online Ventures India, growing digital awareness and the comfort associated with transacting online is the key reason why e-retail has thrived in India. “Right from internet banking to shopping and online trading, the digital platform has generally revolutionised the e-commerce sector in India. It is worth noting that it will acquire around 75 per cent market share in the next five years,” Nair predicts.

E-WALLETS
Not too long ago, people would queue up in front of bank ATMs to withdraw cash. But with the Central government first appealing for and then enforcing cashless transactions, Indian janata has willingly or unwillingly taken to it. You can do a range of cashless transactions through your smartphone be it purchasing bus, rail or airline tickets, groceries, apparel, beauty or home decor products.

It is quite hassle-free to link one’s bank accounts to e-wallets like Paytm, Mobikwik, Alipay, American Express, Apple pay, Microsoft Wallet, Google Pay or even the Government-sponsored BHIM. Additionally, all major banks have their own wallets too. Swanand Galgale, a History professor and a user believes that e-wallets and other online platforms are a boon. “In emergency cases, where one might not have ready cash at disposal, online payment modes, especially the wallets, are very convenient. Not just do they take care of the risk factor in carrying cash, but they are also universally accepted from a paan wallah, laundryman or barber. I personally use it at every opportunity, and it is easy to keep a check on your expenditure as you get the receipts as well,” he explains.

VOICE ASSISTANCE
Going on a bicycle-ride and losing your way is a common phenomenon but with the help of voice assistance on different systems like Android or iOS, you have a help, courtesy artificial intelligence. Certain technology in cars, as well as in retail, education, healthcare, and telecommunication sector, can be operated by voices. 

Siri by Apple became the first virtual assistant when the iPhone 4s came out in 2011. Later, Google introduced Google Assistant and recently Amazon brought Alexa. Voice assistants don’t really ‘understand’ what you’re saying — they just listen for their wake word and begin communicating with a server to complete a task. There is also Natural Language Processing (NLP), which is a form of artificial intelligence that helps technology interpret human language.

This is only a part of what technology has done for us in the last decade. It has helped improve our life, economy, education, and so on. Now, the onus is on us to use it wisely.

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