Why businesses need to be tech-ready in the digital economy

Are you ready for the latest tech trends in your industry? First, you’ll need an infrastructure with a dedicated fibre optic network that can meet the demands of emerging technologies. Next? Well, that all depends – being competitive means something different for every industry!

For banks and enterprise retail, readiness means rethinking business models to meet the expectations of today's tech-savvy consumer. As for the hospitality industry, tech trends are all about adding smart controls. The agriculture and the oil and gas industries are investing in Internet of Things (IoT) technologies like automation and advanced sensors. Keep reading to learn more about developments in each sector.

Banks take platform approach

According to Gartner, by 2019, 25% of retail banks will be working with startups to deliver services to their customers. Since banks now compete with the payment systems developed by tech firms like Apple and Google, they need to adopt a platform approach that consumers have come to expect. This means offering customers a suite of financial services through one dashboard or platform. Rather than developing technology platforms themselves, many banks have formed partnerships with FinTech start-ups.

Offerings from FinTechs are varied – from apps that facilitate mobile payments to those that help users find neighbourhoods to invest in (instead of funds or stocks). Investopedia lists 10 start-ups worth watching this year, including one backed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. Six Canadian firms, like Wealthsimple Financial Inc. and Montreal-based North Side Inc., ranked in the world’s top 100 emerging FinTechs.

Enterprise retail and the omnichannel customer

The omnichannel customer shops on their PC, tablet, and phone; as well as in bricks and mortar stores. This customer wants everything to be available when they want it and how they want it. To stay competitive, enterprise retailers need to integrate mobile, online and physical locations to provide customers with a seamless experience.

Let's look at how this might work for a car dealership: Jim visits a dealership website on his home PC. Using data he provides in an online form, the dealership emails suggestions to Jim. Jim reads the email on his phone, selecting the links to cars he likes. When he arrives at the dealership’s lot, Jim’s phone sends his preferences to sales staff who can arrange his test drive before he has even entered the building.

Smart controls in hospitality

Today's smart hotelier is investing in smart technology that offers guests control over their surroundings. Now guests in select hotels can use their smartphones to unlock their room door, control temperature, access entertainment and order room service. Control4, a popular smart room vendor, offers a remote that can control drapes, schedule wake-up scenes, and request valet service. reports that chains like Marriott are experimenting with beacon technology “which allows for two-way communication between small electronic beacons placed around a hotel property and guests' smartphones.” Patrons standing near a beacon might be lucky enough to find a discount for a spa service or a restaurant meal sent directly to their smartphone.

Agriculture and automation

In agriculture, opportunities for automation are on the rise. The Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney has developed robots that perform functions such as the precise application of herbicides or fertilizers, harvesting vegetables, and monitoring fields.

Robots used for agriculture today include the SW 6010, which picks strawberries, and the Rosphere, a robotic ball that collects data from the soil. Both of these robots were developed in Spain.

An automated lettuce farm in which every task except initial planting will be performed by a robot will open in Japan next year. In the works are sensors worn by cows, which can text the farmers when they are going into labour or fall ill, animal- and weed-watching drones and agribots (similar to driver-less cars) that weed and fertilize crops.

Oil and gas invests in fibre optic sensors   

Pipeline monitoring regulations are becoming more demanding. Fortunately, sensor technology has improved tremendously. One of the most exciting developments is distributed fibre optic monitoring. This term describes the use of fibre optic cable along the entire length of a pipeline to provide real-time monitoring. These systems keep tabs on temperature and strain, and they detect leaks and intrusions, giving operators a complete picture of pipeline health. Other monitoring applications include airborne and underwater drones that do similar things.

While the technology trend in each industry is different, one fact remains: every industry needs to be tech-ready to stay competitive. Whether you plan to add smart features to your services, develop tech partnerships or leverage IoT technology, you need a network that can meet the demands of tomorrow.

For more information on our fibre connectivity solutions, contact your Axia salesperson at or 1-866-773-3348.