Identify, possible future developments in ICT and explain the impacts they might have on how we shop

ICT has changed our life a lot nowadays and it is still developing. From black and white number pad mobile phone to colour touch screen smart phone, from national map book to online portable map, from having a talk with a friend by visiting to simply sending a text message for a talk. All these changes show the rapid development has been made throughout the years. The most significant change on ICT probably is mobile phone. People used to have to carry a heavy landline phone with them when they go out, because it was the only communication device available to them.

As the technology slowly changing, human invented mobile phone which is a smaller, lighter size of a landline phone, and both have different telephone number to represent the characteristics. For example, we all know that mobile phone numbers always start with 07xxx xxxxx, and landline numbers always start with 012xxx xxxxx. This means each individual has their own mobile phone number if they got a mobile phone. This has quickly changed the trend of telephones; more and more people used mobile phone instead.

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Moving forward to the 90’s, people tried to invent lighter and smaller mobile phone so as to satisfied what people needed in those days, a lighter phone reduces travel weight and a smaller phone will help easy keeping it in their pocket. Until the late 90’s to the 20’s, people invented low colour pixels screen resolution mobile phones, which increased sales and level of interesting significantly. A 65dpi screen of a mobile phone was good enough in those days. Nowadays, mobile phones with bigger screen, thinner body, and lighter weight have become the trendiest devices.

Because of the dramatic changes of our mobile phones compared to the old days, phones with a touch screen is called a smart phone and the old style ones remain being called mobile phone. Recently, e-wallet function has been added to our handy mobile phones. It is an electronic wallet which is built in your smart phone, allowing payments being made easily and more convenient. A credit card has to be set up and connected with the mobile phone before starting, when everything has done, it is good to go.

People can pay with their mobile phone and don’t have to worry about leaving their wallets at home anymore. Apart from e-wallet, Passbook is a slightly similar to it. It is more likely a portable flight ticket and membership card. When people has online checked in for their flight, itinerary documents and boarding pass will usually be sent to them electronically. Now, they will have a choice of saving them on their passbook or print a hard copy of them. In the future, I think people may want to further develop these great tools we have now.

They may want to invent a device which is only used for making payments, including all credit cards, membership cards, possibly flight tickets and more. Everything that is essential to shopping and travel can be grouped into one device; I think this will make shopping easier and convenient. If these stick with our smart phones, I think a larger and more powerful battery will be needed for the future mobile phones, due to the large amount of electricity is needed, and batteries do lose their benefit time by time!

So, possibly people will only need to carry their smart phone and payment device in the future. This helps people to leave it black and white, smart phone is for communication and payment device is for making payment and shopping. Take for instance, people can get their payment device scanned at the till when they pay, and then an automatic transaction will be made on their credit card. The device should be ergonomic so that it is easier for users to recognise it is an e-wallet.

The main advantage for this is that it saves time and makes payments faster. There will no need to wait for credit card transaction on the till anymore, as it usually takes time to finish the process. With these impacts effect on future shopping, a big change can be made to the till as well. What we have now in the supermarkets is an in place set barcode scanner under a till, with a red transparent layer. What the sales do normally is physically scan the products on the till.

For possible future development on this, we can have an automatic scanner on the till with blue laser on it, and then when there are stuff being put on the runway, it senses and automatically scrolls to move the products forward to the till, and the till automatically scans the products one by one, if possible, it can scan multiple product at a time. And once again, this saves time and may not need a member of staff standing next by to scan the products by hand and press the button to make the runway to move.

If this development will be made real in the future, this will probably become a self-service in the supermarkets as the devices do them all automatically. On the other hand, this might cause low employment in supermarkets because no sales are needed anymore, perhaps there should be a few standby the food shelves to help with products finding. A lot of new development and components are needed for the production of the new devices and tools as well. Especially consumables such as paper and ink, as a lot of these will be used by product designers to do drafts.

This will cost a lot of money and time to invent and produce something completely new. A lot of personnel are needed to get involved for every different sides of the production – finance, paper work, general, marketing, engineering…etc. In conclusion, everything is possible in the future and surely the technology will still be developing. More and more ‘high-tech’ devices may be appearing in the future and possibly one day, we can just stay home and do shopping including receiving the products straight to our door without physically visiting a shop or even having a postman delivering our products.