1. Attach a video of a technology
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmeR-u-DioE (Virtual reality used at Ford)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYfNzhLXYGc (Introducing HTC Vive- a virtual reality headset with 3D controllers)
2. Key business benefits.
It is evident that the main function of virtual reality is to create a virtual environment that resembles the real world. From business perspective, enterpries can take advantage of this outstanding ability to facilitate their activities.
First of all, virtual reality is an essential equipment in training. Trainees will deal with real cases while interacting with the virtual world, leading to improvements in both their experience and skills. Firms can still ensure the efficiency of the course without spending too much on training stuffs. According to Sentient Computing in Western Australia, virtual training is able to reduce budget dramatically as well as cut down approximately 70 percent of the time.
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Secondly, this emerging technology is also decreses commuting costs by connecting people into one space, despite of the geographical distance. An actual face-to-face meeting is now possible by 3D interactions between managers and staffs. For example, the join.me app offers a virtual meeting space, in which users can share files using Mobile Whiteboard or organizing audio conferences. Another interesting scenerio is virtual interviews. Personnel departments can go through the recruitment procedure with candidates in a virtual conference room.
Finally, virtual reality is a method of saving manufacturing costs by rendering virtual samples to replace real products in testings. Engineers and scientists can perform actions on 3D prototypes to tailor and fix mistakes with the products before manufacturing for commercial uses. Ford, for instance, are using a package from virtual reality specialists ICIDO to produce virtual copies of the vehicles.
3. The applicability of this technology in one industry sector (health)
Although virtual reality is mostly used in game, it has various applications in other fields as well. This essay will give an insight about its functions in health.
To start with, virtual reality is opening opportunities for patients with psychological disorders. In dealing with phobias, it provides a controlled environment in which patients will confront with their fears and learn how to overcome them. In one example, psychiatrists at the University of Louisville use virtual reality to assist patients in coping with fears of things such as flying and claustrophobia. Similarly, virtual reality is considered as a treatment for autism. Patients are able to improve social skills by facing with daily situations in the virtual world. In a study, professors at the University of Texas developed a program to help autistic kids with reading social cues and performing proper behaviours. After finishing it, participants’brain scan indicated increased activity in the areas of the brain related to social understanding.
Another branch of health is applying this technology is medical training. In surgery, virtual reality offers a way of practicing without harming the patients. The method is more appropriate to amatuers, as mistakes is acceptable. Students can learn from them to acquire skills for real operations. From 2002, Stanford University had a surgery stimulator using CT scans to create 3D models for practicing. Furthermore, it also plays a key role in dentistry. A programme called ‘HapTEL’, for instance, relies on haptics to train new dentists. This virtual dental chair provides a 3D set of teeth for learners to work on.
4. Describing the impact of the adoption of this technology at an organization using the Punctuated Equilibrium Theory (PET)
PET is a theory stated that in the evolution process of each species, there a sudden revolutionary change took place after a long period of stablization. Although it is a biological theory, it can be used in technology, with innovations made a great impact on an organisation. To clarify the theory, let’s take a look at Thomas Cook- an English-based travel company with more than 170 years of experiece.
During the past, the agent advertises their services thourgh brochures and website. In other words, these two are the main information sources that customers can refer to before booking a trip. However, that habit has changed since 2014, when Thomas Cook applyed virtual reality. The new technology made a huge impact on their marketing strategies. They cooperated with Visualise to produce a range of 360 virtual reality films. After deciding the itinerary for the roll out, a small team went to Egypt, Cyprus, Singarpore, Greece and New York to capture the required content. The videos will be uploaded to a virtual reality store, instead of posting on the Internet. The new commercial plan resulted in a dramatic boost in the profit. The enterprise earned a staggering £12000 from hotel and flights bookings in the Uk and Germany as well as a 40% return on investment. New York market also witnessed an 180% uplift in the excursions revenue.
Overall, it can be concluded that the equilibrium of using brochures and website of Thomas Cook has been distracted by the introduction of Virtual Reality. This adoption has affected the agent by creating major changes in marketing strategies.
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1. Identify a business process within the organization and provide a brief overview of the business process
Nowadays, Wal-mart Stores (or Walmart) is undoubtedly one of the largest multinational retailing firm in the world. The company has maintained the top position for decades, partly thanks to the advanced home delivery process. This process can be executed via Walmart’s official website. First of all, customers need to register into the system. First-timers are required to create an account to continue shopping. The system will then introduce a variety of items that are categorized into departments according to their purposes. Selected goods will be added to a basket- the button located at the top right corner of the screen. Having checked the basket, customers will make a payment, which is the final step. Walmart online system accepts numerous payment method, for instance credit and debit cards, Paypal, etc. A notice containing an receipt will pop up to confirm the order. Staffs will check all the details once again prior to sending customers a confimation email. Overall, the process is accomplished entirely through the internet within a few clicks, saving a considerable amount of time and money for shoppers.
2. Inputs, processing, and outputs of the business process
After rolling through the process, it can be clearly seen that this consists of 3 main components: input, process and output. Inputs include customers’ accounts (name, birth, email, phone number) as well as the choosen item list (Good number, quantity, price). For customers who pay by card, there will be also card’s details such as card number or expire date. In case of evoucher or gift card, additional input will be its code. All of the provided information will be processed by RealLink computer system and stored in the form of data. Having accomplised processing the input, the system will return the output – a successful notification and later on, a comfirmation email containing a receipt .
3. Technologies are used by the organization and their relation to the organization’s business strategy.
Walmart has adopted a wide range of technologies in order to maximize their profit. These technologies play an important role in their business strategies.
The retailer has been using RDIF (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology for around a decade. The initial function of the technology was to track the location of commodities travelling along its supply chain, including at warehouses. In 2007, it was upgraded by reducing approximately one-third of excess inventory volume in the supply chain as well as 16% of out-of-stock situations. Another advancement took place 3 years later, with the appearace of RDIF tags on individual garments, which are usually from two to four square inches in size. Inside each tag is a silicon chip containing a number string to represent a specific good. There is also an antenna to transmit the details in the tag to a separate RDIF “reader”. RDIF tag is much more advantageous than conventional barcode, as it mitigates the need for a scanner by using the reader. These continuous innovations help the company achieve its business strategy of streamling the supply chain while decreasing cost.
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Another outstanding technology applied at Walmart chain stores is virtual assistant in order to enhacing clients’ satisfaction. This application was developed by a group of hacker during a hackathon funded by the corporation. By interactions with the assistant via texting, customers can tailor answers to simple questions and locate items in the store. Once typing “hi” to the posted number in store, shoppers will receive a message back from a store associated with assistance, for example instructions to a certain corner of the store. In case of overcomplicated problems, customers will be guided to a nearby staff for extra help.
4. Strategic business objectives addressed by the organization’s information systems.
*Improved decision making:
In early 1990s, Walmart adopted Retail Link-an interorganisation Decision Support System(DSS) and a sale figure warehouse. Data of stores are gathered from warehouse and sent to Retail Link for analyzing to make a weekly report., which will be sent to suppliers. The report contains all the sale data by Stock-Keeping Unit(SKU), by hour, by store; gross machine achieved, inventory returns, in-stock percentage, and most important, weekly forecasting information. To develop decision making quality, Walmart made a variety of technological advancement afterwards. In 1997, the retailer expanded the size and information analysis capabilities of of the data warehouse. According to Randy Mott – senior vice president and chief information officer of Walmart, “Every cost, every line item is carefully categorized, enabling better merchandising decisions to be made on a daily basis.”. The following year also witnessed an innovation, when Walmart and Warner-Lambert applied internet to communicate about sales forecast, which resulted in about a reduction of 2,5 weeks in the time items in the supply chain and a million dollars in inventory.
Walmart use Transaction Process System (TPS) to automate daily business activities, which play a key role in organizational operation like Point-of-Sale, preparing a payroll and billing clients. Raw data will be summarized, recored and merged to create a report. With Point-of-Sale, for instance, when customer check-out the items at the supermarket, the clerk has to scan the bar code -the input of system. Walmart developed a universal product code (UPC) system in order to ensure exact price, decrease shrinkage as well as enhance communication. TPS will then calculate the total amount of money by multiplying the quantity with the price of each product prior to printing a receipt.
Electronic Scanning of uniform product code -UPC-
Retail Link system uses a satellite system to create a competitive advantage. The corporartion introduced the 24 million dollar system in 1987, which consist of 6 components- Becon activation, GPS Satellite Relay, MEOLUT, Mission Control Center, Rescue Coordination Center, Rescue. Here is a diagram describing the merchanism of the system:
With this system, data and voice transmission can be sent at 56 kilobits per second, much faster than 12 and 24 kilobits via telephone lines. Another benefit is the ability to lower telephone costs by 20 to 30%, while facilitating high speed communication. On 17 November, 1999, Walmart broadcasted a Grath Brooks concert via this system into all of its stores, leading to a remarkable rise in sale data:
5.What would happen if your organization’s information systems were not available?
Without information system, Walmart could face a variety of difficulties.
First, the company will need to recruit more staffs to gather data from stores. The number of additional employees will be huge to keep up with sales figure from 11695 stores and clubs worldwide. Recruting new members will lead to a surge in the operation cost, as more money is spent on staffs’salary. Even meeting the need of human resources, each of the process is still disaggregated, due to inconsistency performance of human.
Furthermore, lack of information system also delay forecasting and planning process. Because Walmart is a multinational corporation, it is essential to have a business plan that are suitable with each country’s legislation system and customs. This process is going to be more time-comsuming, since consultants have to deal with raw data instead of processed data.
However, the disappearance of information system does not affect only the retailer, but also its suppliers. When the automatic link to warehouses is cut, the sales representative will have to contact warehouse staffs by phone to gather inventory statistics. Consequently, suppliers will have to wait longer for the data, obstructing them to keeping up with the demand.
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Kline, D. (2017). 2 Ways Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Is Using Technology to Improve Its Shopping Experience — The Motley Fool. [online] The Motley Fool. Available at: https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/11/10/2-ways-wal-mart-stores-inc-is-using-technology-to.aspx [Accessed 18 Mar. 2017].
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