First Things First - What is Technology, and How Has it Changed the Business World?

Written by: Key Metrix, January 3rd


As we usher in the New Year that is 2021, it's now more clear than ever that we live in a digital world. Most of us will wake up using our phone alarm clock, go to a work place where we look at a laptop for eight hours, then come home and watch a couple hours of TV for the night before repeating the process the next day. We have audio books to listen to, online platforms we can share our entire lives on and wearable technology that can track everything from our heart rate to how many hours of sleep we get.

But has anyone actually stopped and asked, "wait, what is technology?" It sounds like a strange question, but what exactly does the term "technology" mean? How is it defined? Better understanding this definition is the first step in sharpening your ability to understand new technological platforms you may be interested in using. So let's start with some basic definitions.


What is technology?

Oxford dictionary defines the term technology as, "scientific knowledge used in practical ways in industry, for example in designing new machines" (Oxford Dictionary, 2021). However when people use the term technology today, they are usually referring to a more specific type, that being information technology (IT). IT can be defined as, "the study or use of electronic equipment, especially computers, for storing, accessing, analyzing and sending information" (Oxford Dictionary, 2021). So all the computers you use, smart phones, smart watches, iPads, tablets; this is all made possible through information technology (click here to read more about technology vs. information technology).


How has technology changed business?

So now that we know what technology is, and specifically what information technology is, why does it matter in the world of business? Well if you want to see how IT has changed the business world, you don't need to look any further than at the very device you're using to read this blog. Computers didn't become mainstream until the 1980's, and this type of technology only started revolutionizing the way things were done in the 1990's. That means that in less than 30 years, we've seen a complete turn around of business processes and how a customer interacts with a business.

Remember going to Blockbuster to rent a movie? Well once computers became mainstream and people were able to rent movies from the comfort of their own home, that was more or less the end of the road of that sacred Friday night tradition. There was also a time when offices used an office phone, a stark contrast to the use of mobile phones today that allows customers and employees to interact with one another at any and all times (it's no wonder the average person spends over 3 hours a day looking at their phone). Let's look at a more recent example. Think of Peloton, a company that launched in 2012 and is now worth over 4 billion dollars. They offer the chance for users to follow workouts alongside a coach. Sounds pretty standard right? The difference is, the coach is live streamed into your living room. It's pretty impressive tech, and it's also pretty different from the Arnold Schwarznegger fitness saga of the 1970s. 

The point of these examples is that you don't have to look far to see how information technology has revolutionized business. The biggest companies in the world right now are all based on information technology; Amazon, Google, YouTube, Apple, Facebook, even WalMart, a company that has nearly 12 000 physical locations around the world, recently launched WalMart+, an online subscription service that allows you to purchase WalMart products and groceries online. The way business is conducted is changing, and quickly at that. 


What role will technology have on Rehab?

So in knowing this, and in better understanding how information technology has changed the business world forever, what does that mean for Rehab? How will information technology change the way rehabilitation services are offered? The fact of the matter is, the opportunities to integrate tech into these types of services are endless. If you work in Rehab, chances are you have uttered the words, "there's just so much paperwork". Is this the first problem that tech can address? Imagine having the ability to remove the endless amounts of paperwork and store everything on one app or online platform. Information technology could also help better coordinate teams and track client progress more effectively. What about the paper reports that are prone to errors and can be difficult to distribute to relevant personnel? IT introduces ways to distribute reports and progress updates using efficient online platforms. 

All this to say, the opportunities for change is endless, and the potential benefit technology has to offer rehabilitation is both promising and intimidating. It might be unclear what the specific implementation of IT is in the rehab industry, but one thing that's certain is that the use of technology isn't going anywhere. Change is coming, and it's probably better to embrace the tech world rather than revert away from it. Don't be a Blockbuster!


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Oxford Dictionary (2021). Information Technology. Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.

Oxford Dictionary (2021). Technology. Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.

PelotonCycle. (2020, September 08). An Inside Look at the Peloton Bike+. Retrieved January 07, 2021, from

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