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The Demise of Physical Services: Will All Industries Become Entirely Digitised?

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Once upon a time, the thought of having robots to serve our every whim was a fun fantasy we saw in movies and TV shows. We never really expected to see it happen, but in the modern age, we aren’t far from that becoming a reality. With the internet being such a powerful force, connectivity and digitisation mean that we’re seeing more and more of our everyday lives impacted by it.

The active digital population of the world has reached over 4 billion, and that number continues to grow every year. With everything available at our fingertips, we must ask the question, is the high street dying? Will we ever need to leave the house again? Let’s discuss the impact that digitisation is having on industries and what the future looks like.

How Has Industry Been Affected So Far?

The rise of digitised services isn’t a recent development, we’ve been seeing the effects of this for many years already. Cast your mind back to the days of Blockbuster. Back then, everyone used to rent or buy physical copies of videos and DVDs, and the industry was huge. Netflix was another competitor, but instead of physical stores, they would mail your orders to you.

Alas, when video streaming became mainstream, we said goodbye to Blockbuster. But Netflix prevailed and is now more popular than ever before, all because it adapted to changes in the market and digitised its entire video library for subscribers, unlike Blockbuster. Now, the very thought of physical DVD rental shops seems laughable, all because of the massive impact of digitisation.

Cast your minds even further back to the 1990s, to the decade when online casinos were born. Back then, they were a fun way to play, but the technology was too primitive to make them real competitors to land-based casinos. But now, they’ve developed so much that they have become a multibillion-dollar industry in their own right. With features such as eSports betting and innovative slotmachines with up to 250 paylines to suit all playing styles, they’re cornering the market in a way physical casinos can’t match up to.

What Does the Future Look Like?

Those were only a couple of examples, but there are many more industries feeling the effects of digitisation, and we can get an insight into how it is changing everyday businesses and services. One industry that has been transformed by the digitisation and the internet is banks. Now, there is hardly any need to visit a physical branch as everything can be done online. Not only can you manage your banking and finances securely from your smartphone, but now you can open up a bank account and get a loan without even having to speak to anyone. With everything becoming automated online, we could very well see physical banks disappear within our lifetimes.

To answer the question of ‘will we ever need to leave the house again?’, let’s look at the retail and restaurant industry. Now that we have online shopping and meal delivery apps, the need to leave the house is diminishing. However, e-commerce sales only make up 8.5% of all retail sales, and in-store sales are still growing each year.

The future of physical services may be challenged due to digitisation, but it may not be taking over completely, yet. E-commerce may be huge, but it doesn’t change the way that most people shop on the high street. Like Netflix, we can be sure that the industries challenged by digitisation will adapt to make it work for them.

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