Faster and faster delivery, is there a backlash?

Written by on October 12, 2015 in Opinion with 0 Comments

3d render of carton box or container with shiny ultra fast wings and jet motors

‘They’ say that every advance in technology is met by a backlash. Or at least by a period when customers suddenly get cold feet and start asking questions – like ‘why?’ They also say that new technology takes 10 years to become invisible, and simply ‘the way that things work.’ Of all the things that are moving faster, the fastest is probably the Amazon delivery van.

Is there about to be a delivery backlash? A moment when the need for the delivery to arrive seconds after you click ‘buy’ is too fast?

Certainly, in the long term, deliveries that are efficient and timely will matter in the hyper-competitive retail environment. But that time has not come yet, and will not arrive until Millennials are firmly ensconced at their mobile devices ordering vegetables, diapers and other mundane necessities.

This ‘delivery backlash’ – even leaving aside the drone wars that are going on above our heads – is appearing in other areas.

News that Argos UK was aiming to have your delivery at your door within an hour or two of ordering was greeted by a DJ on the radio with a ‘really? I am not sure I need that. Don’t think I like that.’ Not the most positive response.

In one of our own recent features, the EU’s Intelligent Transport System (ITS) is hitting resistance from the transport industry. It seems that they are not quite ready to commit to a technology solution that takes some control away from the human being. In connected car world, there will be many, many hours of arguments about whether a responsible (and therefore sober) human being will need to be watching things, and ready to take control if needed. Letting go, as we know, is the hardest thing.

In other news recently, Waterstones, the giant book retailer has announced that they are no longer going to sell the Kindle. The reasons are twofold. First, no-one is buying them. And second, sales of actual, proper, real life, paper, bend the spine and smell the wisdom, books are surging.

It is certainly not impossible that the same ‘check’ will happen in many other areas, notably the much hyped ‘IoT.’ Although basically here among us, there are still too many question marks for the IoT train to keep speeding along at breakneck speed, without a stop at the security, privacy and regulation (twinned with standardisation) stations.

We (research houses anyway) might have to revise our estimates on timescales to address all these issues. But if we do, then the longer term prospects for retail and delivery of goods are probably far better, and certainly more robust.

The only question is who are ‘they’ that talk about technology with such apparent authority.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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