Technology taking centre stage to help businesses26 June 2020
I’ve been reluctant to devote too much of my recent editorial comments to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
Not because it’s not an important phenomenon— indeed, it’s clearly the most important influence on the world right now, and has the potential to be a generation-defining event—but because I’m aware that there is a huge amount of news and comment covering the crisis in the global media. And, as a journalist in the lifting engineering sector, I don’t necessarily feel qualified to offer insight into the medical or societal aspects of the pandemic.
However, I have seen some of the initial effects that it has had on our industry, and covering those developments is very much within the remit of Hoist magazine. In this issue you’ll be able to read about lifting in two end-use sectors, aerospace and entertainment, both of which have been understandably hit by the limitations and restrictions placed upon international travel and ‘mass gatherings’ such as theatrical, musical and sporting events.
There are opportunities emerging too, as with everything that disrupts the status quo. We ran a news item in last month’s issue looking at how Syclone Attco Service was promoting its Sky Hook range of jib cranes and davit cranes as a solution to the need for ‘social distancing’— specifically, that lifting equipment could enable one operator to complete what would typically be a two person job, thereby eliminating the need for the two operators to stand close to one another.
Part of the reason I was keen to include this piece in Hoist was to alert the industry that this clever angle can be used to promote lifting equipment in general—particularly useful given the ongoing battle against reduction in investment in many areas.
Looking further down the line, I’m currently reading the book ‘The Rise of the Robots’ by Martin Ford, which despite sounding like a sci-fi thriller is actually a factual look at the use of automated technology and artificial intelligence and how those can replace, and in some instances have already replaced, human staff.
I’ve seen a few remarkable systems in operation in our industry already that combine vision systems or positioning software with high-powered algorithms and automated lifting systems to oversee logistics operations with utmost efficiency.
The argument against such technology has always been the potential loss of jobs, but with current mass unemployment and very real discussions about implementing Universal Basic Income, could that open the door for the much wider use of such technology?
And here at Hoist, we’re not sitting on our hands and waiting for things to return to normal either. Our company, NS Media, has invested in some cutting-edge technology to boost our digital offerings.
As an initial programme, we’ll be running a series of editorial webinars over the summer and into the autumn.
These will each feature a small group of industry experts discussing a given topic. We’re also looking at running an online conference in October. Watch this space for updates—or, our website (www.hoistmagazine.com) and on Twitter, at @Hoist_Magazine.