Companies have always needed to be nimble to survive: Tech advances and shifting customer needs can mean the difference between being relevant and becoming an industry footnote.
But the global pandemic has made agility even more of a top priority. Now industries are leaning into tech more than ever. And as women in technology, we need to seize this opportunity.
Here’s how a few powerhouses are making it happen.
Remember the rise of online shopping? The effect it had on foot traffic and window shopping pales in comparison to the impact of the global pandemic. Retailers have to meet customers where they are — and they’re using technology to do that, says Sharmeelee Bala, Head of Global Engineering for End to End Supply Chain and Enterprise Data and Analytics for Gap Inc.
For customers who still want that in-store, try-on experience, the retail industry is looking into how the Internet of Things (IoT) and augmented reality (AR) can provide “a virtual fit,” she says. These innovations in technology will let you see how clothes look so you can make a purchase decision without ever setting foot in a store (or fitting room).
Milking Opportunity in the Food Industry
Today, we have our pick of dairy as well as various plant-based milks. But what’s marketed as a personal preference is actually part of a complex battle within the food industry to address global hunger and climate change.
Both were huge issues before the pandemic, but now, disrupted food supply chains (and a deepening hunger crisis) have made it even more pressing to address sustainability in the food industry.
TurtleTree Labs has a unique solution for “scaling the way humans get nutrition,” says CEO Fengru Lin: Create clean, nutritious whole milk … without the cows. The company is examining how they can use mammary cells to produce nutrient-rich milk.
Using cell cultivation to produce milk may sound sci-fi, but it’s a reality thanks to a heavy investment in research and development and tech.
Creating a New Home-Buying Experience
For the sake of safety, the home-buying experience looks a lot different these days. And IoT, AR and other technologies are being used to reduce contact between homeowners, buyers and real estate agents, says Annie Tang, Design Manager for Seller Products at Opendoor.
3D modeling makes virtual touring possible, and geofencing in the Opendoor app allows for potential buyers to unlock a home and see it in person without the owners having to be there.
Plus, as Tang explains in an episode of The Girls in Tech Podcast, a monitoring device allows the company to understand what’s going on in the home so they can provide a safe touring experience for their customers.
Making Healthy Food More Accessible
Organic baby food company Tiny Organics uses tech to both create and deliver its personalized and nutritious product right to parents and babies. Rooted in science, the company seeks to introduce babies to textures and flavors early on to help them become more adventurous eaters. And its direct-to-consumer business model meant it was already well-positioned to benefit from the e-commerce boom driven by people sheltering in place.
Because all of the company’s sales come directly through its website, they’ve had to focus on technology since the inception, says Tiny Organics Co-Founder and Co-CEO Betsy Fore.
When the pandemic hit, the company was able to continue to serve customers by responding to the demand for fresh-frozen delivery direct to the home. And this put them at the forefront of a trend that Fore believes will continue — making healthy food more accessible.
And isn’t that just like an innovator? Leading the way so that others follow suit?
These are just a few of the women in technology who are contributing to new innovations in tech that are changing industries — and our lives. Learn from them, and find inspiration in their work. (And check out The Girls in Tech Podcast to hear more from inspiring women in tech.) Now, you’re ready to go explore ways you can be a part of exciting innovations in tech!