The Society of American Florists' (SAF) Technology Committee updated the association's Technology Whitepaper during a recent meeting. For each new Whitepaper iteration, the Committee places technologies into three categories: the bus has left, the bus is here and the bus is coming. Just from the labels, you may get the idea but if you're unfamiliar with the categorization, I'll explain as we review each list. The Committee's Fall 2008 Whitepaper update can be found here. My original post about the thinking behind the development of the Whitepaper can be found here.
Before each listing, I'll provide context to why things were added, deleted or moved from one list to another. The first overall change we made to the list was adding the dimension of "FREE." As with most industries, the tough economy has taken its toll on retails florists. Much of the discussion focused on free technology tools and services that would help boost productivity and cut costs. The other symbols you'll see include: # for Retail, @ for Wholesale and % for Grower. These symbols represent whether a technology has been broadly adopted by that particular floral industry segment.
The Bus Has Left
The Bus Has Left list includes technology which florists should have already implemented. If not, they are losing money or have put their business at risk. Items you'll see that were moved into this category are: floral gift delivery confirmation - an easy once since customers are use to tracking via FedEx or UPS; redundancy tech such as RAID5, UPS - gotta be prepared for that blackout; texting - you need to be familiar with this de facto standard of communication with the millennial set; and social networking - right, where's your shop's FB fan page??
- Web site with e-commerce and SSL #
- E-mail #@%
- E-mail marketing #@%
- Malware protection (antivirus/spam/phishing) #@%
- Data Backup #@%
- Uninterruptible Power Supply #@%
- Point-of-Sale System (POS) #
- Broadband Internet Access #@%
- Mobile phone #@%
- Database marketing #@%
- Zon machine #@
- PCs #@%
- Accounting software #@%
- Digital photography #@%
- USB flash drives #@%
- External hard drive #@%
- Headset (telephone/computer) #@%
- Electronic timecard #@%
- Laptop computing #@%
- Digital editing software #%
- Floral gift delivery confirmation # MOVED from HERE
- Redundancy Technologies (RAID5, Dual Power Supplies, backup broadband) #@% MOVED ffrom HERE
- Text as communication MOVED from HERE
- Social networks # MOVED from HERE
The Bus is Here
Bus is Here items is technology that will make the floral business money right away and immediately boost productivity without too much implementation costs or time. You'll see the new additions at the top of the list.
Environmental monitoring refers to technology that helps business monitor the coolers to maintain steady temps or video cameras for security - similar to what IT shops have in server rooms; Google Analytics is just a great free tool florists with Web sites absolutely need to be using; efaxing is just a great way to save trees and filter junk faxes; netbooks may be an cheap alternative for florists on the go; Skype should be the best way to video conference with other employees on the cheap; Video refers to taking more of it to put onto Youtube et al; sustainability devices are things like smart UPS to kill vampire current and motion sensing light switches to help forgetful employees who always leave the lights on to switch it off for them; projection LCDs to snazzy up front store displays and show off event work in store; webinars to train remote employees; pay per click services offered by local cable companies to boost online listing and DVR/Tivo as just great way to catch your shows when you're working overtime for Mother's Day.
The last tech - DVR/Tivo sparked discussion on how many technologies are causing a blur between professional/personal usage where people seem to be buy devices for their personal usage but would want to hook it up to the corporate network.
- Video NEW
- Sustainability Devices NEW
- Projection LCD NEW
- Webinars NEW
- DVR/Tivo NEW
- Environmental Monitoring NEW
- Google Analytics FREE NEW
- Electronic Faxing (Paperless) FREE NEW
- Netbooks #@% NEW
- Skype FREE NEW
- Security best practices (PCI DSS compliance)
- GPS/Delivery routing and reporting #@
- Barcode #@%
- Telephony/call centers/active phone routing and monitoring #@
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Recruiting Tech-Savvy Generation Y/Millennials
- Open Source software
- Smartphones (iPhone/Blackberry) #@%
- Mobile wireless broadband
- Telecommuting #
- Paperless office
- Larger LCD/Second LCD Monitor
- Credit cards processing over the Internet (eliminate traditional POTS lines) #
- HDTVs/Digital photo frames as video display #
- Online collaboration via Web sites
- Virtual credit cards
- Business analytics
- Viral marketing
- Video game console (Wii, Playstation, Xbox)
- Remote backup service
- Biometrics - saves time, more secure
- Online Reputation Management
- Direct buying platform
- Pay-Per-Click Services NEW
The Bus is Coming
The Bus is Coming list represents technology that may not necessarily be the most cutting edge but includes technology determined to be potentially expensive to deploy or take time to develop. Floral businesses are warned they implement at their own risk with no immediate benefit.
Additions to this list include: eReaders such as Kindle; Microsoft's Windows 7 - many floral businesses still rely on venerable XP, which Microsoft has designated as "end of life," yikes; cloud computing - my shop POS existing on the Internet somewhere?; virtual DIY consumer entertainment and education - not sure, I have to check back with everyone on this one; electronic personal branding - basically meshing all your presences on social media to boost your brand; location based tech - primarily a discussion on why it's cool to have an iphone and find the nearest Starbucks and alternative banking such as Virgin Money - a reaction to the near collapse of the traditional banking system.
- eReaders NEW John. Demos kindle 2 - ultimate green devices? Can convert from different formats.
- Windows 7 NEW
- Cloud Computing NEW Check out QuickFlora
- Virtual DIY Consumer Entertainment/Education NEW
- Electronic Personal Branding NEW
- Location-based Technology NEW
- Alternative Banking - social networking for loans. Virgin Money NEW micro loans.
- Tiwitter (Changed from Micro Blogging)
- Social Network widgets
- Application Service Providers
- Mobile checkout
- Mobile payment (with cell or smartphones)
- (CHANGED) GTIN - Extended barcoding
- Streamline Sales Tax project
- Text advertising campaigns
- Video game console advertising (Wii, Playstation, Xbox)
- Phone text advertising
- Solar voltaic panels
- Hybrid/biofuel delivery vehicles
- Wind power
SAF's Technology Committee will be updating this list again this October when they meet in Arizona. Please feel free to comment or add items to these list for consideration by the Committee. As a reminder, this is a living document. After a few meetings, I'll review past lists to identify any solid trends.