Technology is the collective term for all the learned skills, methods, processes, and technology applied in the manufacture of physical products or services, or in the achievement of goals, such as scientific research. It is used to refer to a group of technological systems or practices, which can be developed for the improvement of human welfare, productivity, efficiency, quality, safety, or the environment. The term is also used informally by many people referring to a particular branch of technology. The discipline of technology studies has become increasingly important in recent years because of increasing globalization, technological change, and the need for new and improved techniques and tools.
In business, technology is often used as a synonym for “IT” (Information Technology), but the two terms are usually used interchangeably. A firm specializing in information technology can be called an information technology firm, while a firm specializing in manufacturing IT can be called a manufacturing information technology firm. Some of the largest companies in both sectors are Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, IBM, Google, Microsoft Office Systems, Prudential Securities, Merck, AT&T, Sun Microsystems, Sony, Microsoft Office Systems, and Whirlpool. These companies alone account for most of the jobs in the technology sector.
Tech at home? Home-based tech companies, such as eBook publishing companies and online retailers combine elements of retailing, dropshipping, and online shopping into one convenient package. They have come a long way from being home-based distributors and resellers. They are today’s modern version of chain stores, employing the retail, wholesale, and distribution strategies of yesteryear. They leverage technology to increase sales efficiency by reducing waste, providing better customer service, lowering costs, increasing productivity, and extending customer satisfaction. Many home-based tech companies have gone public and raised capital, creating valuable new venture capital and investors.
Tech at work? Workplace tech companies employ only the latest technology, but use existing processes and materials to increase efficiency, shorten cycle times, enhance product reliability and improve quality. They use industrial and office computer equipment, office software, networking, manufacturing equipment, manufacturing process improvement methods, and skilled labor to replace obsolete or worn out processes and materials. Most work at tech companies outsource some manufacturing functions to Asian countries where labor costs are much cheaper than in the United States. In addition, some work at home businesses start out as office furniture repair companies or computer fix-it services.
Venture capital can fund only the growth of existing companies. It is not equipped to finance startups. Because of this, most start-ups need venture capital. But venture capital firms also invest in start-up companies through private equity, investment funds, and other sources. The greatest advantage to venture capital for a tech company is that they are usually aware of the potential future profits of the business and provide seed money, helping the business to obtain credit from financial institutions.
Tech at home? Companies like AirBnB use simple online applications and services, and allow customers to book accommodations in a simple fashion from anywhere in the world. AirBnB is one of the fastest growing tech companies in the food service industry. It is poised to expand aggressively into the international markets, where a fast, easy, and user-friendly website provided a platform for rapid social media marketing.