Since the arrival of the smartphone, and in reality the arrival of the iPhone, technology has been slowly killing off a number of different connected devices as it consolidates them into one tool. From the humble alarm clock, through to the digital camera, landline, Walkman and satnav, the list goes on as smartphones have made more and more devices redundant.
From a consumer's perspective this is great news, evident by the number of smartphones sold since the first device became popular. We are an increasingly tech-savvy generation, and for both business and personal use, smartphones are now ingrained in our society.
But what this technology has done, almost unintentionally, is lead to a reflection of this consolidation in other areas of life. One example is the supermarket, which is now becoming a one-stop-shop for everything from electronics through to children's clothing. Consumers nowadays expect efficiency across their whole lives, and shopping is no different.
The workplace is another place that has seen a halo effect from the arrival of the smartphone. This is a tool that has opened up flexibility in the workplace as people can now work from home, on the move, and with greater ability as the technology they use becomes more advanced. But this hasn't just had an impact on the staff; it's had an impact on how businesses themselves operate. Staff now have greater freedom, working from home and also with fewer devices, and so businesses have had to adapt to meet the demands created by consolidation.
Whether this means implementing a staff intranet which allows them to do everything they need in one place, from timesheets through to booking holiday requests, or managing expenses - today's modern workforce no longer have the patience for multiple systems - especially when they can access everything via their smartphones.
Consumers themselves are driving this change in behavior in the workplace; workers are more and more likely to want to use their own smartphone as their 'work' phone, instead of having to carry around two devices. With access to the cloud and ever sophisticated integration into organisation's IT systems meaning it's easier than ever to connect workers to the internal infrastructure, businesses are finding less reasons to resist the demands of their workers.
What is exciting for consumers now is what the future holds in terms of consolidation, with more and more businesses and technologies creating efficient, one-stop-shop experiences. Whether it's on the high street, paying for goods using your smartphone as your 'credit card', or using your smartphone for work to update your timesheets on the move, the technology is allowing consumers to be more efficient at both home and in the workplace.
The same can be said for businesses, who are now able to consolidate everything from taxis (apps such as Uber mean all journeys can be charged to one account, no receipts/expenses needed), to online presence, with hosting providers incorporating domains, website building and email to offer a one stop shop service for their customers. All of this means a simplification of both the business owner's life, as well as the staff themselves, who can free up their time to focus on the task in hand.
What the smartphone has done therefore is make us more inclined to simplify our lifestyles, whether at home or at work. With this efficiency it has changed the landscape of both the consumer and the professional, and allowed both to learn from each other, and apply ways of thinking that can be beneficial to all.