Technology has changed much of life in Essex. The ways that we communicate with each other, shop, learn and entertain ourselves have changed significantly in the last couple of decades.
Our computers and smartphones have put the world at our fingertips, wherever we are in the county, country, or the world.
This has meant that the ways in which businesses conduct their activities has changed too. The old ways don’t always work now, and to stay in business, entrepreneurs in Essex have had to adapt to this ever evolving world. Here is a look at what businesses in Essex have had to do to keep up with technology.
Watching a movie at home used to be an expensive and time consuming ordeal. You either had to buy a VHS cassette or DVD at a cost of £10-20, or rent one from shops like Blockbuster. This made a trip to the cinema quite a cheap alternative, and a great way to watch a film compared to our old and small TV sets.
The rise of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have changed that, though. Blockbuster no longer exists, and we can stream just about any film or TV show we want over the internet, directly through our TV.
This has meant cinemas in Essex are having to change their approach to business in order to stay alive. Major chains like Odeon now offer a membership pass, where you can visit as often as you like and see as many films as you like for a monthly fee.
Meanwhile, Vue has slashed the prices in its venues to as low as £4.99. Most cinemas are now also offering premium features, like reclining seats to further enhance the experience.
Online casinos began appearing in the mid-1990s, but experienced their biggest rise in popularity during the mid-2000s.
To differentiate themselves from the land based casinos found in several towns across the county of Essex, online casinos have developed unique versions of traditional games. For example, major entertainment companies have developed different roulette games, like the Deal or No Deal themed roulette and a variation called Superboost Roulette.
Essex is home to several major casinos, including several national chains. These establishments must now compete with their online alternatives. To do this, they are making better use of technology, creating loyalty schemes, and even letting players participate in live games online that are played in their physical establishments.
Tradespeople and Freelancers
Working for yourself is one of the easiest ways to start a business. It is common in the construction industry, where tradespeople will work on their own from a van, travelling from client to client.
The traditional way to acquire clients for tradespeople was via word of mouth and advertising in local publications and the Yellow Pages.
However, the internet has created new opportunities for individuals to offer their services, and even get feedback to demonstrate their capabilities. Online portals like Check a Trade and Rated People let tradespeople advertise themselves and bid on jobs that local people want completing.
Similar platforms exist for freelancers. The internet has made it much easier for freelancers to find work, thanks to online job boards and websites like Freelancer.com and Upwork. These latter sites work in a similar way to Rated People and Check a Trade, in that they allow customers to advertise the jobs they need completing and have freelancers bid on them.
Working for yourself is a great way to get the flexibility that you desire, fitting it around other commitments like university or travelling. This is why there was a 31% increase in people working freelance between 2017 and 2018 across the UK.
It is clear that technology has changed the way that consumers want to buy. Therefore, businesses have had to adapt to these changing needs. While this is true for Essex, it is also the case across the entire UK and most of the world. It also seems that this trend will continue, so Essex based business owners will need to continue to keep up with these changes.