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What Is Applied Technology and How Do Industries Use It?

A British engineer had an idea to embed wires in a cathode-ray tube to put data about planes literally at the fingertips of the controllers directing them. It took another 15 years before Hewlett-Packard applied the digital technology in its first computer to feature a touchscreen.

Now, touchscreens are an integral part of everyday life, yet visionaries continue to advance the concept that Eric Arthur (E.A.) Johnson first devised in 1965.

Touchscreen’s “application across various industries, from healthcare to education and automotive, underscores its potential to redefine human-machine interaction,” Cato Wu writes on LinkedIn.

Professionals with skills and knowledge in applied digital technology can use these capabilities in a handful of industries and roles. The Arkansas State University (A-State) online Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Digital Technology with a Concentration in Business Analytics program is an avenue for success.

What Is Applied Digital Technology?

Touchscreens are just one example of how businesses find new ways to apply digital technology to create new products, improve internal processes and achieve strategic objectives. Consider the following factors, explained via IdeaScale:

  • Scientists began teaching machines to learn 70 years ago, which eventually gave rise to the constantly evolving applications of artificial intelligence in business analytics.
  • GPS is the digital evolution of navigating by the stars and is now an applied technology and indispensable tool in airplanes, vehicles and personal smart devices.
  • Cloud storage, an automatic built-in on most personal computer operating systems, started with the idea of connecting individual computers to a mainframe for resource access.
  • The internet began as a military communications system and is now a source of information, connection and endless distraction for people worldwide.

Simply put, applied digital technology is the product of “harnessing knowledge, expertise, and resources to develop innovative solutions that solve problems, improve efficiency, drive progress, and deliver value,” IdeaScale notes.

How Do Industries Use Applied Digital Technology?

As commerce becomes increasingly data-driven and data more complex, digital transformation is mandatory for businesses. Finding innovative, effective ways to leverage technology is the key to competitive advantage in the following industries:

  • Healthcare: Digital health innovations such as electronic patient records, telemedicine, electronic health records (EHR), telemedicine and wearable fitness, and heart and blood pressure monitors are revolutionizing patient care, improving data management and facilitating remote monitoring.
  • Education: Online learning took a great leap forward during the COVID-19 lockdowns and continues its upward trajectory as virtual classrooms, e-books and educational apps grow more integrated. An excerpt from the book How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and Cultures notes that digital technologies can help education by incorporating real-world problem-solving into curricula, facilitating feedback loops between students and educators, building local and global community learning opportunities and helping teachers learn and advance their skills.
  • Manufacturing: Industry 4.0 technologies — such as the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics and robotics — streamline production, reduce downtime and enhance supply chain management.

Walmart is pioneering the application of blockchain technology — the decentralized, tamper-proof distributed ledger that powers cryptocurrency — in the retail space. Applying this digital technology to manage its sprawling global supply chains enables Walmart to track merchandise from the source to check-out in real time and ensure groceries are handled, shipped and stored safely throughout the supply chain, according to

Walmart’s application of blockchain is promising, notes, but still faces challenges, such as “integration with existing systems, scalability, data privacy, supplier readiness, regulatory compliance, and cost considerations,” all requiring “thorough planning and careful execution.”

What Are Examples of Careers in Applied Digital Technology?

In the era of big data, businesses find that the degree to which they can compete profitably depends on how fast they can find new ways to apply digital technologies to accelerate their digital analytics processes. Ensuring they stay ahead of that curve requires senior managers and executives with advanced applied digital technology insights in data mining, project management, process improvement and implementation analytics.

An ideal way to future-proof your career is earning an M.S. in Applied Digital Technology with a Concentration in Business Analytics online from A-State. This program equips graduates with high-demand skills and insights into advanced data mining techniques, theories and practices in business analytics and predictive decision-making. Graduates can pursue roles such as project manager, director of process improvement, implementation analyst, data analyst and more.

Learn more about A-State’s online Master of Science in Applied Digital Technology with a Concentration in Business Analytics program.

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