Retailers must embrace new technology

In the last few decades, we have seen the demise of photographic films, and the moribund CD industry is struggling to keep afloat ("CD sales: Not music to the ears"; Nov 23).

The advancement of digital cameras and the introduction of the iPhone and other smartphones pushed film photography out of the spotlight.

With falling sales, Fujifilm has had to raise the price of black-and-white as well as colour negatives.

In 2010, the last roll of Kodachrome film was developed, bringing 75 years of history to a close.

CD sales overtook vinyl in 1988 and cassettes in 1991. CD income was finally surpassed by digital music revenues last year.

In 1982, German computer engineer Dieter Seitzer, the forefather of the MP3, considered the CD a "maximalist repository of irrelevant information, most of which was ignored by the human ear".

But the music industry was unduly obstinate and did not want to give up retail sales.

Despite iTunes selling millions of songs and iPods selling like hot cakes, the music industry was slower than a tortoise in embracing digital music.

Virtual reality (VR) is now here to stay.

In 2007, Google introduced Street View, a service that shows panoramic views of an increasing number of worldwide positions such as roads, indoor buildings and rural areas. It also features a stereoscopic 3D mode.

VR also plays an important role in combat training for the military. It allows the recruits to train under a controlled environment where they are to respond to different types of combat situations.

Technology will continue to advance unabated.

Unless our retailers are ready to embrace new technology, they will only have themselves to blame if robots and automation enhance certain jobs or replace them outright.

Heng Cho Choon