Technology has changed the way that other businesses operate too. Greater quantities of information are exchanged between numerous locations over public and private networks. Vast amounts of data are stored on computers and accessed remotely from a variety of devices. Just as individuals buy from companies online, many companies now sell to each other online as well, for the same reasons of reduced cost and wider choice that attract individuals to online stores. Manufacturing tasks that used to take days can now be completed in minutes using computer-operated machine tools working in automated production lines.
The way we use technology has also affected our individual working lives. For example, telephone and online banking mean that banks no longer need large numbers of counter staff, and the role of travel agents has changed as more people book their holidays directly from the vendor by going online. Some companies have responded by reducing their number of employees, while others have retrained their staff to provide more specialised services to their customers. More generally, many people working in an office environment are expected to learn how to use new software applications in order to do their jobs.