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What Is the Relevance of Technology?

“Technology in the lengthy-run is beside the point”. That is what a patron of mine told me after I made a presentation to him about a brand new product. I have been talking approximately the product’s features and blessings and indexed “modern day era” or something to that effect, as one of them. That is while he made his declaration. I realized later that he turned into accurate, at the least in the context of how I used “Technology” in my presentation. But I started thinking about whether he could be right in different contexts as nicely.

What is Technology?

Merriam-Webster defines it as:


a: the realistic application of information in particular in a specific vicinity: engineering 2 <medical technology>

b: a capability given through the realistic utility of information <a car’s fuel-saving technology>


: a manner of carrying out a venture in particular using technical methods, techniques, or information


: the specialized factors of a specific area of undertaking <educational technology>

Wikipedia defines it as:

Technology (from Greek τέχνη, techne, “art, talent, cunning of hand”; and -λογία, -logia[1]) is the making, modification, utilization, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of corporation, so as to remedy a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, reap a goal, take care of an carried out input/output relation or carry out a specific function. It can also talk to the gathering of such equipment, such as equipment, adjustments, preparations and methods. Technologies substantially affect human in addition to different animal species’ capacity to govern and adapt to their herbal environments. The term can both be implemented normally or to particular regions: examples consist of production generation, clinical technology, and statistics era.

Both definitions revolve around the equal element – software and usage.

Technology is an enabler

Many people mistakenly consider it’s far generation which drives innovation. Yet from the definitions above, that is in reality not the case. It is opportunity which defines innovation and technology which allows innovation. Think of the traditional “Build a higher mousetrap” example taught in maximum enterprise faculties. You would possibly have the technology to construct a better mousetrap, however when you have no mice or the vintage mousetrap works nicely, there is no possibility after which the technology to build a better one becomes inappropriate. On the alternative hand, if you are overrun with mice then the possibility exists to innovate a product using your era.

Another instance, one with which I am intimately familiar, are purchaser electronics startup groups. I’ve been related to each people who succeeded and those that failed. Each possessed precise main area technology. The difference become opportunity. Those that failed could not discover the opportunity to develop a meaningful innovation the usage of their generation. In truth to live to tell the tale, those companies needed to morph typically into some thing totally distinctive and if they have been lucky they may take advantage of derivatives of their authentic era. More frequently than no longer, the unique generation wound up in the scrap heap. Technology, thus, is an enabler whose final fee proposition is to make enhancements to our lives. In order to be relevant, it needs to be used to create improvements that are pushed by way of possibility.

Technology as a competitive benefit?

Many corporations list a era as considered one of their aggressive advantages. Is this valid? In some cases sure, but In maximum cases no.

Technology develops along two paths – an evolutionary course and a revolutionary direction.

A progressive era is one which allows new industries or allows solutions to issues that have been formerly no longer viable. Semiconductor era is a good instance. Not only did it spawn new industries and products, but it spawned other revolutionary technologies – transistor technology, integrated circuit era, microprocessor generation. All which offer lots of the products and offerings we consume nowadays. But is semiconductor era a aggressive advantage? Looking at the number of semiconductor corporations that exist nowadays (with new ones forming every day), I’d say not. How about microprocessor technology? Again, no. Lots of microprocessor groups out there. How about quad middle microprocessor technology? Not as many agencies, however you have Intel, AMD, ARM, and a number of businesses constructing custom quad center processors (Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, and many others). So again, now not a good deal of a aggressive advantage. Competition from competing technology and easy get entry to to IP mitigates the perceived aggressive benefit of any precise generation. Android vs iOS is a great instance of the way this works. Both working systems are derivatives of UNIX. Apple used their era to introduce iOS and won an early market benefit. However, Google, making use of their variation of Unix (a competing era), stuck up tremendously quickly. The motives for this lie not in the underlying era, however in how the goods made viable via those technology were delivered to marketplace (loose vs. Walled lawn, etc.) and the variations in the strategic visions of every corporation.

Evolutionary era is one which incrementally builds upon the bottom revolutionary generation. But via it’s very nature, the incremental trade is less difficult for a competitor to match or leapfrog. Take as an instance wireless cellular telephone generation. Company V added 4G merchandise prior to Company A and whilst it can have had a short time period benefit, as soon as Company A added their 4G products, the advantage due to generation disappeared. The consumer went again to selecting Company A or Company V primarily based on price, provider, insurance, something, however no longer based totally on era. Thus era might have been applicable inside the short term, however inside the long time, became inappropriate.

In modern world, technologies tend to quick grow to be commoditized, and inside any particular generation lies the seeds of its own loss of life.

Technology’s Relevance

This article became written from the potential of an end customer. From a developer/clothier viewpoint things get murkier. The further one is removed from the generation, the much less applicable it becomes. To a developer, the technology can appear like a product. An enabling product, however a product nevertheless, and hence it is fairly applicable. Bose uses a proprietary sign processing generation to enable merchandise that meet a hard and fast of market necessities and thus the generation and what it allows is applicable to them. Their customers are extra involved with how it sounds, what is the fee, what’s the nice, etc., and not so much with how it’s far accomplished, as a consequence the era used is tons less applicable to them.

Recently, I was worried in a discussion on Google+ about the brand new Motorola X smartphone. A lot of the humans on those posts slammed the phone for numerous reasons – fee, locked boot loader, and so forth. There have been also masses of knocks at the fact that it did not have a quad-core processor just like the S4 or HTC One which had been priced further. What they didn’t hold close is that whether or not the producer used 1, 2, 4, or eight cores in the end makes no difference as long as the phone can deliver a aggressive (or even great of class) function set, capability, fee, and person experience. The iPhone is one of the maximum a success telephones ever produced, and yet it runs on a dual-core processor. It nonetheless supplies one of the exceptional consumer studies available on the market. The features which might be enabled by way of the technology are what are relevant to the consumer, no longer the era itself.

The relevance of technology therefore, is as an enabler, now not as a product characteristic or a competitive benefit, or any myriad of other matters – an enabler. Looking on the Android running system, it’s far an outstanding piece of software era, and but Google offers it away. Why? Because standalone, it does not anything for Google. Giving it away permits other organizations to use their understanding to build products and services which then act as enablers for Google’s products and services. To Google, it truly is in which the actual value is.

The possession of or get right of entry to to a technology is most effective important for what it enables you to do – create innovations which resolve problems. That is the real relevance of generation.

Updated: March 8, 2019 — 8:31 pm

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