Relevance of Technology?

“Technology in the long-run is irrelevant”. That is what a purchaser of mine advised me after I made a presentation to him about a new product. I had been speaking approximately the product’s features and benefits and listed “ultra-modern technology” or something to that effect, as one among them. That is whilst he made his statement. I found out later that he became correct, at the least inside the context of the way I used “Technology” in my presentation. But I commenced considering whether or not he can be right in other contexts as nicely.

What is Technology?

Merriam-Webster defines it as:


a: the sensible application of know-how in particular in a selected region: engineering 2 <medical technology>

b: a capability given by using the practical utility of understanding <a car’s fuel-saving technology>


: a manner of undertaking a mission especially the usage of technical processes, strategies, or understanding

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: the specialized elements of a selected subject 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, amendment, usage, and know-how of equipment, machines, strategies, crafts, structures, and methods of company, to be able to clear up a problem, enhance a preexisting strategy to a hassle, acquire a purpose, handle an implemented input/output relation or perform a selected feature. It can also talk to the gathering of such gear, consisting of machinery, changes, arrangements and techniques. Technologies significantly have an effect on human in addition to different animal species’ capacity to control and adapt to their natural environments. The term can either be implemented typically or to particular regions: examples encompass production era, scientific generation, and data generation.

Both definitions revolve across the identical issue – software and utilization.

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Technology is an enabler

Many people mistakenly consider it is technology which drives innovation. Yet from the definitions above, this is sincerely no longer the case. It is opportunity which defines innovation and era which permits innovation. Think of the conventional “Build a better mousetrap” example taught in maximum enterprise faculties. You would possibly have the era to construct a better mousetrap, but when you have no mice or the old mousetrap works nicely, there may be no opportunity and then the generation to construct a better one turns into inappropriate. On the opposite hand, in case you are overrun with mice then the possibility exists to innovate a product the usage of your technology.

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Another example, one with which I am intimately acquainted, are client electronics startup agencies. I’ve been related to each those who succeeded and those that failed. Each possessed precise leading edge technology. The distinction became opportunity. Those that failed could not discover the possibility to increase a meaningful innovation the use of their era. In reality to continue to exist, those agencies had to morph often into something totally one of a kind and in the event that they had been lucky they could take benefit of derivatives of their authentic era. More regularly than now not, the original generation wound up within the scrap heap. Technology, for that reason, is an enabler whose closing fee proposition is to make enhancements to our lives. In order to be relevant, it wishes to be used to create innovations which might be pushed by using possibility.

Technology as a aggressive gain?

Many businesses listing a era as considered one of their competitive benefits. Is this valid? In a few cases sure, however In maximum instances no.

Technology develops along paths – an evolutionary route and a innovative route.

A innovative era is one that permits new industries or allows solutions to problems that were formerly no longer feasible. Semiconductor generation is a great example. Not simplest did it spawn new industries and products, however it spawned different progressive technologies – transistor technology, integrated circuit era, microprocessor generation. All which give many of the goods and offerings we consume these days. But is semiconductor generation a competitive gain? Looking on the variety of semiconductor corporations that exist nowadays (with new ones forming every day), I’d say now not. How approximately microprocessor technology? Again, no. Lots of microprocessor organizations obtainable. How about quad center microprocessor era? Not as many corporations, however you have Intel, AMD, ARM, and a host of agencies building custom quad middle processors (Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, and many others). So again, not a whole lot of a aggressive benefit. Competition from competing technologies and easy get admission to to IP mitigates the perceived competitive benefit of any specific generation. Android vs iOS is a great instance of how this works. Both working structures are derivatives of UNIX. Apple used their technology to introduce iOS and gained an early market gain. However, Google, utilising their variation of Unix (a competing technology), stuck up distinctly fast. The motives for this lie now not within the underlying era, however in how the goods made feasible by using the ones technologies have been added to market (free vs. Walled garden, etc.) and the differences within the strategic visions of every company.

Evolutionary generation is one that incrementally builds upon the bottom modern generation. But by using it is very nature, the incremental exchange is less complicated for a competitor to suit or leapfrog. Take as an example wi-fi cellular phone technology. Company V introduced 4G merchandise prior to Company A and while it could have had a quick term benefit, as quickly as Company A introduced their 4G merchandise, the benefit due to generation disappeared. The client went back to choosing Company A or Company V based on charge, carrier, coverage, whatever, however not primarily based on technology. Thus era might have been applicable inside the brief time period, but in the long term, became beside the point.