Great Technology.. what’s next?

In my job I constantly look at how technology can help the business compete.  Innovative technologies that help to automate a process or can replace 3 or 4 existing technologies at a fraction of the cost or technology that can help us jump to the next curve.  I don’t think this is unique, I’m sure every organisation has this role or culture. 

I remember early on in my career, I discovered PCs on cards from Cubix and Chatterbox.  These were basically a chassis that could be rackmounted around 12U and contained PCs on cards in each slot with a single screen and keyboard/mouse input.  The target market for these were for remote access, email MTAs, dedicated PCs that ran a single process.  They were a good idea at the time, but as technology evolved, the need for such a product ceased.  The concept and design however lives on in many data centers today in the form of blade servers.  That to me, was a good example of how seeing what’s next by examining the past.  There’s no secret in that.

At the current rate of change the window between the past and the future is certainly getting smaller.  Early in this century, I took at risk and introduced the Blackberry device into the company, I believed in it and put my job on the line trying to get this little gem of a device into the hands of the people I believed would benefit from it.  Those who doubted and rejected my claims were not my target market, but were my senior management at the time! 

The same happened when I proposed we adopted an E-Mail Archiving product from KVS.  “Email is not growing and we can delete the old stuff, so why archiving?” was a comment from senior managment at the time. 

Two good examples of how I recognised the need for a technology in the business, before the need turned to a want.  Needless to say both these products became mission critical for us and are now an integral part of the infrastructure. 

Sometimes that can swing the other way, we looked at RFID about two years ago, and ended up scratching our heads wondering where and how to use this within the organisation.  Certainly RFID is perfect in some sectors such as retail, but not for us… right now.  I’m sure RFID will have a place in the future, but right now, it’s a struggle to embrace it within the Enterprise.

Moving on and outside the enterprise, I was facinated to see how Ninetendo jumped to the next curve.  This is a move that an existing incumbant has never achieved.  Sony and Ninetendo competed in the gaming sector for years.  Sony was dominant and against all the odds, Microsoft entered the market.  Ninetendo was squeezed out … or at least that what I thought, and all of a sudden they wiiturned bigger and better with a games console that was distruptive. 

So what’s next?  That’s a questions that has many varied answers.  What’s next for:

– Mobile Phones

Television

Automotive industry

Financial industry

Shoes and Footwear

Finally a light hearted look at how we sometimes invent a use for a technoogy, Microsoft’s Surface…roll VT!

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