I believe technology can be exploited to greater levels than we have allowed. We are constrained by 20th century business models and ideas. Collectively, we need to move past technology for the sake of technology and truly focus on moving markets beyond the status quo!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It Just Keeps Getting Tougher!
Technology that is. Things are getting more complex – that means there is more source code to run things and more code means less optimal integration and some big tough problems left unresolved.

Think about one of the simplest tasks in any household, turning on a TV. Well, how simple is it now? My non-scientific study, yet curious observation of cell yells between vacationers and their caretakers at home indicates one of the most common things they discuss is how to turn on the TV!

Think about this – turning on an appliance that simply has an ON/OFF button. But, we have made things more complicated and the complexity has not been masked from the user. So, yes, the TV has to go ON but so does the surround sound, possibly the cable box, TiVo, and everything else in the system i.e. other audio devices such as a media server must be repressed and secondary to the TV. Then you have the complexity of the surround sound being out of synch with audio of the TV so every image is akin to a Godzilla movie – entertaining for a while but annoying when watching Sports Center in high definition and the faces look like melting wax and the words are behind what the person is saying. We have all faced this conundrum. The more technically advanced of us will run a series of isolated tests on the system and more than likely debug the problem. More often though the user of the technology retreats to a simple old TV and lives happily ever after but will not admit this defeat to anyone!

Masking the complexity of technology is a major issue. It is a factor in adoption of new technology. It is a factor considered when purchasing technology. And, it SHOULD be a factor when technology is being built.

So, the next time you are in your favorite airline club eavesdropping on the boor yelling into their mobile phone, listen when he or she attempts to explain to the unsuspecting victim on the other end how to turn on the TV. You will undoubtedly get a chuckle from their lack of cell phone etiquette but also how technology is making even the simplest tasks more complex not necessarily easier.

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