Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Real Technology Learning Curve

I am fascinated watching the newest technologies and how individuals and business experiment with them. There is a perception if you aren’t taking advantage of the latest technology you are totally out of it. The converse is that if you are utilizing the latest technology, you must be with it. Neither is true. Examples are Twitter, which often reads like a stream of consciousness, and those businesses encouraging their employees to experiment with new technology without providing guidance or effective evaluation and monitoring of the progress.

Just because you have mastered how to utilize a particular technology doesn’t mean you are promoting a greater good or using it in the best ways possible. Just think of all the text messaging going on including “talent” shows on television that allow viewers to vote for their favorite performer. People quickly vote and incur a charge, often a dollar a vote. Those in the media aren’t helping in their reporting on technology as often they are often just promoting the latest and greatest. You read and hear constantly on the newest, “improved” version which feeds a consumer-oriented culture.

Both the hype and wastefulness really turns me off. The technology learning curve that fascinates me is when a real problem is solved with technology. One example is remote tracking cell phones that allow you to log on to a Web site “to see the exact location the child is currently at. If the child changes location, you will be able to track and see the movements on the map. If the child is in or driving a car, you will be able to see the travel speed along with the direction of travel.”

Another one is Nationwide Insurance’s new mobile application for iPhones that acts as an accident toolkit. According to Nationwide, it:
· Calls emergency services,
· Helps you collect and exchange accident info,
· Stores your insurance and vehicle info for easy lookup,
· Locates Nationwide agents near you,
· Takes and stores accident photos,
· Converts your iPhone into a handy flashlight,
· Helps connect you with towing services,
· Helps you start the Nationwide claims process,
· Finds Nationwide repair facilities.

Giving a child a tracking cell phone might calm many a parent who is worried when there chiild is late in coming home. Similarly a cell phone application to assist when there is in car accident could be very useful and calming.

The bottomline of the technology learning curve should be figuring out a worthwhile use, not just about mastering a particlur technology.

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