Ask Tech Effect: Should I Get The Latest Technology?
Technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and it is nice to see that technology is upgrading to suit our needs. We are constantly able to do tasks more efficiently and perform tasks that were once thought to be impossible.
We also live in a consumer-driven society where our status in society is often seen by our desire to be on top of the latest trends. There’s been a recent push to buy only the latest and greatest in technology to not only stay on top of trends, but also productivity and efficiency.
However, you might be looking at your personal wallet and/or your company budget and think that you can’t possibly afford to stay on top of the technology trend.
For starters, technology is expensive! Buying any new piece of technology is not like buying groceries at the supermarket. You could spend the entire annual salary of a recent graduate just to get everyone in your company using the best technology available.
On the other hand, you also can’t deny that advances in technology have allowed us to do the work that we do now. There are people constantly working on ways to do the same tasks more efficiently and effectively, as well as products/services being created to help us perform new tasks.
It’s a challenge that is tricky for most people, as upgrading to the latest and greatest is always a good feeling, but unfortunately it’s going to cost you a lot of money just to keep up.
Is it really necessary to keep getting the latest technology?
There’s no hard rule on replacing technology, or when you should go out and buy new technology. The good news is, it’s not every single time the technology is made. Newly released technology sounds great, but it’s also not a sustainable strategy for a lot of reasons.
That being said, if your work and daily life requires a lot of technology use, living in obsolescence is probably not an option. You have a lot of tasks to do, and it will get increasingly harder to do them on aging technology.
But Why Isn’t Getting The Latest Technology Sustainable? It’s Great!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful feeling when you buy new things. Removing them from the packaging is great, using it for the first time is great, and living in the fact that you have just stepped into a new realm of possibilities is a feeling that mankind lives for.
However, new technology is being released every day, and it’s not always cheap. If you bought a new smartphone every time a new model was released, you’d be spending at least a few hundred dollars on each phone. That amount of money can add up quickly.
Now, some of you might take this opportunity to say that you do not buy iPhones, Microsoft phones or Samsung phones and thus can save money buying cheaper brands. This isn’t entirely false. There are plenty of good phones out there that are not necessarily from the names we all know.
Even if you say that, phones are not the only technology that you purchase. There are new computers being released, new computer parts if you are a bit more of a technology expert, and new software being released.
You also think of computers and phones, but people are also carrying around a lot more technology, such as fitness trackers and portable media players.
That’s just for personal use. What about if you were a company? You have a lot more cost involved, mainly because you have to be able to afford technology for the company and not just yourself. You have to know what technology is available to employees, what management needs and what needs to be made available company-wide.
You would also be investing money in products and services that regular consumers wouldn’t normally buy for themselves. Servers, meeting room technology, and software expenses can quickly add up if you keep buying new technology without paying attention to the costs.
There’s also the issue of actually being able to buy this technology, ie. Hardware. While there are a lot of materials in the world, there isn’t an infinite amount, and people aren’t currently disposing or recycling their technology in a manner that allows us to regain the materials that we used.
In Australia, there are more mobile phones than there are people. If everyone kept buying new technology (especially when you consider the population of the world) and didn’t dispose/recycle it properly, we could easily see ourselves running out of technology to use in a matter of years.
While it may sound like scare-mongering, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that rapid purchases of anything is wasteful in terms of resources and money.
So while it is a fantastic thing to constantly upgrade to the latest and greatest, it’s not the best idea for a lot of reasons.
But What About Old Technology? It’s Not As Good Anymore?
It would certainly seem that with each iteration of technology that is released, the older generation tends to look weak in comparison. You’re often hearing about efficient energy use, more functionalities, better speed and other benefits.
Compared to your old devices, it feels like you’re using a brick when you should be using a sleek piece of metal. That’s never a good feeling, for more than one reason.
But before you feel that your old technology is completely useless, ask yourself, is it really?
While it never feels good to hang on to something that’s considered obsolete, your old technology was once considered to be cutting-edge, and in some respects it still is. It’s been able to help you from the moment you bought it, and it hasn’t let you down much because you still own it.
You also have to remember that a lot of what is shown to us in marketing advertisements and sales pitches is almost always going to make you want to buy more. That’s a perfectly normal thing for a company to do, but it does always make you forget that your old technology isn’t useless yet.
True, older technology isn’t as great, but if you compare the features of old and new devices, in some cases, you’re not going to see a large difference between the two devices. You might not even see a difference at all, or it might be a difference that never affected you in the first place.
Besides, just because a product/service is old doesn’t mean a company has abandoned it. In fact, technology companies hope that you still have some of their older products so they can continue to improve them with software upgrades and act as evidence for longevity and quality.
Technology purchases will sometimes feel like a game of social catch-up. But you don’t have to fall into that trap, and you can rest assured that your own technology works just fine.
That’s Great! Then I Don’t Need Companies Telling Me About New Technology
Yes and no.
You may not need all the technology that companies are selling, but you definitely want to keep listening to the technology that’s being released.
Just because you don’t need to buy it right away doesn’t mean it’s not going to be useful in the future. You never know what companies are making that could make your work more efficient or what technology offers the security that you need.
Listening to the ideas and concepts that a technology company discusses is also helpful, because you can hear about their latest projects, their top concerns and where you and your company fit in to the bigger picture.
That’s Fine, I Never Need To Upgrade Again Anyway
You won’t have to upgrade your technology with the latest and greatest, but you will have to upgrade your technology at some point.
What most people forget is that technology becomes less effective as new software and hardware is released. Software does have updates that allow it to perform better on older systems (as it should), but you will eventually reach a situation where software requires stronger hardware performance.
Hardware can also wear out, or get damaged overtime. As software and programs require greater amounts of processing power, your computer will have to push itself harder just to provide the performance that you consider acceptable.
While you might see this more if you often play video games, it’s still noticeable in work situations, because you will be using more advanced software programs with greater hardware requirements, and you might have to dedicate most of your computer resources to running just one program.
Your technology will lose the efficiency and effectiveness it used to have as the demands placed by modern technology will continually grow. There’s a reason companies are inventing technology as often as they can. It’s not just for fun; they realize the world changes and improves, and so must technology if it is going to survive in the future.
Phones are a great example of this. You still don’t need a smartphone in your life, in fact, you can still use a very old mobile phone which could flip open and have a keypad which you had to use to text. It’s not useless, but you won’t have access to phone apps and functions which many people take for granted nowadays.
Yet if you wanted to use the old mobile phone for work, you would be quickly outclassed and frustrated when you realize that compared to other people, you have no access to email or your work applications.
The definitions of efficiency and effectiveness have changed, and your old technology is unable to catch up.
While it is cheaper to stay with the technology you have, it’s not a long-term strategy. You have to either upgrade, or fade away into obsolescence.
What Can I Do About This?
Look at the technology you have, and ask yourself: Am I still able to do what I need to do with this technology?
Now look at the technology that’s available on the market and/or being promoted by technology companies. Ask yourself: Is there anything I want that this technology will allow me to do?
Everyone’s answers to these questions are going to be different, so it’s not my place to say what your answers will be.
But if you find that the technology you have is sufficient for work, keep it. There’s no immediate risk that you incur, and unless there’s a security flaw that needs fixing or a large performance drop, you can safely carry on using your laptop that’s a few years old.
If you are looking at newer technology and realizing that the benefits it offers will allow you to do the tasks that you want to do, as well as perform better than your older technology, purchase it. You’ll save far more money replacing it now than you will dealing with issues down the line.
You can’t afford to go on a spending spree with technology, nor is it something sustainable for the environment. You also can’t afford obsolescence and the inevitable decline of old technology.
So just shoot for the middle ground. Ask your IT department about your current IT situation, and what upgrades you should be considering. Think about what your company needs are, and what you would you like to do.
Your IT department is constantly monitoring your technology and giving you suggestions for upgrades and improvement. It’s not just more money for them, but a way to give you the performance that you deserve.
Never feel that you have to give in to the urge to always have the newest technology. Look at your needs and consult your IT department. The money you will save, and the money you can earn from carefully improved performance, will show you that you made the right decision.
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