Why technologies are replaced?

How does technology evolve? How long does it take for technology to become commercially viable? What are the pluses and minuses of this evolution? Who will win these races? All these questions always come to mind, but I am really not sure if there is a right answer for this. There are divergent technologies, and there are convergent technologies. What I mean is that some techniques start as all-encompassing technologies but end up into a particular technology or an application. Whereas some begin with a very focused technology but end up into divergent usage of the technology.  But the ultimate question is why technologies are replaced?

I am really not sure if the inventors of these are also sure how long the product developed will last in the market. It is possible that I may interchange the word technology and product. Some products have a very long life, and some have a very short life.  

Telephones 

The typical case is the telephone. The phone was invented more than hundred years back. Over a period, it became popular and useful; later it became mandatory in our lives. World over the proliferation of phones was quite fast and penetrating. I remember that during my visit to the USA in 1981, there were telephone booths at Carlsbad Caverns 800 feet below the surface. However, in India, it got delayed. Till 1984, I did not have a phone at home. In that year too we got it by making a misleading declaration of medical emergency to get it. Rest as they say is history. But nobody had expected the revolution that will come when the Telephone’s cousin Cell phone came around. As usual, it started as an expensive toy; they charged Rs.16/ minute to make and receive a call in 1997. The cell phones could store 100/200 numbers in the directory. Now 20 years hence, calling is free, data is as good as free, and storage space is as good as unlimited! Proliferation in India is 80% plus. Telephone, which is now called landline has now become a distant, poor cousin of the Cell phone. The cell phone has democratised the society. Now almost everybody has a cell phone. Along with this by providing decent cameras, cameras are also democratised. After ten years in what format cell phone will be available and what it will do is tough to predict.  

Credit and Debit cards 

Another product whose technological days seem to be numbered is credit/debit cards. These came into vogue on ‘70 s and ‘80 s. But the first one in use was Diners Club credit card in 1950. Initially, it took time to spread but later on it came up with magnetic tape authorisations, and now embedded chips have replaced the tape. With the introduction of debit cards, card business was also democratised. By democratised, I mean that the proliferation and spread have gone beyond 70% in the country like India with a very high population. But now the cards are getting a run for their money. With net banking, UPI, PayTM et al. making payments has become really easy. The only advantage with Credit cards is some Credit that people get when they use credit cards. But with QR code Technology the chip technology authorisation may become obsolete. Check the link below 

https://www.bing.com/search?q=QRCode&form=WNSGPH&qs=SW&cvid=7c3ff0870d024924a802ecbfc4cc27a3&pq=QRCode&cc=IN&setlang=en-US&nclid=24A557D17F20EE04675E8683A3F58054&ts=1546314473043&elv=AY3%21uAY7tbNNZGZ2yiGNjfMOcjiriOwJ1nqF69MVaiRhknXKq2yVeO57P6iMx77Fso5jrbCq%21wVi3FpaWVUx2j6Gw8VgYd6zPRlWeMWfOlVK&wsso=Moderate 

Click this link, you will see a box showing QR code generator. Type whatever you want and scan the generated code! There you are!  

TechnoQr1

I am giving below a link for QR code reader app for android

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tw.mobileapp.qrcode.banner&hl=en

This one is for iOS

https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/qr-reader-for-iphone/id368494609?mt=8

Download this or any other on your cell phone and scan the QR I have shown above! This is just for fun!

The QR code and touch type authorisation are the next technologies which can derail the business of Credit cards, but I am sure they will also come up with their own systems to remain in the race.  

Hotel Room Keys 

Another technology that has changed is the for room keys in the hotel.  

 

Hotel rooms had large locks and keys, which then graduated to brass keys, latch keys and so on. Then came the locking systems where customers were given a card, and the key for the room was “prepared”!  

Magnetic credit card size hotel key cards may soon be phased out in favour of smartphone app digital keys reasonably quickly. While key cards felt like a massive step into the future when they were first introduced, they do have their issues. 

Many large hotel chains like Starwood, Hilton, and Hyatt are already making the transition to digital apps in many of their establishments. Guests directly download the relevant app and enter and lock their rooms via Bluetooth. 

Car Mirrors 

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Many higher-end cars tend to come with camera-and-display setups as standard. Primarily, to provide functions like aiding the driver when reversing or parking. 

While each manufacturer will give the technology a different name but these technologies are all essentially a form of CCTV for the car’s immediate vicinity. These systems also tend to provide the driver with other information like speed, direction, and obstacle proximity etc. 

In fact, from May 2018 it became mandatory for all manufacturers to include backup camera systems for all new cars, in certain countries. Other manufacturers, like Tesla, have also announced they plan to replace all side-view mirrors with cameras in the future. 

This will provide various benefits to the driver but also make the vehicle more aerodynamic. Physical mirror replacement will also work in tandem with the drive, excuse the pun, for fully automated driverless, or partially automated, vehicles in the future. 

Photographic Films 

Kodak was the company which was linked to photography. It had so much hold on technology and market that generic name for photo films manufactured by any company would be called Kodak films. 

What happened to Kodak? They apparently dug their own grave, unknowingly.  They developed the digital camera and apparently forgot about it. Maybe their marketing arm did not understand and visualise the market potential for digital cameras. Kodak really never knew what hit them. Other manufacturers picked the digital camera technology and galloped ahead. Then the cell phones with the cameras started coming to the market, and they have become the norm for smartphones. Camera technology and camera film existed for a long time, but digital camera simply pushed them aside.  

This is a classic case having invented the technology and lack of vision from the pioneer company. But why are technologies replaced? Ease of use, safer and there is cost benefit. With the advent of IT and computers, many manual systems are getting replaced with software; software once established is effortless to use and cost-effective. The new technologies are superior too! There is one crucial aspect; nobody can stop the progress and onslaught of the latest technology, in any field. Some technologies come like typhoons or floods. Society has to accept it and go along with it. Those who ignore can become new Kodaks!

 

 

 

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Lazy or Innovative!

 

TwoThumbsTyping

Humans always want to do things differently and easily. We say that fashions come back in circles every 30 years! But pictorial writing took a few thousand years to come back! Are humans lazy or innovative? From pre-historical days, we’ve learned to talk, we’ve learned to write, but we’re only now learning to write at the speed of talking (i.e., text), sending messages. If you are talking to someone face-to-face, you don’t need an additional word or symbol to express “I’m smiling” because you would be smiling. Research determined way back in the 1950s that only 7 per cent of communication is verbal (what we say), while 38 per cent is vocal (how we say it) and 55 per cent is nonverbal (what we do and how we look while we’re saying it). This is good for face-to-face communication, but when we’re texting/WApping, the hypothesis goes for a toss. 93 per cent of our communicative tools are out of the picture.

In came Emojis! Emojis were born from the mind of a single man: Shigetaka Kurita, an employee at the Japanese telecom company NTT Docomo. Back in the late 1990s, the company was looking for a way to distinguish its pager service from its competitors in a very tight market. Kurita hit on the idea of adding simplistic cartoon images to its messaging functions as a way to appeal to teens. The emoji means, “picture words”—were designed by Kurita, using a pencil and paper, and were inspired by pictorial Japanese sources, like Manga (Japanese comic books) and Kanji ­(Japanese characters borrowed from written Chinese). I always had this feeling that Emojis show a feel of Japanese/Chinese characters and now I have come to know that I was not wrong.

These 176, initial crude symbols became very popular and Japanese Telecom adopted them. These were used only in Japan.  Apple put these characters in iPhone in 2007 for phones to be sold in Japan; it was meant for Japanese youth and was hidden deep down in software layers. But tech-savvy users in the US found these Emojis and then it was only a question of high-speed proliferation. Now even people above 80 are using WhatsApp and use Emojis very comfortably. In a survey in 2013, it was found that 73% of people in the USA and 82% of people in China were using Emojis in their communications. There is one interesting thing I have observed about Emojis. Since the faces shown in them are basically based on comic books, there is hardly any angry Emoji! Using Emojis, people can love, feel sad, feel elated but it becomes difficult to hate or feel angry using Emojis!

The meaning of Emojis interpreted in different areas of the world are flexible and that is the real beauty of it. 🙏🙏 is an Emoji that is interpreted as Namaskar (Hindu Greeting) in our part of the world. But in the western world, it is interpreted as High Five! If one needs to discuss or comment on something serious, the best solution is face to face talk, next best is Emojis and third place goes to the written text. These not very professional looking cartoons are instantly recognizable, which makes them understandable even across linguistic barriers. Yet the implications of emoji—their secret meanings—are constantly in flux, they keep on changing. The written language is often clumsy or awkward or problematic, for personal communications, especially when it’s sent using tiny screens, tapped out in real time.

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The beginning of writing started with pictorial drawing and their interpretation. First written symbols that began in our lives are pictures. Pictograms—i.e. pictures of actual things, like a drawing of the sun—were the very first elements of written communication, found in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China. From pictograms, which are literal representations, we moved to logograms, which are symbols that stand in for a word ($, for example) and ideograms, which are pictures or symbols that represent an idea or abstract concept. Modern examples of ideograms include the person-in-a-wheelchair symbol that universally communicates accessibility and the red-hand symbol at a pedestrian crossing that signals not “red hand” but “stops.”

One thing is sure that pictures, emojis have a definite advantage over written communication. I will tell you how I got confused in Germany, way back in 1984. I had gone to West Germany of those times. I was travelling back to the place of my stay in a small town called Menden, using the train system. I was required to change the trains at a couple of places. I saw one railway employee with a tag, “Information”. I was happy, finally, I found someone speaking English!  I went to the railway employee to seek the directions. Later I came to know that Information in German is pronounced as, Informatsionen! The person said, “Ich spreche kein Englisch”, which I assumed as “I don’t speak English” He held my hand, took me to the correct platform and pointed to me the direction! No Emojis!

 JoyEmoji

The Joy Emoji shown above, is referred  to as “Face With Tears of Joy” or “the LOL Emoji” (Emojis don’t have official names, just nicknames created by their users)— it dates back, in North America, to roughly 2011, when Apple put a readily accessible Emoji keyboard in iOS 5 for the iPhone. Which means that in a few years, Face With Tears of Joy ­vanquished the 3,000-year-old symbol “~” called Tilde, which is at the top left-hand corner of our keyboard. Tilde is used as a symbol for approximation. Let me tell you briefly about ~! It was one of the most common symbols used in written language for a long time but was overtaken by LOL in three years! That is the power of Emojis!

Then comes the issue, are Emojis the right way to communicate? I think so because when we communicate with each other on social media, it is more of an informal discussion. In our lives now social media communications are very large in volume. Formal work or business related communication is still a letter or an email! You may send an informal consent for a purchase order on WA, but will end with, “Purchase Order follows”.  Of course, there are personal feuds or lover’s tiffs that can happen on WhatsApp. Now I have passed that stage but had WA been available in my younger days, I would rather have used  Emojis. If I had to show my displeasure, I would have used 😕☹😒 instead of saying, “I am unhappy or sad because you said blah blah on phone!” This one sentence would lead to so much more exchange, of initially tough words, and maybe then harsh words. 🙂🙂

Spelling mistakes or deliberate spelling errors are part of communication. ध चा मा is a famous historical saying in Maratha history during the time of Peshwas. There was an order to धरा someone, means capture someone. ध चा मा means the letter ध was replaced by मा . The order became मारा, someone, means kill someone! Don’t be under the misconception that such errors can’t happen while replying using Emoji. The following Emojis are next to each other on the keyboard, 👏👄.  A young man wanted to appreciate what his female boss had achieved. By mistake, he sent 👄 EMoji instead of 👏. This was before, “delete message” facility in WhatsApp. Sheepishly he went to the boss to apologize. His boss said, “Meet me in the evening!” The office was almost empty when he went to her cabin. He was shocked when his boss replied to him with,😘😘 in person! Boss is always right!