What is the one thing that makes a technologist different? Why do some people have an affinity for technology and others struggle? What is it the comprises the difference between the two? First off it takes both kinds to make something work. The easiest technology solutions are there because people need to use something. The technologists huddle and come up with a device or gadgets that will solve the problem. The early adopters embrace it, but complain because it is not easy. So, the technologists go back to the drawing board and start over.
Then, over time the non-technologists the ones without the affinity, embrace it and begin to use this new capability. That’s when simplicity enters the equation. Why? Because the new users don’t have the natural affinity so they need to have the system made easier to use.
That transition from early adopters to mass market is where many devices fail. They, the device and they, the creator, never step into the next phase. Or they start to, but it never comes to fruition. They stay forever bound to the edge of the market, never fully entering the mass market. Now, the intriguing reality of this is that many devices that live in a blue ocean, (See Blue Ocean Strategy) never make it to the mass market. In effect, the blue ocean becomes a red ocean. They are forever bound to small markets with no capacity to move out of that market into mass appeal. It is when devices reach mass markets that they become stranded. It is also when competition creates the red market regardless of the uniqueness of the device.
People ask me all the time, what is next. What innovation will slide from the blue ocean of creation into the mass market (and eventually a red ocean of competition). I love that question because it opens so many doors. I hate the question because it is speculation on my part. I look over the horizon but I am like all people limited by my connection to the world around me. One of the things that I am interested in motion control. Voice control is interesting to me but limited in its overall effectiveness. Siri, Cortana, Google and Alexa all offer interesting takes on voice command. Leap, Microsoft, Oculus, Sony and Nintendo all offer interesting takes on motion. Motion and ultimately the immersive VR experience will continue to become more and more integrated. That point of integration is what I find interesting. The reality of compute however, when people ask me, always points back to the great problem. Neither Motion nor voice control can be used on a crowded train. Not without alerting the authorities about a crazy person talking to themselves, or waving and gesturing uncontrollably. Voice is best done in your home or car, although in your car you find the great failing of voice control ambient noise. Motion control is also best done in your home. The great flaw there, distance from the motion sensing camera.
The other things that drive me personally are cameras and scanners. The path to both of them is interesting. Digital images are beyond amazing. But the capabilities of cameras are also amazing. I have looked at a number of 360 degree cameras and have actually shared my opinion on several of them. They are the future. Although, many of them will not make the trip from possible to reality. And few of them will make the trip from fringe market to mass market. Scanners continue to evolve and change in the market. You can now, using a laser scanner measure distance and scan an object in 3d. Scanning in 3d aids both those seeking to create as well as those prototyping 3d objects. Print, scan and look for imperfections. There is a laser scanning pen you can use. There are also scanners that combined with their software can scan and translate text for you. The capabilities of both of course can be quickly moved to the cellular or smart phone platforms. The risk of course then is the reality of cellular phone memory. Oh, yeah and getting scans out of your cellular phone.
I’ve, in this post laid out of a couple of the natural leanings within my technology decisions. I am curious about motion and speech; I believe cellular phones are not the only camera we should be carrying and finally I am still stuck on the capabilities of cameras. All of this of course, comes together in how I evaluate technologies. What are your boundaries? What device would you like to see and touch, hold and carry in your go bag?