07 Apr Three mainstream technologies you should not ignore
I am a technophile. I like big ideas and small microchips.
In dictionary terms, it means I have an insatiable enthusiasm for technology, especially computers and high technology. In real-life terms, it means that I obsess over a wide array of unnecessary, overpriced gadgets that end up in my basement aside X.10 cameras, a commercial-strength FM transmitter kit, a few pinball machines, some full-sized arcade video games and a pile of last year’s gadgets de jour.
Second only to the frustration of my wife when the UPS guy arrives, is my own frustration when mainstream technologies go unnoticed.
Technologies come and go — admittedly, most of them go. But if you’re not using the following three technologies now, your thinking is already outdated:
Think outside the box
MP3 players have been around a long time, as evidenced by the collection of them I’ve built over the past three years. MP3 players are here to stay: Buy one now. Satisfied with your portable CD player? Buy one anyway. You need to understand the impact MP3 players have on music distribution firsthand.
MP3 players represent a fundamental shift in the way music and other digital files are bought, sold and traded. Albums and liner notes are being replaced by interactive Web sites. Each song track now stands on its own. Don’t like a song? Don’t buy it.
But MP3 players aren’t really about music, they are about distribution. MP3 players and DVD writers have pushed peer-to-peer, file compression and streaming audio/video technology forward at a staggering rate.
Say goodbye to e-mail
E-mail isn’t going away, but it’s taking a backseat to instant messaging. The prevalence of spam, e-mail marketing and voicemail have made instant messaging the most effective way to communicate.
Think instant messaging is for teens? Think again. One of my clients, an international insurance company, uses Microsoft Instant Messenger to conduct daily business. Why? Because instant messaging equals instant results. With instant messaging, you know immediately if someone is available. You can get what you need from them and move on. No voicemail. No e-mail. No delay.
E-mail replaced the letter; instant messaging has replaced the phone call.
If your company is still doing all its business by phone and e-mail, it’s behind the competition. Get an AOL, MSN, Jabber, ICQ or Yahoo instant messenger account. Better yet, get all of them and configure a single program to manage all your instant messaging accounts.
Cut the chord
Between the place you live and the place you work, you pass through dozens of wireless access points. Even without them, people are browsing the Internet and instant messaging (see above) via their cell phones.
Mobile data usage is on the rise. Wireless carriers are investing in infrastructure, including mobile broadband networks. In addition, WiFi continues to exceed expectations as large-enterprise deployments are anticipated to grow in 2004. Because you’re no longer disconnected as you move among locations in a WiFi world, the value of laptops and PDAs to your business has grown exponentially.
Wireless is taking shape as the primary way to capture, disseminate and interact with information.
Watch the horizon
MP3 players, instant messaging and wireless technology aren’t cutting edge — they are mainstream. Understanding what they represent is necessary for individuals and a cost of doing business. If you’re not comfortable with these technologies, even if you don’t use them on a regular basis, your thinking is already outdated.
Find the idea of learning about these technologies uncomfortable? Letting yourself, or your company, become obsolete will be worse.
Troy Janisch is president and founder of the Icon Interactive Group (www.iconinteractive.com), an industry leader helping companies integrate Internet and other Interactive media into sales channels, marketing strategies, and overall branding. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, & do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.