The evolution of technology has not been great. Not for me. Like many others, I remember watching the first moon landing on television in the 1960s which left me wondering in amazement about what we would be able to achieve in my lifetime. I watched science fiction TV series in the late 1960s, I think one was called “UFO”, which featured futuristic cars, a moon-base from which aliens were shot down. According to the titles the series was set in the year 1980. It seemed like a long time into the future, and I couldn’t wait. I wanted to be a part of it, so set on my career path studying electronics and then later computing. 1980 came and went. Cars changed a little, but not as much as had been promised to the young Michael. Disappointment. It was right about this time that I learned about the power of economics.
Many examples do exist today though of technology today that did not exist say 30 years ago, except in the minds of the best science fiction writers and TV/Movie producers who did seem to have a pretty good idea of what was coming, it was really just the “when” that was a bit out.
Gaining knowledge of science, mathematics, electronics, computing and now business, you would have thought the young Michael would be more at one with the world, and have more realistic expectations. Wrong!
Technology in the world does move forward, continuously. It is not a smooth process, it moves in fits and starts. Just when you think everything is “boring”, something interesting comes along.
It comes to the question then, when there is the technology available and there is a business case, why do we not take it? If something can be shown to be of value to a business, and industry or the world as a whole, why not go for it? I guess the answer is “momentum”. Things move around us, paradigms are set, everyone is comfortable doing what they are doing. Early adopters face risk, pioneers face the arrows in the backs. What does it take then to change the paradigm, to really move things forward? I guess it is like a pressure. It builds up over time as ideas come along, small changes are seen until suddenly, a critical mass is reached and everyone wants to or even needs to change, urgently. It can be a product like a mobile phone, the Walkman, the iPad, or even the electric car, though on second thoughts, maybe not this last one, don’t get me started talking about batteries….
I recently wrote an article focussed on the “New Paradigm For Design Through Manufacturing” where we suggest the blindingly obvious idea of linking intelligent data in design with intelligent systems in manufacturing and assembly with an intelligent data format in between them. Apparently, though the tools have been there for some time, the critical mass is still to burst upon us. The current momentum is still to being hi-tech products into the market by giving critical product design to manufacturing in the form of little more than a 1980s plotted drawing. What is the industry thinking? Who is benefiting from the momentum here. Certainly not the designers, manufacturers, assemblers or indeed the customers. Frustration! I want to pay less for the latest technology products that I buy, and I want them to work perfectly every time. Writing the design down on a piece of paper, then expecting someone in China to take time to reverse engineer it? Are you serious? If you are one of these people doing this, please go to http://www.odb-sa.com/ and at least let’s get one little piece of this momentous world sorted out.