Thursday, May 08, 2014

The Delayed Dozen. Forget the term "technology disruption." In reality hot trends take more than a decade to get noticed.

Back in the year 2000 I was working with Nokia's smart home unit. There were researchers developing Bluetooth-controlled lights, home-control tablets, connected refrigerators, internet connected televisions. I met people in other parts of the company working on the e-wallet, mobile couponing, and location-based social networking. You know, all the stuff making headlines now. It was all there then. But the molasses of reality can cause a sticky mess.

This is the way trends work. They take more than a decade to work their way through the system. In my experience, 12 years is the average time. All the pieces have to be perfectly in place and, most importantly, consumers have to be ready. The end user is always the unknown variable in the equation. The big X to isolate.

Yes, rolling out new devices and services can be a complex formula. The technology enablers are the easy bits to spot early on. Things are proposed, researched, developed, standardized, funded, and shown at TED -- all before reaching the mainstream media.

So what's the rage now? Why wearables of course. And mobile wellbeing. And life logging. But please check out some of the devices from Polar from more than 10 years ago. PC-connected watches which tracked and collected data on your running and walking distance, pace, altitude, temperature, heart rate. Yes, I'm sorry to break it to you but this smart watch stuff is really nothing new at all. We know Apple has been assembling a high-caliber wearables team since at least 2010. We know that the companies which make the sensors and other components have been pushing their goods for years before that.

Technology trends have long and sometimes painful gestation periods. And then they crawl before they can walk. But then they begin to run.

This figures. Smart watches? A brand new hot trend? No, these things take time.

No comments: