As we kick off the 2014 calendar year, one of the key lessons that sticks with me from recent years past is that the road ahead is shorter than it used to be. The modern age of technology has vastly changed the world we live and work in, and the pace of this change is feverish.
The cellphone is the obvious example to turn to when considering how fast technology is changing the dynamic. Admittedly, I was one of those curmudgeons who held onto his flip phone for longer than most just to make the point that the smart phone was unnecessary. But as my emails began to pile up during off hours, I soon found myself with iPhone in hand, and I can’t imagine how I survived so long without it. Yet the time before smart phones and email was only a short while ago.
Industry is historically conservative and slow to adopt new technology, but the age of high-tech is now knocking at industry’s door. The changes we’ve seen over the past 10 years in the business and consumer segments are now making their way toward the plant floor. Buzzwords like mobile, virtualization, cloud computing, and cybersecurity are commonplace at today’s industrial trade shows and end-user meetings. And much like we’ve seen in the consumer and business markets over the last decade, I believe the industrial organizations who are able to adapt and assimilate their systems to effectively leverage high-tech will survive, and those who do not will fall.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of technological change today is that it continues to change and evolve. Take for example the world of publishing; our business is changing so much and so quickly that we now enter the product development process knowing that the content-delivery mechanisms we introduce today will likely be irrelevant in 2–3 years. For an industry that relied on the same primary business and delivery models for 250 years, this pace of change is, I have to say, hard to keep up with. But it is the reality of operating in a world led by high-tech, so we’re doing our best to turn the technological changes (challenges) we face to our advantage.
Having learned the lessons of working in an industry that has seen its fair share of change over the past 10 years, my advice to those working in industry is to not waste time resisting the changes that the age of high-tech brings with it. Instead, do your best metaphorical judo to turn the unavoidable and overpowering force of technology to your advantage.
Thanks for your readership,
— Matt Migliore, Director of Content