For whom the tech bell tolls: A compilation of endangered technologies today

For whom the tech bell tolls: A compilation of endangered technologies today

As we inch closer to the end of 2018, we look forward to what lies ahead. Apparently, so do many technology pundits who have identified certain technologies as going by way of the dodo. Are these experts canny observers of technology trends? Or are their predictions the equivalent of your daily horoscope — so generic, it applies to most? Who should we believe?

Happily, we at Online Computers have the experience and expertise to compile their predictions and rank them according to how frequent these technologies were mentioned on the “endangered” lists. Here they are, from the ones deemed most likely to disappear soon to the ones that may still hang around for a few more years.

Extinction level 1: Pull the plug

These technologies appeared in almost all the lists. It’s clear people have given up on them.

  • Disks & disk drive storage (including thumb drives) – Disks, disk drives, and thumb drives are used for storage and, especially with the last one, for sharing or transferring files. But when storing huge amounts of data, the cloud is the more convenient and reliable choice. Individual consumers may still want to hold on to their portable hard drives as backup, but that’ll become increasingly rare. As for file sharing, it’s faster and more convenient to use cloud-based services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive, and more.
  • Fax machines – The need to send a fax has diminished greatly. But faxing is still important; certain compliance regulations require protocols to ensure the safety and legality of documents. For example, under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), faxed documents are considered legally binding unlike, say, email attachments. What has changed is the mode of fax transmission. Before, fax was transmitted through a dedicated phone line; today, documents are sent via the cloud. Cloud faxing is faster, cheaper, and more convenient. So the fax machine as we know it is dead, but sending a fax has evolved.
  • Landline phones & extensions (plus pay phones) – One of the greatest technological inventions of the 19th century, the telephone is now destined to remain stuck in that era while the rest of the world moves on. Mobile and cloud-based phone systems (like Voice over Internet Protocol) allow accessibility regardless of location, weather, and time. AT&T gave up on the pay phone market in 2007. And 2016 was the first year that most homes in America had no landlines, only mobile phones.

Extinction level 2: Code red! Patient going into shock

These technologies appeared in more than one list, so many experts agree they are on their way out.

  • Computer mouse – Thanks to keyboard shortcuts and touchscreen technology, the mouse has become an unnecessary peripheral device. As devices become more intuitive, innovations will drive the mouse away.
  • Desktop printers – In an increasingly paperless world, printers have become unnecessary. Everything is now digitized. With the popularity of the cloud and mobile devices, you won’t need hard copies anymore. Perhaps the only ones to survive will be 3D printers.
  • Digital handheld camera and camcorder – Video may have killed the radio star, but smartphones and tablets are killing still and video cameras. Professionals will continue to use industry-grade video cameras, but commercial camcorders will fall by the wayside. Or they will go into niche markets, like GoPro’s point-of-view cameras.
  • Physical keyboards – The advances in touchscreen technology, predictive text, and speech recognition have made the keyboard a relic that will soon accompany its ancestor, the typewriter.

Extinction level 3: Nothing to do but wait

These technologies were mentioned in at least one of the lists, so it’s prudent not to stock up on them. Many of these are threatened by the smartphone, which incorporates a lot of these technologies into apps.

  • Alarm clocks – Most smartphones have an alarm clock, stopwatch, timer, and even a world clock built into them.
  • Calculators – Smartphones also have built-in scientific calculators.
  • CDs, DVDs, & Blu-Ray – Thanks to streaming services, music and movies do not need to be housed in a physical format anymore. Start building your own virtual libraries.
  • Desktop computers – Blame this too on the rise of laptops, smartphones, and tablets that are actually mobile mini-computers. It’s no wonder sales of personal computers have been on a steady decline for years.
  • Passwords – Because security is not enough with letters, numbers, and special characters, biometric passwords will become the norm.
  • Scanners – Scanners used to be as large as photocopiers; now they’ve been replaced by scanner apps on smartphones. But with digital documents and sharing platforms, the need for scanners will eventually disappear.
  • TV remote – As smartphones continue to co-opt the functions of a TV remote, voice commands may soon make physical devices unnecessary.

Technology today is evolving at a faster rate that ever before. If you don’t want to be overwhelmed with changes in technology and other IT concerns, then contact our experts at Online Computers. We offer managed IT services and solutions to businesses in and around Hanover, Morristown, and Madison. Leave the technology to us, so you can focus on succeeding in your business.

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