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Most of our future lies ahead


In today's rapidly changing world, it is more important than ever for agencies and companies to adopt new technologies in order to stay competitive and innovative. I will admit this is much easier to write than it is to do. At my age I am skeptical of most new technologies just like I was of COVID and the COVID vaccine. I just do not adopt things quickly and I need a lot more data than most people. My wife on the other hand is NOT like me at all and practically jumps out of her chair when a new Apple commercial appears on the television.

With all that said, once something has been proven to me, I am not just an adopter. I tend to almost become an evangelist for the tech.


There are a lot of good reasons to avoid being an early adopter the greatest of which is to prevent from being ripped off by an unproven technology or concept. Once there is data or proven performance, it can still be difficult to become an adopter. New technologies can be expensive to purchase and implement. This can be a major barrier for small businesses and startups. While it is just ancient history now, imagine the angst felt by the first CEO who decided all of his employees needed to have cellular phones! I always imagine that guy died of a heart attack.

The first commercial cellular phone, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, was released in 1983 and cost $3,995. Yep, for all you little ones out there… FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS. That was a lot of money in 1983 and would be equivalent to $11,300 in 2023.


Now, that same company in 2023 experiences approximately $1200 per employee each year and enjoys increased productivity, reduced travel costs, improved customer service, and reduced costs of traditional communication methods.


Obviously there can be advantages to adopting new technologies but it can still be risky. New technologies can be complex and difficult to learn. This can be a challenge for employees who are already busy with their day-to-day work. To hire a vendor that offers a new technology or new technology-based service can be scary not knowing what the final product may be and there is always the chance that the results may require too much of your company’s time to understand the results.


Of course, there is also the simple risk that new technologies will not work as expected or that they will be incompatible with existing systems. This can make agencies, companies, and individuals hesitant to adopt new technologies.


If you can get past all of that, we return to what is perhaps the biggest reason and that is just the human resistance to change.

In addition to these general challenges, there are also a number of specific factors that can make it difficult for companies to adopt certain new technologies. For example, companies in regulated industries may have to comply with strict regulations that make it difficult to adopt new technologies. Agencyies may be bound to antiquated methds or technology by laws or regulations from commissions or even associations. Agencies and companies that rely on legacy systems may also find it difficult to adopt new technologies because their existing systems may not be compatible with the new technologies.


If your company or your agency is struggling to adopt new technology, keep in mind that you need to do your due diligence but Kodak was once a leading player in the photography industry. However, the company failed to adopt digital photography early on, and as a result, it lost market share to competitors such as Sony and Canon.


The story of Blockbuster is another heartbreaker. Blockbuster was once the dominant player in the video rental industry. However, the company failed to adopt streaming video early on, and as a result, it lost market share to competitors such as Netflix.

Since I already brought you back to 1983 and early cellular life, I would remiss to not bring up Nokia (I miss my flip phone!) who was once the leading manufacturer of mobile phones. However, the company failed to adopt smartphones early on, and as a result, it lost market share to competitors such as Apple and Samsung.


These examples show that even large and successful companies can struggle to adopt new technologies. This is because adopting new technologies can be a complex and challenging process. What brought this to my pen this week is that I have once again been challenged to adopt a new technology and have been researching its potential and reliability.


There are a number of things that companies can do to overcome the challenges of adopting new technologies including investing in training their employees on the new technology. This will help employees to learn how to use the new tech and to understand the benefits of using it.


While I consider myself to be an innovative creature, those who know me best would not say I cultivate an innovative culture when it comes to technology. Agencies and companies should at least attempt to create a culture of innovation where staff is encouraged to try new things and to experiment with new technologies.

And now we get to the part I am dealing with personally at the moment. Partnering with technology vendors. Agencies and companies can partner with technology vendors to get help with implementing and using new technologies but you have to be willing to listen. When you find the right vendor, you will have found the right people that can help walk you into your new future.


In addition to these general steps, there are also a number of specific things that agencies and companies can do to overcome the challenges of adopting certain new technologies. For example, companies in regulated industries can work with regulators to develop new regulations that allow them to adopt new technologies.


Agencies can likewise move to change regulations, protocols, and procedures that might new tech from being adopted or approved. It is always wise to invest at least a minimum into your legacy systems to update them so that they can be compatible as times and products change. Stay aware of new tech as it comes out, and pay attention to what other agencies and companies are starting to utilize. Conferences and expos are fantastic ways to get a glimpse into what is coming toward you.


Keep in mind that history does not have to repeat itself. Waiting too long or being stubborn can leave you as another Kodak, Blockbuster or Nokia, but the future could be very bright and you could be the next Amazon, Netflix or Tesla.


Amazon has been a leader in adopting new technologies. The company was one of the first to adopt cloud computing, and it has also been a leader in adopting artificial intelligence and machine learning. Netflix has done extremely well in adopting new technologies. The company was one of the first to adopt streaming video, and it has also been a leader in adopting new video compression technologies.


It goes without saying that Tesla is not hurting because of new tech. Tesla has been a leader in adopting new technologies in the automotive industry and was one of the first to develop electric vehicles. It has also been a leader in adopting self-driving car technology. While I am not sure about either of those two things yet, Tesla’s advancement cannot be denied.

These examples show that it is possible for agencies and companies to successfully adopt new technologies. However, it requires careful planning and execution.


Adopting new technologies can be a challenge for agencies and companies of all sizes. However, by understanding the challenges and taking steps to overcome them, you can increase your chances of success. By adopting new technologies, you can stay competitive and innovative in the ever-changing worlds of emergency services or business.


Here are some additional tips for those of you that are struggling to adopt new technologies:

  • Start small: Don't try to adopt too many new technologies at once. Start with a few small projects and gradually expand your use of new technologies over time.

  • Choose the right technologies: Make sure that the new technologies that you choose are a good fit for your agency's needs or your company’s goals. Don't just adopt new technologies because they are popular or because others are using them.

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