Posted by: mikepearsonnz | October 14, 2009

There’s more to Technology than Information and Communication

Many people I talk to find it surprising that I scan all technology news, not just Information and Communication technology news.

I believe that we need to give the word “Technology” more importance.

It is common these days, to hear that we must use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to increase our country’s productivity.   It’s important enough that we have a Minister of Communications and Information Technology.   I agree that we can become more productive by using technology to handle information and communications.

However, technology has a broader concept.  Wikipedia defines technology as “that [which] deals with human as well as other animal species’ usage and knowledge of tools and crafts, and how it affects a species’ ability to control and adapt to its environment.

We take “Technology” too much for granted, and we need to give it more importance.  Wordle: MoRST Statement of Intent 2009-2012We have a Minister responsible for Research, Science & Technology.    A Wordle analysis of the MoRST Statement of Intent suggests “Technology” has a lower emphasis.

Large organisations understand this.  They often have a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) responsible for assessing any new and emerging technologies that can improve their business.  For example, an airport CTO will care about ICT, but they will also care about escalator technology and baggage handling technology.

Small organisations should understand this, but often don’t.  Poor technology investment decisions can add up to thousands of dollars a year of lost productivity and increased expenses.

Here are a couple of non-ICT examples, to get you thinking about how technology can make your business more productive:

Diesel technology

By my estimates, it will cost you $90 to fill a diesel car; whereas it is only $76 to fill a petrol car.   But a diesel car goes significantly futher than a petrol car; therefore it costs 27% less for a diesel car to travel the same distance.  There are other  benefits related to productivity, such as less labour costs involved in fueling vehicles or processing fuel transactions; less frequent downtime for service due to longer service intervals.

Why don’t we see greater uptake of diesel technology?

Hand Dryer Technology

Everyone has to dry their hands!  Do you use a paper towel or a hand dryer?

Hand dryers are a much better option for public toilets than paper towels.   They eliminate the associated labour costs for ordering, storing, replenishing dispensers, collecting and disposing of paper towels.   That saving can translate into thousands of dollars a year, in larger public facilities like schools.

Most users will usually opt for the paper towel, because hand dryers usually take 30-45 seconds to dry hands and often don’t do a complete job.   I suggest that the problem isn’t the technology, but the choice of hand dryer.  Properly designed hand dryers, such as the Xlerator Dryer or Dyson Air Blade are upto is 3 times faster (10-15 seconds) than conventional hand dryers, and consequently use 80% less energy.

A more effective hand dryer technology implementation can increase user productivity.  🙂

Don’t limit yourself to information technology – use TECHNOLOGY to increase our country’s productivity.


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