The technology life cycle shows the journey your technology takes. From it’s exciting birth and growth; to its inevitable decline and eventual death – it’s a foregone conclusion your technology won’t last forever!
Either a new product enters the fray and forces you to adapt, or the demands on the current model increase and pushes you to introduce incremental updates of the current offering. In any case, understanding the technology life cycle helps you predict when you’ll be able to recover the investment you put into it development, and when to plan for new projects.
Lets a take a look at the four stages to get a better idea of what to expect and what to do.
The Four Stages Of The Technology Life Cycle
The Intro Stage
You’re still building it, and a Beta version is ready to be tested by early adopters. This is also known as the “bleeding edge”, it’s when revenues are low and you’re pouring money into its development – most likely out of your own pocket.
What to do: Get early adopters on board and get as much feedback as possible. Hone out all the bugs and get ready to ship it.
The Growth Stage
This is where you’ve moved from beta to launching the product. And where your initial has been recovered. Here you’ll want to take advantage of the newness of the technology and start creating some hype. Ideally you want to get covered by all the major blogs to grow your user base and expand your distribution to more people.
What to do: Start engaging journalists on social media and send them news tip about your amazing technology. For a list of the top technology and startup blogs check out: My Top 29 Favorite Tech and Startup Blogs
The Maturity Stage
Good news! This is a stage your technology is being accepted by the public. The bad news? The market has reached a saturation point where competitors have caught up. And revenue slows down as your technology becomes a commodity.
What to do: Maintain public interest in your technology. Start working on incremental improvements. Such as, giving it a software update, bumping up the specifications and redesigning it. At the same time, start thinking where the market is heading and work on new projects to make the next stage less bumpy.
Take smartphones for example; every year Apple, Samsung and HTC refresh their flagship devices to attract more sales and maintain revenue levels.
The Inevitable Decline Stage
This is what everybody dreads. The inevitable decline. Or more appropriately the death stage. This is a stage where you’ll see a decrease in sales or the emergence of a replacement technology. Here you’ll reach a point of no return, where further development is not profitable. For example Nokia’s mobile operating system Symbian was the cream of the crop for many years, that is until Google and Apple entered the market with Android and iOS respectively.
What to do: Phase out the current technology and move resources to a new project that yields more profits.
Despite all the hard work and sleepless nights – the technology you built so passionately eventually becomes obsolete. Fortunately there’s always an opportunity to build upon your success and develop something new and better than your previous achievements.
The technology life cycle represents the business side of things here. But consumers should not be neglected either. After all, it’s their willingness to adopt new technology that will determine your success.
What was your favorite technology that eventually reached the end of its life? Mine was the Tamagotchi.