Are Too Many Gadgets Draining Our Batteries? - The UpStream

Are Too Many Gadgets Draining Our Batteries?

posted Sunday Dec 18, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Are Too Many Gadgets Draining Our Batteries?

Probably most people have asked themselves at certain times, when is enough, enough? We live in a world that is cannibalized by digital devices which brings along with them a world of connectivity to a torrent of streaming, real-time information. It could be like draining your battery from both poles. Consumers are bombarded by technology, that is essential for life in the civilized world, at an ever increasing pace. Also, consumers have to determine if they should invest their resources in upgrading technology on a continual basis. Does version x.xx of y device actually provide value that justifies upgrading from an existing device or does it merely offer a few more optimizations that produce marginal returns? Underwriters Laboratories conducted a study in search of an answer that culminated in a 42 page report so we'll just cover the results.

The study revealed some findings that someone could infer from common sense as well as some that are less obvious and maybe a little surprising. Health and location of parts manufacturing were surprisingly notable. Over half, 55% of the 1200 consumers from 4 countries that participated in the study noted that where products are assembled isn't as concerning as where the parts are manufactured. This could have to do with both health and economic reasoning but consumers also seemed to be weary of an ever greater exposure to radio waves with the proliferation of WiFi devices.

The analogy of draining our battery from both poles might be surprisingly true with regards to gadget fatigue, as the study concluded that the major problem is a combination of too much innovation and a lack of innovation all at once. "Speed to market" is something that is valued more here by consumers than in other countries and that doesn't change the fact that innovations in design, testing and manufacturing have significantly decreased product cycles. Also companies feel more pressure to compete, which can result in the annual churning out of products with a few tweaks or features that are represented as an entirely new innovative product, like what Apple does. This refers back to the value proposition in the beginning: there has to be a balance between perceived value to the consumer and just being innovative with crap. As a tech savvy consumer yourself, do you ever feel drained keeping up with all your current and future potential devices?

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