The incandescent bulb born 130 years ago is on now its deathbed.
Very soon it will disappear from shops across the world. It has almost disappeared from Australia and Brazil, and in the very near future will make its final bow in Britain as well. Production has halted in Japan and the United States phasing it out and will soon burn out forever. In India, these bulbs are still available in many of our electrical stores, but by 2014, for sure it will not be produced in the world any more.
So if you are an antique collector, time is now.
Most of us know the reasons for retiring our venerable incandescent light bulb; it consumes too much of electrical power and is not energy efficient; 90 per cent of the energy it generates goes into producing wasted heat. There are many successors in wait to replace the good old light bulb. With the great strides made in LED lighting technology, there are going to be many new types of configurations of shapes and sizes that can fit into our homes and workplaces.
Now comes the question - What is the main difference between inventors in the past and today?
Thomas Edison or Marconi were mainly excited about the scientific breakthroughs and not worried about the longevity of their inventions or products.
But today’s inventors think of “Planned obsolescence”, right in the beginning. The retirement date of a technology or a product is pre-determined. Planned obsolescence stimulates demand by encouraging purchasers to buy sooner if they still want a functioning product. Built-in obsolescence is used in many different products, from vehicles to light bulbs, from buildings to proprietary software.
Predicting success of a technology is more difficult than predicting share prices. Also there is a striking similarity between movies and technologies. Some of the movies produced with top directors, actors, stories, great locations with lots and lots of money flop miserably, while some low budget simple movies (example – Sankarabaranam) become a great hit. So is the case with technologies.
Most talked about technologies like Alta vista, Digital diaries, PDAs, Netscape navigator, Windows Vista and satellite radios have failed to take off. Secure shell (SSH) has succeeded in the area of data security. iPod seems to be doing well, for now.
There is also an active debate as to which technology will succeed better– the Push technology or the Pull technology?
Push: These technologies deliver information to the user so all they have to do is receive it. Radio, television, and email are push technologies.
Pull: These technologies require the user to actively go and retrieve the information. A library, the Web, and the Usenet newsgroups are pull technologies, requiring active participation of a human being to retrieve the information.
It is predicted that the emerging “Cloud Computing” technology is going to present a new dimension to the business world.
To test if a technology will succeed or not, Microsoft uses a strategy of “throw it against the wall and see what sticks”.