Technology editor Ben Potter brings you the latest in technology news, and how you can apply it to farming.
5 Technologies About to Disappear
Jan 10, 2014
Technology can move fast – fast enough it often leaves older tech outdated. Today’s hot new tech can become tomorrow’s historical curiosity. Just ask the lowly floppy disc or the 8-Track.
Time Magazine has projected five tech products that will be extinct in five years. Here they are, with some commentary on how their absence might affect farming.
1. Blu-ray/DVD players, because the future is in streaming content online or even over your television. As streaming content becomes higher quality and more prevalent, the mighty Blu-ray is destined to start collecting dust next to VCR players. (Interestingly enough, 58% of U.S. households still have a VCR player.) Will it affect farming? Not majorly so. But high-quality streaming content will likely come much more slowly to rural areas, so farm households will hold onto their DVD and Blu-ray players longer than their urban and suburban counterparts.
2. Stand-alone in-car GPS units, because the future is in asking your smartphone for directions instead. After smartphones started offering GPS capabilities in 2008, they have killed 15% to 20% of GPS units’ market share annually. Will it affect farming? Yes, any truck or farm vehicle with these units will feel a small impact. Many newer models come with built-in GPS capabilities already, however.
3. Dial-up Internet, because the future is in broadband. Pew Research notes that just 3% of Americans use dial-up today (a number also cited by AgWeb’s annual audience poll), down from a peak of 41% in 2001. Broadband use has hovered around 65% for the past few years. Will it affect farming? If you use dial-up, it will, but not to worry. The FCC’s Connect America Fund hopes to bring broadband to 7 million Americans who cannot currently receive it. Plus, new viable alternatives such as satellite Internet, along with cable company expansions, will help to bridge the gap.
4. Low-end digital cameras, because the future is in smartphone snaps. If you’ve bought a smartphone in the past two years, chances are it takes as good or better photos than a sub-$200 point-and-shoot digital camera. Nikon, Canon and Sony are expected to shift focus to mid- and high-end markets over the next five year. Will it affect farming? Doubtful. Hopefully, you are already using your smartphones to capture photos of in-field problems and emailing them to your agronomist, or geo-tagging them to a farm management app so you can address them later yourself.
5. Car keys, because they will be replaced by smart keys that allow for keyless entry and push-to-start buttons. And that in turn could be replaced with your smartphone. A mobile app called OnStar RemoteLink from Chevrolet already allows you to unlock and start your car. Will it affect farming? Probably – many in-cab tractor features started their life cycles in consumer motor vehicles before trending over into farm equipment. Smart keys shouldn’t be any different.