The adage “what goes up must come down” applies to various situations, including the technology industry. Following decades of phenomenal growth, astounding achievements, and impressive moonshot initiatives, external factors are convergently driving tech companies away from the fantastic and towards the practical. The leaders of each company have had to be adaptable and make some difficult choices, such as firing employees, using advertising funds more wisely, and quitting pet projects. These developments may appear to be a step back for technology companies. However, it produces goods that can enhance the lives of consumers and businesses.
The Boring Tech Trend: What Is It?
While flashy innovations like flying cars make headlines, they are only sometimes practical or operational now. Even if they were, there would be issues, such as safety and privacy concerns. The opposite is also true: boring technology is merely helpful. Examples include business productivity solutions, systems that allow city operators to manage municipal resources, and applications that allow consumers to pay their bills easily. These solutions could be more exciting, but they are extremely functional. Many technology companies are shifting their focus towards developing such solutions and away from projects with more hype and a higher risk of failure.
Deep technology, also known as functional or critical technology, is another aspect of boring technology. According to the business website Maddyness, “Deep tech firms are those that sit directly behind—or many layers below—the consumer technologies we rely on daily.”. As a result of their greater stability and boredom, businesses that innovate in these fields tend to be less exciting than those that use them as the basis for flashy applications.
Factors That Contribute
Aside from market factors such as lower valuations and earnings, some observers believe the boring tech trend results from tech leaders wanting to abandon their pet projects for various reasons. This tech-meets-fashion phenomenon has become so popular that an Instagram account called Wired It Girls has emerged.
In some cases, wired headphones can be considered a fashion statement. In other cases, it could be a pragmatic decision conveying to tech professionals that sometimes simpler is better.
Global Health Technology
Some people are already responding to these questions as society considers them because issues like these are receiving more attention. The Global Environment Monitoring System for Air (GEMS Air), the largest air pollution network in the world, is one of the digital tools that both public and private sector actors can use to improve climate conditions. UNEP is currently running several of these solutions. According to the article, over 50 million users accessed the platform in 2020, whose data is sent to digital billboards in real-time to alert people about air quality. The program’s operators hope to share this information with health apps.
Privacy and Technology
Tech companies are also utilizing their resources to address privacy concerns. Google’s Privacy Sandbox is an initiative to make the internet more private. It aims to replace outdated tools like third-party cookies and invasive tracking, which provide free information and convenience in exchange for collecting and sharing private information. By developing new technologies, the initiative hopes to achieve the same advantages without the related drawbacks. For instance, a recent Privacy Sandbox news article states it is “collaborating with the ad industry to transition to new private ad technologies and deprecating support for third-party cookies in Chrome.”
Not Everything Is Boring
Overall, the tech industry may be focusing on less dynamic products. But that doesn’t mean nothing exciting is going on. In today’s environment, the following technologies are on the rise:
There’s a reason why AI news is everywhere, and that reason is that AI is everywhere. The personalization of the shopping and learning experiences, the use of virtual assistants to assist educators, the support of autonomous vehicles, the improvement of facial recognition, inventory management, the identification and hiring of new employees, the improvement of agricultural practices, the enhancement of public safety, and the making of medical diagnoses are examples of practical applications. Numerous other applications for AI should be mentioned here.
Blockchain supports many applications, including cryptocurrency, which experienced peak volatility in 2022, losing more than $2 trillion. However, there are still practical applications for blockchain, such as the potential for faster money transfers between banks, the creation of smart contracts, the management of the sale of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and more.
Analytics in business.
Businesses can use analytics to gain insights to help them make the best decisions based on reliable data. Organizations, for example, can determine the best location to open a new location, the 20 most popular products last year or quarter, the number of staff needed for each shift, and the best time for buying raw materials.
Because technology has developed to the point where, for many businesses, this option is more accessible, practical, and secure than hosting these services in-house, running platforms, applications, and development environments in the cloud has become more popular. Cloud offerings enable businesses to use only the bandwidth they require and to ramp up or ramp down usage as needed easily. Cloud services handle hardware maintenance and upgrades automatically.
Horizon Worlds, Meta’s metaverse, is progressing slower than some expected. It is, however, far from the only player on this pitch. So far, the most successful metaverses have been games like Fortnite and Roblox, with plenty of room for expansion, particularly in work, socializing, and gaming.
The Wall Street Journal states, “A new wave of more capable and demonstrably useful robots is on its way, as technologies like machine learning and computer vision mature.” Welding, hazardous material handling, machine tending, painting, assembly, and other manufacturing processes are all handled by robots.
While tech companies may be disappointed by the shift from flashy to mundane, almost everyone else benefits: Investors prefer boring technology because it is the foundation for consistent growth and stability. Furthermore, fewer startups are entering the market, so they have an easier time identifying truly promising ones to invest in. Customers and companies like boring technology because the products being developed are useful and serve them in various ways. Boring technology benefits society because the advances being developed now may serve as the foundation for bigger and better things to come. While imagining the possibilities for high-wow technologies like flying cars is exciting, many innovations that help us work and live our daily lives are more mundane.