When Apple’s new iPhone 5 debuted in September, I wasn’t one of the zealous fans standing in line. At best, I was apathetic, bordering on the slightly annoyed.
Of course the newest model is even better than the last one. It goes without saying that the new features are impressive. But the rapid pace of technological innovation has become so consistent that it’s almost tiresome. Keeping up is virtually impossible. The best one can do, it seems, is to try not to fall too far behind.
It isn’t just Apple, or even smartphones in general. We could just as easily be talking about total stations, GPS equipment, laser scanners or processing software. When there’s too much hype about “the next best thing,” it’s easy to get burned out on technology as a whole. And therein lies the danger. Being reactive rather than proactive about any changing situation can eventually lead to anxiety, frustration and stagnation.
In her recent GeoDataPoint article “Five Tips for Avoiding Technology Burnout,”* Laura Crook, advanced technologies consultant for Stanger Surveying in Tyler, Texas, notes that trying to keep up is the wrong approach. Instead, “every business should have a strategy that takes into account the goals of the business and adopts a realistic pace of change,” she says, pointing out that a proactive approach can help professionals stay current in a way that makes sense for their business and their clients.
Developing a successful strategy requires an understanding of market trends and, even more importantly, the needs of your specific clients. Are you working with architects and contractors who could benefit from building information modeling (BIM), similar to the approach used on the Wyoming Middle School project (see page 30)? If so, then laser scanning technology and modeling software might be on your wish list. Surveyors who collect and work with cadastral information or infrastructure project data will likely want to keep an eye on digital data management systems, which is the theme of several articles in this issue (see pages 11, 22 and 38). Projects that demand absolute perfection will undoubtedly benefit from some of the latest robotic total stations and data collectors (see page 14). And professionals seeking to apply their skills in the mining industry would do well to watch trends in laser profiling and borehole geometry surveying (see page 36).
As Ralph Nieto, co-owner of Nieto Whittaker Surveying, discovered, a timely technology investment can even lead to a change in attitude. “Now that we’re … finding all these extra capabilities, we want to get to the next level of survey work and expand our services and client base,” he said (see page 34).
“The next big thing” will always be right around the corner. With the right strategy, you might just find yourself viewing these advances in a whole new light.
* See www.geodatapoint.com/articles/view/five_tips_for_avoiding_technology_burnout.
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