Recently, I was invited to speak at a technology conference in Delhi. During one of the breaks, a curious, young participant walked up to me and asked me a question that triggered a chain of thoughts in my mind. He asked me, ‘sir, in your opinion how much longer do you think our current banking system will survive when the government is pushing digital technology in such a determined manner?’
In the next few lines, let me expand on what I told the young man.
Over the years, modern technology has made our lives easy. But, increasingly, a lot of us are beginning to realise the downside of modern technology – those never-ending upgrades, frequent re-calibrations, the persistent need to move to better technology and to junk old technology. Clearly, all this is constantly driving our minds into a rather undesirable conflict zone.
The rumour mills are forever abuzz – our banking systems will become outdated, POS technology will soon become redundant… quickly upgrade to the new technology or you’ll fall way behind in life… and so on and so forth.
But, are things really that bad?
Let us examine the scenario from close quarters.
While nobody can deny that new technology invariably brings newer innovations and better benefits to the end user; it never really impacts the old technology in a big way.
Experience teaches us that with the advent of new technology, old technology often reinvents itself. It finds for itself new users, new paradigms and newer horizons.
In a fast-growing economy like India, with its ever-growing consumer base, it’s not difficult to find consumers of every hue, those who want new technology and those who are forever waiting for new technology to get a little older so that they can afford it. Companies that voluntarily shift to new technology and companies that warm up to older technology to stay relevant in the marketplace.
The truth is, technologies are beginning to coexist.
When Android OS was first launched, Apple’s iOS felt threatened. Today, both have consolidated their market shares and have not just survived but flourished.
In short, they have learnt to coexist.
There was a time when Television posed a serious threat to the Radio. No more. Radio has found a new consumer – the modern-day commuter living in a modern city who is forced to spend long hours on the road.
Many people, not many moons ago, predicted that internet will ring the death knell for newspapers. Today, internet, newspapers, online apps, news portals all happily coexist. Books and e-books coexist. Digital and traditional forms of payment live together in perfect harmony. The humble little fountain pen and those bulky paper diaries coexist with digital pens and styluses and digital notepads. The traditional scooter which threatened to go extinct a few years ago is back with a bang – looking youthful and trendier, appealing to a new set of consumers.
In fact, in our area of specialisation as well, both barcodes and RFID codes are quickly learning to coexist. And grow. At ESY, we are now experiencing how not only barcodes and RFID codes but also barcode scanners, POS machines, cloud-based systems are all coexisting, and thriving.
Clearly, coexistence is the new buzzword.
Innovations will keep pushing our technology frontiers but the human mind will continue to find ways to accommodate the old with the new. It will continue to stay positive and turn every conflict zone into a happy zone of coexistence.
Here’s hoping my answer satisfied the curious, young mind that day.
Author: Dr. V. P. Sajeevan, CEO, ESY India