Hello and thanks for reading.
While I am writing this, I am at the auto dealership having some work done. For the most part, the idea of doing work on your own car is becoming a distant memory, as cars are filled a ton of technology that requires complex equipment and training to work on.
This is a common concern for many when it comes to technology ... are we making things too complex without seeing enough benefit? If adding a bit of complexity makes things last longer or safer, it is likely a good idea. However, in the age of IoT, this is not always the case. We are seeing products cost much more than their “dumb” counterparts and consumers are not seeing a reason to upgrade.
It is for that reason that I truly love simple technology. In the past, I have written about my love for my home rowing machine, the Concept 2. Like it sounds, you row on it. It has some technology that allows you to see how you are doing during the row and to record different activities for comparison. The company has done a great job in providing an easy to use experience, in addition to producing a well-built machine.
This contrasts to a new coffeemaker that I bought that was so complex, I had to actually (gasp) read the user manual just to make the first cup of coffee. It had multiple layers of menus for many items that most would not use ever.
This is especially important for products that may have an appeal to the elderly market, who often are not as technology savvy as the younger generations. Enter products like the GrandPad tablet ... this interesting product takes much of the complexity out of connecting to the Internet for your loved ones. It uses cellular, so no need to set up/run Wi-Fi in their homes and has easy to understand menus. While this product may not appeal to everyone (many will find the iPad an easy to use choice), hats off to those trying to make things simple.
I think many manufacturers need to take a step back and ask ... how can we take out complexity out of our product, or can we produce a simpler version for those who “just what stuff it work.”