Outdated Technologies – and Their Modern Replacements

Technology improves our lives and business rapidly, but it takes time for outdated technologies to become entirely obsolete.

By: Brian Gaysunas

It’s no secret that technology has advanced rapidly in the past 2 decades. Technologies have become obsolete and replaced, but some still hang on despite their flaws. It takes years for a new technology to be adopted as the modern standard, often because we’re not ready to try something new. For example, despite being introduced in the mid-1990s, ownership of DVD players didn’t top VCRs until 2006. We don’t always see how a technology could improve the current standard. The following technologies are either completely obsolete or on their way out:

 

Forklifts

Although driven forklifts still exist, automated alternatives are assumed to take over. As warehouse managers shift their focus to improving warehouse efficiency and productivity to allow for a more automated system, automated forklifts have ballooned in popularity. Information including orders for shipping can be sent directly to the forklifts, which immediately carry out the necessary actions. The need to communicate what a load contains and where it should be placed is narrowed down to inputting information.

 

Phone booths

Phone booths are among the easiest old technologies to pick on. They were once on every street but now can’t be found anywhere. When only landline phones existed, phone booths were about the only way you could make a call while you were out of the house. As soon as cell phones were introduced, things looked dicey for phone booths. Even then it took decades for the cell phone to become widespread in the public, and even longer for phone booths to completely disappear. Now that cell phones are in virtually every pocket and phone booths are no longer around, it did take years and years until the public stopped holding onto phone booths.

 

Wired technologies

Just as phones became wireless, other technologies we’re familiar with moved away from wires. Connection to the Internet went a step above from broadband and dialup to ethernet, then to the modern standard of Wi-Fi. Wireless internet connection has even extended beyond the home, allowing for Internet access from just about anywhere. Computer screen mirroring, which used to be only made possible through VGA or HDMI cables, can now be accomplished through technologies like AirPlay and Daily.co. More technologies have gone wireless to set us free from wires tying us down.

 

Job boards

The shift away from traditional job postings to online job boards began in the 1990s, and online job boards have quickly become the first place job seekers turn to. Recruiters are now overwhelmed by the number of applicants for positions and run into an overabundance of applications. Sifting through hundreds to thousands of resumes and cover letters can immediately leave some qualified candidates out of the process simply due to volume. Free alternatives to job boards are becoming more popular, especially those that automate part of the recruitment process. tilr is a service that finds the right workers for a business, eliminating the time it takes to review resume applications and conduct interviews.

 

Real-time customer service

Customer service has also moved towards automation. Speaking with live customer support still exists, both on the phone and online, but users are often fed up with being transferred to others during the process. Chatbots have streamlined the process for communication with a company by sorting users to pair them with the right representative. Chatbots can sort interested users into separate categories by asking a few questions – depending on how a person answers, they are determined to be past customers, businesses interested in a demo, users with a bug, or any other type of interested user. The evolution of chatbots has led to the use of customer data, including past orders and suggested purchases.

 

 

If history is any indication, technology evolves at a rate much faster than we adopt it. Although they may not be evident now, there are flaws in the technologies we use every day and improvements can be made. A new technology with higher quality, improved efficiency, or wider applications is the sign of progress.