" ITREALMS: Technology & service delivery blues

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Technology & service delivery blues

Features of the week:

Telecommunications is embedded in technology and consumers are lamenting disappointment emanating from various technological tools in the market today, reports REMMY NWEKE.

TECHNOLOGY experts have said that it has changed the way we live, talk, transact businesses and even eat. But investigations revealed that the more these technologies are the more human beings’ trust on them and the frustrations that follows thereby increases.

Undelivered SMS

Watching the popular ‘When You’re Mine’ English series of a Mexican soap opera last weekend on one of the nation’s television stations, one take-home point was the inability of technology to deliver an emergency Short Messaging Service (SMS) sent by Ms Paloma to her love-bird, Diego, to inform him of her mother, Soledad’s road accident, which inadvertently encroached on their date.

About 24 hours later this message was yet to be delivered, and one could read the thoughts in Paloma’s mind and the confusion Diego found himself; waiting endlessly in a restaurant as earlier planned prior to the accident.


Then came an upcoming Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enthusiast of several years and a field officer in one of the communication companies in the city of Lagos, Mr. Kaycee Kanyisolu.

He has a report to present to the management of his organization after a weeklong engagement in Enugu, the former capital of Eastern Nigeria.

Kaycee on return a day before the date for the presentation had worked tirelessly throughout the night to ensure every thing were in their right places from his Personal Computer (PC) at home, so that in the morning, he would simply take the copy of the report in a flash disk to his office for the report.

Unfortunately for him, there was a rainfall the previous evening, hence his Internet Service Provider (ISP) via dial-up, went down and he was unable to connect to the Internet, so as to send the report to his electronic mail (e-mail), as a caution in the event of any eventuality.

So, he simply copied the report in his new Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 and headed for the meeting only to discover that none of the PCs numbering over 10 could open the file in the USB, including two new PCs.

Initially perplexed, Kaycee was advised on the possibility of going back home and copying the report on another storage device, may be, this time a floppy disk or yet another flash disk.

Still mourning the disappointment by the new flash disk, his colleague Taiwo Jide, was earnestly searching for Kaycee as the in-house techie to advice on his Global System for Mobile (GSM) phone which has suddenly went off.

According to Taiwo, he first experienced this self switch-off on his mobile phone few days back while attending an international conference in far away South Africa.

At the beginning, the thinking was that the battery was probably down. So on return, he promptly replaced the phone battery, yet the self-switch-off had reoccurred even more frequently in the last two days.

Therefore, on return to the office, after spending an hour on his way to his Ejigbo residence and back, Kaycee now regained his confidence, took the wireless microphone at the conference room to present his report, just to learn once again that the mic was breaking too often, making a mess of his speech and he resorted to shouting to be heard by his audience.

But one could not forget in ahaste, the daily experiences of cars breaking down, especially at the odd hours and places whereas reaching your mechanic becomes a formidable task due to network failure of one thing or the other.

What is technology

Technology is a word which originated from a Greek word technologia (), techne () “craft” and logia () “saying.” It is a broad term dealing with the use and knowledge of humanity’s tools and crafts, according to Wikipidia online.

One unique thing about technology, however, is there are different meanings to it depending on the context, and who actually is the person applying the word ‘technology’.

So, there is technology as a tool, technique and cultural force among others.

For instance, technology as tool, as implied by Robert Hooke of the ‘microscope’ of 1655, could be most broadly defined as the material entities created by the application of mental and physical effort to nature in order to achieve some value.

In its most common use, technology refers to tools and machines that may be used to help solve problems. In this use, technology is a far-reaching term that may include both simple tools, such as a wooden spoon, and complex tools, as well as a space station or the written sets of procedures and maintenance manuals for it.

One unequivocal factor is that technology is as old as humanity.

Effects of technology

It was Fred L. Wilson of Rochester Institute of Technology, United States, who said in the ‘Social Effects of Technology’ that the interaction of technology and society might be the one thing more than any other that gives society a meaning and defines us as human beings. He stressed that in recent years it has become popular act to point fingers of accusation at technology as if it were “autonomous” and driving us all to perdition, therefore, he took an exception.

Furious consumer to manufacturers

Many people using various technological tools today, could be like Abby Abico, who was recently disappointed with performance of a Casio product and informed last March in a forum ‘Casio Talk’ of the displeasure.

Hear this, “I am very disappointed with technology companies, especially the larger ones, not just Casio, but a few software and computer companies come to find as well. All they care about is being the first to come out with the latest and greatest product without proper testing and the hard working, dishing out lots of ‘moola’ (unsatisfactory products), and consumers suffer.”

Abby’s word of caution for companies, especially those producing end-users product within the technology sector, is that they would make so much money and have a larger loyalty group if they just test their products properly even if that meant they coming late into a certain market than anyone else, maintaining that consumers would rather wait a couple of weeks or months for something that works like its supposed to rather than pay a huge amount of hard earned money for something that has to be returned.

The bottom line is that there is always the need to improve upon something, especially technologies which have become a new way of life.

Although Nigeria’s evolution with technology may have blossomed five years ago, taking away or even disappointed by technologies could be more dangerous at this point than imagined.

Therefore, like a psychologist advised, technology users must be conscious of the fact that these are tools made by man for man to improve social co-existence and if man could be feeble or disappointing in his or her actions, how much more a tool made by him?

This could be done by taking a cue from Kaycee, to store your data in more than one place and always have something to fall on. That way, one could avoid heart attack or break when eventually technology fails to perform to our desires.

Also this is further avenue for innovative technology researchers and manufacturers of similar tools to invest in the future.

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