ATechnological advances occur frequently, but not everyone jumps into early adoption. According to the Diffusion of Innovations theory popularized by Everett Rogers, there are five categories of personalities that adopt new technology at different stages. For instance, innovators are the smallest group, but the first to adopt an innovation and are willing to take bigger risks. Early adopters are the second most likely to adopt an innovation, followed by the early majority, late majority, and finally the laggards.
Not every new technology ends up being worth early adoption, but these four technologies were:
1. Voice over IP (VoIP) phone technology
VoIP phone services revolutionized the way businesses handle (and pay for) their phone calls. Analog phone services through standard providers have never been cheap. For businesses with contacts overseas, the cost of international calls adds up quickly. VoIP phone technology quickly became the answer to decades of high long-distance and international tolls.
Early adopters often saw a full return on their investment in under a year. Those who jumped on this technology when it first came out were able to start saving money right away. If you haven’t switched to VoIP phone technology, it’s not too late. You’ll start saving money the moment you make the switch.
VoIP was ahead of its time; early adopters saw the potential
Cheaper long distance and international calls were just one benefit that made people switch to this new technology. VoIP brought a digitally-powered call system that eliminated the need for expensive on-site phone systems. Reducing large capital expenditures related to owning and maintaining physical equipment was new and therefore attractive to businesses. Perhaps the most enticing feature continues to be that VoIP plans can accommodate the needs of a growing business without having to buy additional infrastructure or equipment. As your business grows, your VoIP provider can scale your services to match.
In addition to businesses using this technology, IT businesses jumped on the opportunity to engineer improvements to the technology. For example, hosted VoIP providers like sipVine were able to greatly improve voice quality over existing bandwidth availability, inspiring more people to embrace VoIP.
“VoIP platforms are very adaptable,” explains sipVine. “Some providers, however, make this the responsibility of the customer to deploy and program their phones. Good providers do this for the customer.”
Good VoIP providers continually increase their functionality to maintain a competitive edge. It’s the provider’s responsibility to maximize available features for the customer.
2. Cloud computing
From the outside, cloud computing doesn’t seem that impressive. Instead of running applications on your computer, you access those same applications through the internet. Not everyone saw this as a big deal, but those who did saw massive benefits.
The main benefits early adopters saw with cloud computing were flexibility, disaster recovery, and increased security through automatic software updates. For example, when Adobe moved their applications like Photoshop and InDesign to the cloud, customers only had to click a button to update their software. The need to download and unpack .zip files was eliminated. It became impossible for customers to miss out on important updates.
A universal benefit to all businesses was the ability to work from anywhere. This gave a significant advantage to businesses to build remote teams before anyone else did.
3. CRM software to automate email marketing
For those who were attached to manual email marketing methods, the option of paying several hundred dollars each month for automated email marketing wasn’t on the table. Marketing automation gave early adopters a head start on gathering detailed customer data, and being able to create intricate automated marketing messages customized to each customer’s actions.
According to Salesforce, 67% of marketing leaders rely on marketing automation and 21% plan to use it in the next year.
4. iCloud and Google Chrome
When Apple launched iCloud, early adopters couldn’t get enough. It was so convenient, it gave people permission to be lazy and practically eliminated the need to log in.
iCloud is designed to sync contacts, calendars, email, and browser bookmarks between multiple iOS devices. It also provides an automatic backup for devices, and will automatically store photos in the cloud as they’re taken. iCloud is so convenient, the current generation might forget how to transfer photos to a storage device.
Google Chrome offers similarly convenient sync technology, at least for passwords, bookmarks, and history. When signed into your Google account from any device, Chrome will make you feel as if you’re surfing the net from home.
Early adoption has significant benefits
If you’ve never been an early adopter for anything, it’s worth having the experience at least once. Find a new technology that looks promising and useful, and dive in. In a few years, you’ll be a pro while everyone else scrambles to get in on the next big thing in tech.
Image Credits: Technologies from SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock