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Where Would We Be Without Technology?

As I was filling up my car at the gas station today pondering what topic to write about, I realized my topic was right in front of me.† After looking at how much it cost me to fill up, it sort of came to me that technology has significantly helped us afford to go about our daily lives. After cringing from looking at how much it cost to fill up my car, that may appear to be a weird thought to have but I canít help but wonder if technology in the automotive industry had not advanced like it has how much it would have cost me to fill up. Compared to cars when I was a teenager in the 1970ís, todayís cars are amazing as to how efficient they are. Of course there are exceptions but I remember having a Ford Maverick back then, it was your basic (real basic) economy transportation solution at the time. It had no air conditioning, no power anything. With a six cylinder engine and a 3 speed stick, I got around 20 to 25 miles to the gallon.† Today I drive an Acura with twice as much power, it has about every option I could want and it gets better mileage than the old Maverick.† What caused that to happen?† Higher fuel prices and tighter emission standards forced innovation by the manufacturers in order to keep the industry alive and growing. Technological innovations were brought into the auto industry to help create a more economical vehicle and meet higher emission requirements. When computers were developed to replace what once was done with mechanical and vacuum devices, things changed substantially for the better.† Not only were car manufacturers able to get much better economy but more power and better emissions as well.† Of course, this took much more time than people had hoped for. Modern technology constantly keeps improving almost everything in our lives. Sometimes it does not improve fast enough when we see energy prices spiking as in recent days, but over time it does improve. In a lot of ways, my analogy about the auto industry parallels all the changes taking place in the computer networking world that many of us are involved with today. Energy costs seem to be the driver of how fast technology that increases efficiency evolves. Like with the auto industry, for many years when energy was relatively cheap there were not a lot of new products that focused on efficiency. Now with this big uptick in power costs and the added interest in being environmentally conscious, products that improve overall operating efficiency are being developed at a rapid pace. Technological innovation will make real gains not only attainable but also affordable. Having software and hardware products that can monitor control and adjust not only our computers, but our power, cooling and even the building environment itself is enabling much better control of energy which translates into lowering energy bills. Technology is even trickling down to simple basic network switches that sense if ports are not used and turn them off if no device is sensed. I recently bought a new laptop that has an A/C adapter that would turn off when it sensed the battery was charged.† Some of these things may not be big power using devices, but it all adds up. Even though we are going through a painful period right now in how much we are paying for energy,† I think our industry is really starting to become conscious of just how far we can improve our energy efficiency with not only what technology is available today but products that are being developed for that specific purpose. Innovation will bring about substantial improvements in not only our energy costs but how much we will have improved the environment we work and live in.† Larry Donnelly ~Vice President ~ Falcon Technologies