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The Shift to ‘Disposable’ IT

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The Shift to ‘Disposable’ IT

With the prices of our most treasured gadgets falling every year, coupled with the increasing sophistication of ‘cloud’ solutions, IT is fast becoming highly ‘disposable.’ Essentially, consumers become more attached to the content that their hardware houses – more so than the actual hardware – so replacing technology when it becomes outdated (or is rendered unusable, for some reason) is becoming less painful – provided that the content is securely stored and backed up somewhere.


Indeed, in recent years, we have noticed a significant shift in our customers’ approach to technology. In the past, customers used to look at their PC as an asset that required maintenance to conserve its value and that could be upgraded – now, upgrades are hardly considered because the cost of labour and parts to upgrade a PC is often greater than the cost of a better, newer model.


For example, with regards to popular electronics like DVD players, you can buy a basic player for around R400. Should it break, however, you would need to look for a repair shop, wait for repairs, retrieve it and perhaps spend R400 for the repair (and have an old DVD player as opposed to getting a brand new one delivered to your door for the same price).


Another important aspect to consider is how cumbersome the process of transferring your data to a new machine used to be. This acted as a deterrent against buying new tech, and encouraged people to repair what they had…yet these days, if you know how to go about it, it is very easy to be up and running with a new computer/tablet/smartphone if your data is in the cloud.


The gadgets people use are also important status symbols: no one is interested in your old, upgraded PC, but you can definitely show off the latest smartphone and do almost exactly the same things you can do with a PC (view photos, open documents, send and receive emails, etc).


Up in the Cloud

The technology that is driving the shift to ‘disposable IT’ is the widespread move to the cloud; i.e. to storing and backing up information on outside servers. There are numerous platforms that have sprung up to make the move to the cloud as smooth as possible. Evernote is a fantastic, free tool to keep your notes, web clips or even voice memos synchronized across all your devices. The new Outlook 365 subscription, as well as Gmail or icloud are all great ways to access your email from anywhere and make sure it is never lost. In addition, you can store documents and pictures on sites like where you have a certain amount of storage space available for free (if you need more you can purchase subscriptions). A similar service is provided by - and both platforms will keep your files safe and accessible from most devices.


In the business environment, SharePoint and Office 365 have enabled many small businesses to make do without costly hardware like servers that require maintenance and regular upgrades. Coupled with a reliable support company that ensures that your network is safe and functional, the cloud can take care of most of your IT requirements at an affordable price.


A Word of Advice…
I would definitely encourage people to make use of the cloud. I personally don’t need to back up anything anymore. Even if a big fire destroys all my gadgets (and I have quite a few) all I need to do is get a new one, log in (to where my info is stored) and get all my data back… however, don’t forget to be safe on the Internet and run antivirus software. The danger of synchronization across devices is that if one file becomes corrupted/infected, it can easily spread across all your devices – so always be cautious.


Defining ‘the Cloud’

At its root, cloud computing is a service that provides IT solutions via the Internet. The "cloud" provides services that vary in capability - from basic e-mail service to enterprise software applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), and of course, storage. The main objective of cloud computing is to provide companies and consumers with an accessible and seamless platform to build and host applications and keep their data secure.

Last modified on Thursday, 20 June 2013 11:39

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