For consumer goods, the adoption rates of new technology vary immensely. Some products are adopted unquestioningly, such as DVD players, while others must battle for supremacy in the consumer market, such as Bluray and HD-DVD players. Other products may be adopted slowly, like wearable technology and Bitcoin, or never adopted at all. A graph from The Economist shows that the Internet was adopted by one-fourth of the population in just seven years–almost twice as fast as the mobile phone adoption rate.
Unlike in the consumer market, technology adoption in the business realm can take a very long time.
Network World reports that consumers have been much more willing to switch to Voice Over IP (VOIP) phone lines, while only about 15% of businesses have adopted VOIP technology. However, adopting new technology can give businesses a competitive edge, reduce production and labor costs, increase the value of products and services, and generally improve business methods, as discussed in a recent article from the Journal of Small Business Management.
The article states that a clear disconnect between vision and execution is the biggest reason the implementation of new technology has been unsuccessful. One report by the National Federation of Independent Businesses found that small businesses often upgrade technology for the sake of upgrading. In order for upgrades to be successful, management needs to research what kind of technology is needed, and plan out how they will be implemented–not merely implement new technology because it is desired. Additionally, companies may lack the capability to expand technology because they possess limited capital resources or IT skills, according to the article.
Since businesses need to thoroughly weigh the benefits and costs of new technology, their technology adoption rate may always be slower than that of consumers. But with careful planning and analysis, new technology can provide a multitude of benefits for businesses.
See the above Journal of Small Business Management article for a much more detailed analysis.