Evolution of Technology

The evolution of technology can lead to obsolescence, or what Schueller, Munoz, and Mohr (2013, p. 480) describe as, “. . . the rates at which technologies (and therefore the related interventions) become obsolete or updated.” We see examples of this everyday where specific devices or applications are no longer popular, relevant, or compatible with other technologies. If a device or application is obsolete, it will be ineffective in a research environment. This is a big challenge for intervention researchers. The development of technology-based interventions can take considerable effort and time, and it is entirely possible that, when development is complete, a new technology or version of a technology will have emerged.

Examples of evolutions in technology abound (e.g., cell phones, software applications, and computer technology). For instance, currently behavioral interventions that use social media may be more successful if the intervention is based in such social media applications as Facebook or Twitter instead of a site such as MySpace, which, though popular a decade ago, is nowhere near as popular or prevalent as it once was. Operating systems fall in and out of favor, mobile technologies are constantly replaced or updated, and new technologies are constantly being developed. By remaining up-to-date, researchers can ensure that they are utilizing the technologies to their full potential. It is also important to recognize that many individuals in the user population may not see an advantage to constantly having to update and improve their technology systems, so they may not be willing to adopt newer versions of a technology.

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