Tech ecosystems: why you need one

Tech ecosystems: why you need one

A technological ecosystem is simply a community of interacting devices.

By David Onjili

Staying ahead of the curve is tough. It’s tough in any business, but it seems to be especially taxing in the construction industry. Because, as you’ve read or experienced by now, in construction, “ahead of the curve” is often code for “abreast the latest technological trends” (in most instances). And, in a market known for creeping down the technology road rather than accelerating, staying abreast wasn’t nearly as difficult, even five years ago, as it is today.

An ecosystem is a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. Similarly, a technological ecosystem is simply a community of interacting devices. According to Financial Times’ lexicon guide, a tech ecosystem has five defining features: defined by core components made by the platform owner and complemented by applications made by autonomous companies in the periphery; offers solutions comprising a larger system of use than the original platform owner created and solves an important technical problem within in an industry; easy to connect to or build upon the core solution in order to expand the system of use and allow new and even unanticipated end uses; attached with a core firm’s product, which is limited in value when used alone but substantially increases in value when used with the complementary applications and; includes well known smart phone platforms, such as Apple and Android.

For hardware, Apple has products like the iPhones, iMac, iPods, MacBook, Air pods, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV and Home Pods. These physical gadgets are normally supplemented by Apple using amazing software compatible to their devices. Some of these software includes; air play, air drop, continuity and iCloud. This software is used to lure you into the hardware Apple products and thus creating an ecosystem.

Living inside an Apple ecosystem is similar to being inside a ‘walled garden’; as the inter-reliability created by Apple between the software and hardware is extremely convenient.

Living inside an Apple ecosystem is similar to being inside a ‘walled garden’; as the inter-reliability created by Apple between the software and hardware is extremely convenient. The objective is to get a consumer into the ‘garden’ with one or two of their products (hardware) then they entice you with their software that you see no need to leave their ecosystem.

Take a simple instance where you possess an iPhone and a MacBook. With these two gadgets, you are able to enjoy iMessage. You can text and receive text messages from either the iMac or the iPhone. Through iCloud Drive, you have all your files and can access them from any Apple gadget within your possession. You are enabled to air drop and share material from any gadget too in your possession.

You choose to shop for a smart watch. Since you own an iPhone, it is convenient to purchase an Apple Watch. Why? With the Apple Watch, you have no need to carry your iPhone now. You can Face Time, text, make calls and even browse the internet from the phone. Convenient? Now you want to buy a new set of wireless headphones. Since you have maybe an iPhone or an Apple Watch, sure, why not just get air pods. They are not just cool but compatible with the gadget that you own.

Ultimately, you realize that what may have started out as a simple purchase of an iPhone for example hooks you to their other products. Since their compatibility and convenience is very gratifying, you have joined the Apple ecosystem without even knowing.

In the grand scheme of things, that is why there is an existence of diversified Apple products. The goal is to have you hooked up into the ecosystem. But can you leave an ecosystem? Partly yes and partly no.

It depends on which device from Apple you want to do away with when leaving this ecosystem. You may choose Spotify for music as opposed to Apple music. This is easy to navigate. Similarly, you may choose to have a different Smart Watch other than the Apple watch, or you may decide to use other models of wireless headphones. These may work with Apple devices.

The big challenge however will be leaving your iCloud account and ultimately the iPhone. Doing this leaves all your other Apple devices useless. That is ultimately why many get hooked to the ecosystem. Does this not explain why a better phone with better specs like camera lenses or OLED display may be in the market but an iPhone user will hang on to their iPhone. Why? The ecosystem dictates so.

Noteworthy is that the ecosystem is not just tied to Apple. Google is an example of a tech company with her own ecosystem. Difference comes in the kind of ‘walls’ that each ecosystem, builds around it. Google devices may be compatible with many other devices but are Apple devices this compatible? 

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