While many of us are excited by Apple’s new Watch, iPhones and Payment system. It’s important to consider how these devices impact and integrate into our individual technology ecosystems. In order to approach this intelligently, I mapped out my own personal tech ecosystem using a cool mind-mapping tool at text2mindmap.com and generated the following infograph:
Chances are, your tech ecosystem isn’t all that different from mine, plus or minus a few nodes.
Equipped with this information, I can now associate different devices and services with each of my ecosystem nodes. For example, I use Google for many of my apps: word processing, spreadsheets, calendar, contacts, note taking, navigation, web browser, personal assistant (Google Now) and health monitor (Google Wear); I use a Macbook and iPad, but an Android Phone; and I use Adobe for Graphics and Web Development.
There are three or four big tech companies: Google, Apple, Microsoft and perhaps Amazon that would like to take control of our personal tech ecosystems. They are able to do so by offering integrated services that are all part of their proprietary closed systems. So, if I buy the new Apple Watch, I will also need an iPhone. To get the most out of my iPhone apps, I’ll need an iPad, and a Macbook. I’ll also need to use Apple iCloud, which will make Apple Calendar, Mail, Contacts, Notes, Reminders, Pages, Numbers and Keynote the most logical apps to adopt.
The same is true, to a lesser degree with, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. To a lesser degree, because these companies allow their software to run on machines produced by other companies. Which of course, lends to more diversity in devices and lower prices, but perhaps less control over quality and security.
No company provides everything I need for my ecosystem – yet! But some nodes in my ecosystem are dependent on other nodes. For example, I use Garage Band and Screen Flow which are apps that are only available for the Mac. But, social media software Facebook runs on any platform. If I remove all nodes from my graph that run on any platform, I’m left with my decision makers. Those nodes that will either run a platform or not. In some cases, when I purchase a new device, I may have to sacrifice the quality of some of my nodes in order to maintain or improve the quality of others.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to integrate devices from multiple platforms. In my case, I am working towards moving as many of my nodes into the cloud as possible so that the type of device I use isn’t so crucial. Google Drive make this pretty easy. iCloud? Not so much. I feel that Google has better overall reach than Apple, and am placing most of my apples in that basket – literally and figuratively. However, the new bling from apple is certainly hard to resist.
So before you whip out the credit card. I suggest that you consider how that purchase is going to impact your delicately-balanced personal technology ecosystem. I’ve almost got mine figured out. It’s not rocket science… bit it’s close!