Is technology complimenting or complicating your life?

Technology is the proverbial two edged sword…we love it, yet we hate it…so would say a recent study by AdAge magazine published this past January.

The study surveyed households making greater than $100,000 per year and the when asked how their lives have changed over the past 10 years, 79% of “Affluents” said, that they’d become “technology-infused.”

The article by AdAge broke down the “affluents” technology ownership:

  • 98% of Affluents are online, averaging over 25 hours of internet use a week.
  • 75% have at least one high-definition TV.
  • 66% have a digital video recorder, of which 58% report always or frequently fast-forwarding through commercials.
  • 23% own e-reader as of April 2011 up from from 12% in September 2010
  • 14% of Affluents now have a tablet, and an additional 15% plan to buy one in the next 12 months indicating that nearly 1/3 of affluents will own a tablet by the end of 2011.
The study went on to find that a majority of affluents surveyed said their lives have become “more complicated,” “more stressful” and “focused on finding ways to do more with less.”
So given the findings of this study, why the continued adoption of new technologies? Has technology become the “toys” for the affluent? I recently visited with family who has 3 laptop PCs, 1 desktop PC, 4 smartphones, 1 e-reader, and recently jumped on the tablet bandwagon. I asked what technology meant more to their everyday life, what added the most value?  The quick answer was the laptop.  “The tablet is just a toy” were the exact words.
Okay, not exactly shocking words, but funny that if you consider the study and the opinion of my family members, is it safe to say that life was easier when it was just the home PC? All of this new technology that was supposed to make the user experience easier has actually made life more complicated.  Sure when comparing the user experience from one technology device to the next, it may have become easier, but when looked at as a whole, the accumulation of technology devices has actually made life more difficult.
The devil is in the details. Why do affluents say  the infusion of technology complicates their lives?  What specifically about it has made life more stressful?  Perhaps it’s managing all of their content, communications, or balancing the use of technology for work vs. home, local vs online, secure vs. shared.
The technology companies that truly understand where these pains lie, and how best to address them will ultimately win.  My bet is on how and where information is stored, accessed and shared. And based on where technology devices are heading, the battle is raging between Apple, Amazon, Google, and we cannot discount Microsoft.  Just look at the mix of devices my family owns:
  • Laptops = Microsoft
  • Desktop = Microsoft
  • Tablet = Apple
  • e-reader = Amazon
  • Smartphones = Google & Blackberry
I fear the battle will be long, and the walls already forming between technology providers are forcing affluents to choose what platform best compliments their lives, because a mix of platforms is apparently, well….complicating.
What’s your take?