Why Businesses Should Utilize New Technology, But Still Embrace the Analog

Autonomous flying aircraft will soon transport people, drones are starting to deliver packages, and smartphones are more advanced than computers from a decade ago.

It’s time to stop using the term science fiction so loosely. The lines between what was previously deemed science fiction and the tech-heavy realities of today are truly blurring. The fact that our world is becoming more tech-infused doesn’t mean that older analog-based technologies are obsolete. In fact, analog and digital actually flourish together.

But what does this mean for your business? Why should you be embracing the analog when digital technologies exist?

Analog media generally has a unique, real feel to it. But inconveniences associated with old technology sometimes make analog media, such as the film camera or the vinyl record, somewhat unconventional. Fortunately, new technologies are giving analog things a boost of relevancy.

An example of this are the ways in which displays, signage, and billboards have evolved over the years.

In the world of advertising signage, digital displays are king. An article by Four Winds Interactive, titled Top Five Benefits of Digital Signage Displays, explains:

“Digital displays capture 400% more views than static displays. Not only do they capture more views, but their recall rate is 83%—significantly higher than any traditional media. With 8/10 customers entering an establishment just because a sign caught their eye, added foot traffic and new customers are virtually guaranteed.”

Signage that is digitally-based and interactive is typically more engaging—which may lead many to believe that print media will start to become extinct.

However, small businesses like MegaPrint beg to differ. Having been around for over two decades, and flourishing with less than 20 employees, they prove that ‘analog’ print media holds up and is still a necessity to many people. While digital displays are fantastic for some, they aren’t always necessary or practical.

Furthermore, something that merges analog printing techniques with sci-fi-turned reality tech is the concept of printed solar panel signage, created by using special inks.

Researchers at Aalto University pioneered this technique last year, which involves using light-absorbing, photovoltaic ink:

“When light is absorbed in an ordinary ink, it generates heat. A photovoltaic ink, however, converts part of that energy to electricity. The darker the color, the more electricity is produced, The most efficient solar cell is therefore pitch-black…The idea of a colorful, patterned solar cell is to combine also other properties that take advantage of light on the same surface, such as visual information and graphics.”

Printed solar panel graphics will likely become commonplace in the coming years. Imagine if the label on a battery was what was charging it?!

Another example of the digital-meets-analog phenomenon is the ways in which film and digital photography coexist. Sci-fi-esque 360 degree cameras and drone aerial photography have become common in the last couple of years. But analog photography still has a place in the world. While photography has become somewhat of a digital playground for professionals, many are also sticking to their roots.

A surprising number of photographers still shoot film, even though digital photography is deemed more convenient. This is because film photos look better a lot of the time: they posses unique film grain qualities and arguably blend light and color better than a lot of digital cameras. It’s difficult, some would say nearly impossible, to completely replicate the look of film photos.

However, this does not mean that film photography is totally practical on its own. The process of developing and printing photos in true analog fashion requires a range of vintage equipment. True film enthusiasts must have a darkroom to work in and use a host of niche chemicals and tools to process their film. Some still even use bulky enlargers that make prints in various sizes.

This is where film photography and the digital world collide.

Most photographers who still shoot film process their 35mm rolls the old-school way but use the convenience of digital scanners to turn their film photo negatives into digital/analog hybrids. This allows film photos to be shared online. The photos still have an analog tone to them but don’t have to be printed.

Businesses should remain open-minded on both ends of the digital vs analog spectrum. Companies will be able appeal to a wide range of audiences when they effectively integrate the two. Odds are that you’ll captivate your target audience, through utilizing new technology, but still embrace the analog!


Robert Parmer
Robert Parmer
ROBERT Parmer is a student of Boise State University, ex-chef and barista, and adamant writer. He stepped away from the kitchen life three years ago to pursue freelance writing endeavors, and enjoys writing about business, health/wellness, and cats.

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