The new conventions, corporate indifference or protectionism
Yesterday I bought some blue tooth headphones.
I normally have a caution about mega brands, because I think the price reflects the cost of making them a mega-brand, and telling everyone about them, as well as simply building a good product, but I had a series of other brands that had let me down, and I use Sony noise cancelling headphones for plane journeys, so I took a punt. The thing for me isn't the sound quality, it's how well they fit my ears and how long the battery lasts. Sony does very well on both counts. But when I went to plug in my charger....it didn't fit. I had to go to the box and get the one that came with the head phones.
It's a USB-C fitting. It's apparently going to be the new standard. This reminds me of the iPod and the succession of smart phones and digital cameras and all the different adapters I have accumulated over the years. I was unaware I was in a brief, but blissful period where every device I owned worked with a Micro USB charger. What ever it was that you bought, you could plug it into the same adapter at home or in the car and when you woke up or arrived at your destination it was charged and ready for action.
Maybe Sony are leading the field, they know what way the trends are going, and are making adapters to match. More likely they don't care that all my other devices are compatible with one system of charging. Maybe it suits them that they're not compatible and it makes me more likely to buy another Sony device sooner rather than later.
Now I'm back to different chargers for different devices. Maybe in a few years, when they break, they'll be replaced with devices with USB-C. And by then, there'll be a USB-D arrived telling us that it's the new standard.
There's a bit of this in orthodontics. Swords Orthodontics has an iTero intra oral scanner- we've had it for a few years. It was clear that this was the way forward in orthodontic technology, so we made that investment. We use it for our Invsalign patients, so they don't need to have gooey impressions of their teeth - a digital recording is made of their teeth and it goes internationally to get aligners made up for them. The iTero is made by a company that is part of the Invisalign group. Other scanners are available but it's up to Invisalign if they accept their scans or not, and whether the iTero scans will work with other dental companies for what they do. I didn't want to take the chance that Invisalign wouldn't work with other software systems, so that's why I chose this scanner. When enough companies use scanners from a different company the standard might change, and technology isn't sitting still so that's going to happen eventually.
But teeth and human beings haven't changed that much biologically, so I have to still be careful to do the best work for the patient, regardless of the technology available. I like to use the newest stuff available, as long as I am satisfied that it will let me get the best results for my patients.