The release of a new Apple device has become associated with adults behaving like children. We camp out in sleeping bags with friends (in front of the nearest Apple store). We stay up until 3 a.m. (to pre-order). Some of us may even throw mini temper tantrums if delivery is delayed a day (not mentioning any coworker’s names). And if we’re among the poor souls who have to wait, we become very, very jealous of the “in” crowd’s new toys. Whether you’re reading this on your shiny new iPhone 5, pining away for one until your upgrade is available in January (moi), or just watching this whole game unfold like a football fan on Sunday, you’re probably aware of the existence of “device envy.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re a consumer aching to trade in your phone or tablet for a fancier new model, or a healthcare administrator exploring intrahospital communication solutions – there are a few basic questions you should ask yourself before donning a clown costume and jumping on the upgrade bandwagon (Google the origin of “bandwagon” if you didn’t get the Bozo reference – interesting story…).
Is it necessary?
Don’t panic. Answering “no” doesn’t categorically mean you should halt research on upgrades, but it’s important to understand your own or your facility’s motivations before assessing your options. A non-essential upgrade may only be realistic when personal, department, or organizational budgets allow.
Is it practical?
Sure, Voalte is the communication solution used by U.S. News and World Report’s top ranked hospital, Massachusetts General. And, yes, CNET just listed the iPhone as the best cell phone yet again. But if you oversee a small rural facility that operates sans WiFi, or you’re in the Peace Corps in electricity-free Northern Ghana, no matter how great they sound, well, expensive ice cubes just aren’t that useful for Eskimos.
Does it have a documented history of success?
Whether it’s for posting your Facebook status updates, or its purchase represents a significant investment of hard-earned fundraising dollars, you don’t want to plunk down a hefty chunk of change for a fly-by-night device or solution that may not be around next year, or might not have the resources to provide quality, comprehensive service. ‘Nuff said.
Is it a long-term solution; can it grow with me/us?
These days, it’s all about the “expanding platform.” There’s no way around it – the world has changed, and when considering options for both personal and professional devices, your lifestyle or workflows are likely going to dictate that an expanding platform is the only viable solution. Literally every day, new applications and new uses for existing hardware are developed; you’ll want to have access to them. Be certain to make a sound investment in a device and company that has the ability to evolve with the dynamic communication landscape we operate in.
So there it is. Now if you’ll excuse me; I’m off to pull another day from the Pinterest-inspired “Countdown to iPhone 5” calendar I created.