Obsolete products – what are the risks?

Categories: ReviewsPublished On: August 22nd, 2018

The Problem

Obsolescence, especially in technology can be a major problem for the consumer, so how much of a problem is this for our users?

One of the issues we’ve seen recently are companies making products obsolete before their time. This has been driven by  much of what we buy now is no longer standalone hardware but connected to the web or to an app enabling companies to provide paid for services. Encouraging them to pull you into a continuous upgrade cycle and to obsolete their products faster.

What can also happen is that a company goes bust or stops supporting your product. Suddenly that speaker you bought that still works has no working software and stops working, or continues to work but is insecure with limited functionality and so is obsolete. A more pernicious problem is when you buy a product (i.e. a camera) that comes with a set of free functions you use (i.e. 10 days free storage) and the company decides to charge for this service. Suddenly you are left with no choice but to pay what can be exorbitant fee’s for a service you originally had for free. Or to obsolete your non obsolete product yourself and look elsewhere.

The Solution

There isn’t a specific one but we have thought about it.

I’ve experienced the second issue directly, where two security camera/motion detector’s I had bought for £200 with free services began to reduce the free services provided and to charge a significant fee to access the functionality that made the cameras so good. Over the period of a year, nearly all functionality that made them useful was hidden behind paid for firewalls.  Because the cameras were proprietary, without the software I could not make any practical use of them and I was faced with the choice of continuing to spend money with that company or to personally obsolete the cameras. In the end I took them out and am saving for a different solution.

At Nifty, we cannot stop this happening but we can offer advice and integrate solutions that have the lowest risk of this or in fact, build you a solution where you do not rely entirely on one company. By using open source and a range of suppliers, we can ensure that you are not tied into proprietary systems that subsequently enable suppliers to hold you to ransom in order to use products you have bought.

author

Nicholas

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