February 2, 2016

Tools of the Trade: A guideline for using Then, Now and the Future in your industry

In Digital Signage, we work with a lot of technology, technology that changes quickly. New machines, new software, and new ideas are emerging almost faster than we can follow. And in industries where staying relevant means staying in business, staying on top of trends and converging technologies is important, to put it lightly.  So, how do we find a balance between staying up to date on the latest technologies, using this information to stay relevant, but still barring ourselves from buying up every piece of technology that emerges? Well, when first encountering tempting new tools, before grabbing them up, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions. Questions like:

  • What lessons can be taken from the past?
  • What influence does the present have?
  • How is it going to be effective in the future?

Looking at the past and thinking about the future can help determine which technologies will help your business stay relevant in an ever-changing world. Here are a few things I like to consider when looking at new technology and finding the right tool to fit the right job.


If history has taught us anything, it’s that history itself, is an excellent barometer for what’s to come. I should clarify and say that I think it’s actually the act of keeping records of history that makes history valuable. History as a source, is only as accurate as those that keep it. The people who constantly seek the truth from history explore the values of what if’s and possibilities through asking questions. They turn to questions like- What caused that? Why did that happen? What changed? What was affected? So, look to the past before jumping on a new technology. Ask yourself, has this type of tech helped you before? Does this machine have staying power or has it come on the scene before only to quickly fade from the spotlight?


I like to think of the internet as simply a converged resource. It often feels like a second mind, not only where you can store just about anything, but also a place you can learn just about anything. With 360º videos and Virtual Reality, it’s even becoming a place where you can experience anything, and one day I suspect, it will be the place where we can bring something to life. So, what are the current trends? What do you need to do to fit in with those trends and what technology can help you? Does it solve a problem you currently have?


What is on the way? What’s going to happen? Questions we’ve all had at one point in time. In a sense, the tools for figuring out what’s going to happen to the future are readily available. We as people simply need to decipher and use it. Which timeline will we choose? How will we make that happen? Our combined documented history as humans and the free flow of information through the internet have shaped the way people think. Access to knowledge has planted the seeds of new ideas and inventions, which lead to trends and solutions for technology-based industries.
So, what will you do with your access to knowledge? How does it apply to you? Become a little bit of a History detective, an enthusiast of internet knowledge, and a little bit of a future prophet, and I predict you’ll stay relevant to your industry.


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Donavon Shellenbarger, Production Manager

Comment (2)
Freshwater Digital Augmented Reality & Digital Signage - Freshwater Digital
July 18, 2016

[…] In the past, we’ve discussed how documenting the past and staying informed in the present can …. This week, we’d like to discuss an example of one place we at Freshwater see a potential future for digital signage: augmented reality. […]

Freshwater Digital The Future of Wireless Charging...Is Now. - Freshwater Digital
August 3, 2016

[…] the past, we’ve urged readers to use trends of the past and current technology in order to help predict … Well, judging by the needs of the consumer and the surge of products being introduced by various […]

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