Posted on Friday 11 October 2019 by Cruickshank Intellectual Property

Technology shapes the world around us. It has the potential to makes our lives immeasurably easier. Therefore, big corporations need to embrace it whenever possible. This is not always the case however, as we have seen various companies in recent years left behind when they failed to adapt their business model to a changing environment.

One example is the video rental company Blockbuster. Beginning in October 1985 by David Cook and sold to three investors in the mid-1990s, Blockbuster was the leader in video rentals. Their business model was to bulk buy movies and then rent them out multiple times. The year 2000 was important for Blockbuster as in that year Netflix offered them a partnership which they did not accept. During this time period while Blockbuster were trying to move away from video rentals, they were still opening new stores and spending money on what was now becoming an obsolete business model. Blockbuster even teamed up with Enron broadband services to create a video streaming service called “Blockbuster On Demand” however it was unsuccessful following Enron’s bankruptcy in 2001. Blockbuster finally filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and there is currently one store left in Oregon.

This is a prime example of why companies need to invest in technology. There are many examples of this happening in other industries from video rental (Blockbuster), to cameras (Kodak), mobile phones (Nokia), and computers (Xerox). The most recent example is in the transport industry with Thomas Cook Airlines while the car industry is also facing major changes due to technological evolution.

Finally, an industry going through a lot of change is the microprocessor industry. Big name companies that manufacture microprocessors like Intel, Samsung and Qualcomm rely heavily on silicon-based microchips but we are reaching the limit of what silicon can do. As we make smaller circuits and try to pack more into these circuits, they are becoming slower. This is leading some companies to invest in alternate solutions. One viable solution is to use a different material to create the microchips like carbon nanotubes or CNTs these are much smaller and faster than silicon but are harder to create. If you look at patent information you can see that big companies such as Intel and Samsung have file 175 patents regarding CNT microchips in the past five years, with 65 patents from Intel and 110 patents from Samsung. This indicates that it will be important in the near future and if companies do not start investing then they will be in trouble.

This blog was written by Transition Year Student Finn Coughlan. Finn completed his work experience here with us in Cruickshank and has a keen interest in the areas of Technology and STEM.