Logitech announced yesterday that its factory in Suzhou, China, has produced the company's one billionth mouse. While the value of this landmark to the rest of us is debatable, there is no doubt that a billion of anything shipped by a single company is impressive.
Interestingly, analysts are claiming the days of the mouse are numbered. Indeed, Gartner analyst Steve Prentice went as far as to say that "the mouse will no longer be mainstream in three to five years," citing the rise of futuristic technologies such as facial and movement recognition. Competing with the mouse at the same time would be more familiar technologies such as touch screens as well as the touch pads found on laptops.
I shall let the academics and marketers thrash out the demise -- or not -- of the humble mouse. However, it was the mention of the humble mouse that prompted me to write this blog post.
You see, I have observed that while senior executives or business owners are rightly concerned about the specifications and performance of work computers in the office, nobody ever asks about the condition or usability of the crucial human-computer interface component, the keyboard and mouse.
Obviously, the more tech-savvy workers in the company will quickly contact the IT department and demand an immediate replacement should they encounter even minor problems with their keyboard or mouse. However, this might not be true for older workers or for those who are of borderline computer literacy. In the SMBs where I have worked, I have witnessed staffers quietly prod along with a dust-clogged ball mouse or keyboard with either defective or intermittently unresponsive buttons. It is needless to say that the efficiently of these workers will be in the dumps.
And while the scenario I highlighted could be plausible in any organization, the fact is that it is probably more prevalent among SMBs than larger firms. For one, it is unlikely that smaller SMBs will have an obsolesce plan to renew their computer hardware, resulting in a higher likelihood of unserviceable keyboards and mice staying undetected. In addition, many SMBs do not even have a proper IT budget, operating instead on a need-to-spend only mode.
To increase efficiency in your organization -- and especially at this time of economic turmoil -- why not take another look at the state of the keyboard and mouse that are in use. Often, it is the little things that add up.