Useless Technology Investments Yield No Value

This is a monitor mounted on the wall in an elevator lobby in Vancouver, Washington.

It's actually representative of nine other similar monitors installed across five floors and two buildings on the same property.

Each and every monitor displays just one word. Welcome. And it's displayed welcome for well over four months.

It's so freekin' awesome. Serious. The graphic never changes. They all just display welcome and the word is now pretty much burned into the monitors.

So, I'm trying to think of the costs associated with this overly-expensive welcome sign. The electrical wiring, the network wiring, the labor, the capital equipment charges, the logic/service that must tell the screen to display welcome. I mean, all told, we must be talking some tens of thousands of dollars spent on the project to permanently display welcome on every floor.

Lost. Wasted. Trashed. Flushed. Worthless.

Remember how I was just talking about how technology should provide value? How does this provide value? Better, let's use our imagination and think about how it could provide value:

  • The monitor could display a building directory of tenants.
  • It could display a cheerful video describing the benefits of becoming a tenant.
  • It could be an interactive tool to help guide people to their desired tenant.
  • The monitor could highlight a tenant every month, extending appreciation for tenants.
  • Why, the monitor could even display a calendar of events important to the property manager.
  • It could inform tenants of upcoming maintenance activities, like, for example, getting the electronic directory system working.
  • It could display a blog from a snarky technology consultant criticizing the strategic value of an electronic welcome sign.

Just think of the possibilities! Meanwhile, this thing just sits there displaying the same graphic every day, extending no value than what couldn't have been provided by a 1 meter stick, cardboard paper, a thick Sharpie, and some glue. Essentially, this investment is worthless and yields no value. Why do it? Why invest in it? Why spend all that money and time and resources to just ... welcome people?

What's the value in technology spending if it just does stuff like this? What's the strategy? How does it reduce expenses, contain expenses, or generate revenue? How does it differentiate this property from other similar properties? How does it speak to the property management's values or express value or appreciation in every tenant relationship? What's its purpose?!

Anyway, this stuff yanks my chain. If you've got any example of totally worthless tech, I'd love to hear about it. Snap a picture and send it to me on Facebook. Thanks!