Like all good things, the rapid rates of innovation that have been seen in the electronic cigarette industry must also come to an end. Don’t dismay, because there is light at the end of this article!
All technology that has ever existed can generally follow a few different pathways with respect to innovation, advancement and adoption. Let’s examine a classic example, the TV.
The TV started off as a fairly humble invention. The first TV in the 1920’s was a series of mechanical disks with holes in them that projected images onto a screen. Soon after, there is the electrical TV that was black and white, then the colour TV having mass adoption by the 1970’s. After this there is the digital TV and finally 3d television.
The different stage of the television technology advancement can quite easily be applied to the Technology Evolves graph. A new breakthrough technology occurs, it gets advanced and then it reaches a plateau or is susceptible to diminishing returns.
Television can also be applied to the hype cycle. I’m sure at first there was massive hype about television, the peak of inflated expectations, when the technology was first triggered and soon after the trough of disillusionment when they realised it wasn’t quite ready for mass adoption. But what we’ve seen since the inception of TV is the slope of enlightenment followed by the Plateau of Productivity. There haven’t been any real ground breaking innovations in the TV sector, just small incremental improvements year after year – the sign of a mature technology.
You might be asking, “Why is this important for the vaping industry?” Well, in answer to your question, there are several reasons. Both of these graphs apply to the electronic cigarette industry as they are to do with expectations of users, advancement of technology and time (also known as applied effort).
Let’s look at the hype cycle. When electronic cigarettes were first introduced in 2007, there was a huge hype around them. Everyone thought they were going to be the next big thing, they got the big tobacco scared but ultimately, the initial experience of cig-a-like vaporisers was ultimately lacklustre. The important thing is that the technological principals were sound and this allowed for further advancement of the technology. The second generation of personal vaporisers fairly sits at the bottom of the trough of disillusionment. The Innovators and the early adopters of the technology were using vaporisers at this point. Since this point, we have seen constant improvement in all aspects of the of the vaporiser technology – battery, tanks and e-liquid.
Vaporisers have also been following along with the technological evolution cycle. We can see that the different technological elements of vaporising have been tracking with the evolution cycle. Mods have been getting advanced features, safety elements and improved battery technology. The tanks have been getting improved designs that improve the capacity, airflow, wicking and filling. Atomiser design has also improved to give a better experience for the user.
It can be seen that the technology in vaporisers has reached a mature point. It is likely that in the short term within the industry there will only be incremental improvements. The incremental improvements can already be seen today. Slightly better tank designs or maybe one new function in a mod, nothing ground breaking. It is important to reiterate that the fundamentals of vaping have matured – that is the quality of experience of vaporising is only getting incrementally better.
Every market is susceptible to market forces. A good example of this is in the USA. The FDA recently put in regulation that required all new electronic cigarettes to be tested with a long and costly (up to $400,000) application process. The USA is the largest market in the world currently for vaporisers so this regulation will most likely impact the rate that new products will come out.
What does this mean for you? It means that now is a great time to buy. Any mid to high end device that you purchase will not be going out of date any time soon.
So what are you waiting for?