If you hang around IT vendors for very long at a telecommunications expense management conference or a trade show, you'll be quickly absorbed in the sales pitches they make that concern your company and how it fits into the Age of Technology. Tech mavens refer to the current era as the Age of Technology frequently, but what does this mean? If you have a clearer idea of what the Age of Technology is meant to be, you can better figure out for yourself how your company fits into it and save yourself from pushy salesmen.

"Ages" are inexact labels for historical periods based upon the predominant characteristics of the period. The predominant characteristics usually have something to do with the composition of the tools human beings were using at the time. During the Stone Age, for example, human beings used tools that were made almost exclusively from found rocks. Grants, international expeditions, and university courses are usually confined to work on a certain age. Other historical ages include the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

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Once we move past the ancient into modern history, the Age term begins to be colloquially rather than scientifically applied. In modern history, we speak of the Industrial Age as being the time around when we discovered the manufacturing that led to modern shrink sleeve for packaging projects and the Nuclear Age as the time around when we discovered atomic weapons. The Space Age overlaps this period. It begins in the late fifties and extends into the late 80s, when funding for space travel began to dry up.

The Age of Technology is an even more nebulous period because there is no concrete start date. Though people were developing computers and the internet and cellular phones in the 1980s, the Age of Technology is generally considered to begin when technology became indispensable. In the 1980s, commodity ETFs could be traded without a computer or a smart phone or an iPad, but today they cannot. Digital technology has almost completely replaced old analog devices, which is why the Digital Age is another name for the Age of Technology.

When vendors talk about taking your company into the Age of Technology, they mean saving it from becoming obsolete. There are already large portions of the population that will not visit cosmetic dentists in Toronto if they don't have a website and a Twitter account and an online booking system. While this does mean that people are setting themselves up for an awful shock should prolonged power outages or technological disruptions occur, it is difficult to impossible for a company based in paper and land lines to stay competitive in a BlackBerry world, which is why IT vendors bring it up so often.

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