Life cycle of technology

From CEOpedia | Management online

The Technology Life Cycle (TLC) represents the commercial profit of a product due to R&D stage expenditures and economic profit during its "lifetime". Some technologies, such as steel, paper, and cement manufacturing, have long lives (small technological changes are introduced over time), while others, such as electronics and pharmaceuticals, can have very short lives. There is a nature. TLC related to technology products or services is different from the Product Life Cycle (PLC) described in Product Life Cycle Management. The latter concerns the durability of products on the market in terms of timing of launch, marketing efforts, and commercial costs. The technology behind a product (for example, the technology of a single scented tea) may be very contingent, but the process of creating and managing one's life as a branded product is very different. The technology lifecycle includes the time and cost of technology development, a cost recovery plan, and how the technology is delivered for benefits commensurate with the associated costs and risks. In addition, TLC may be protected by in-cycle patents and trademarks designed to extend the cycle and maximize profits.

Products of technology can be commodities like polyethylene plastic or sophisticated products like the integrated circuits used in smartphones. Competitive product or process development can have a significant impact on a technology's lifespan by shortening it. Similarly, the loss of intellectual property rights through litigation or the loss of secret elements (if any) through leakage can also shorten the life of a technology. Thus, it is clear that the management of TLC is an important aspect of technology development. Most new technologies follow a similar technology maturity life cycle that represents the technical maturity of the product. Unlike the product lifecycle, it refers to an entire technology or generation of technology. Technology adoption is the most prevalent phenomenon behind industry development throughout the industry life cycle. Eventually, after expanding new uses for resources, they exhaust the efficiency of those processes, making them easier at first and producing greater returns over time, but becoming harder to exhaust as the technology matures[1].

Four steps of the life cycle of technology

Innovation Phase

This phase represents the birth of new products, process materials that are the result of R&D activities. In the R&D lab, new ideas are generated based on needs and knowledge elements. Depending on resource allocation and change factors, the amount of time required varies greatly between both the innovation phase and subsequent phases.

Syndication Phase

This phase represents the 'demonstration and commercialization of new technologies such as: B. A product, material, or process with potential immediate application. Many innovations are pending in R&D labs. Only a few of them have been commercialized. Commercialization of research results depends on technical and non-technical factors, mainly economic factors.

Penetration Level

This represents the market penetration of a new technology due to the acceptance of the innovation by potential users of the technology. However, supply and demand factors together affect penetration.

Substitution Level

This final level represents the potential for reduction and expansion of a technology's use by substitution by another technology. Many technical and non-technical factors affect replacement rates. The duration of the replacement phase depends on market dynamics [2].

Sustainable technology

In the area of sustainable consumption and production, top-down studies of national economies help identify key consumption sectors and factors of environmental impact. For example, housing, mobility and food (especially heating and cooling of buildings, car and air travel, meat and dairy consumption) account for the majority of environmental impacts in Europe. More detailed 'bottom-up' studies of individual products or product groups link key impact drivers to the most commonly relevant life cycle stages, such as in packaging where impact has been shown to be high. It also helped identify things that may not have been done. Basically, two processes reduce the environmental impact of production. These can occur at the end of the process (end of pipe) or during the production process, depending on integrated production technology (cleaner production). These two types of technology are good for the environment in both the short and long term, but they have opposite effects [3][4]:

  • Additional technologies, such as desulfurization filters, are designed to reduce emissions of pollutants that are by-products of production. They therefore consist of implementing additive technology to limit pollutant emissions.
  • Integrated technology' reduces resource consumption and pollution at source by using cleaner production methods. In principle, they lead to a reduction in the use of co-products, energy and resources used by companies to manufacture their products


  1. Bunduchi R., Marina C (2022), p4
  2. Markard J. (2020), p8
  3. Finkbeiner M., Erwin M. Schau, Lehmann A., Traverso M. (2010), p14
  4. Hellweg S., Llorenç M. (2014), p2

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Author: SACRE Antoine