I was visiting my son and daughter-in-law last night when I asked if I could borrow a newspaper. ‘This is the 21st century, old man,’ he said. ‘We don’t waste money on newspapers. Here, you can borrow my iPad.’ I can tell you, that bloody fly never knew what hit it…”
LEADING A COMMUNICATIONS AGENCY with clients as broad as the NTPA through to multinational printers and Fire Engineering consultants I get exposed to a lot of different points of view towards digital technology – and it’s not all roses!
Some people find it hard to adopt new technology, particularly when they feel like it’s been forced on them and is suddenly replacing the ways of working and living that they understand – just like the father in the joke above.
But once we dip our toes in the water, and trial some of the amazing new gadgets available, we quickly find that modern-day technology can really enhance, not hinder, our lives.
A great example of how embracing technology can improve your lifestyle are some long-time colleagues who have recently become grey nomads and have embraced iTunes through their iPod and have now got an amazing, infinite soundtrack to their travels. Perhaps one of the simplest yet most exciting improvements to our lives through technology has been the smart phone and iPad. We recently furnished an organisation with iPads; the beauty is they keep all the communication and documentation relied upon in a secure and central place. Every time new documents need to be reviewed or critical new information is to be circulated to staff, an Alert is automatically sent through their iPad – a streamlined, simple and very efficient means of communication.
Our clients have been fast to embrace the very modern way of working. One of the amazing benefits is being able to Skype from the iPad. Now when staff are away from their work stations they can speak to their colleagues. It is like they are in the same room.
The most significant impact of the iPad is undoubtedly the leaps and bounds in development the technology has brought to toddlers and small children, particularly autistic children. Specially designed apps used as part of long-term therapy are enabling many autistic children to communicate often for the first time. The portability and immediacy of iPads means parents can demonstrate solutions and new ideas to those children on the spot, instead of waiting a week or longer for a therapy session.
In an everyday sense, social media sites like Facebook mean we can keep in constant contact with children and grandchildren who are travelling overseas – no more thinking the worst when we haven’t heard from them for a month. And the beauty is we can be passive, non-intrusive users and hear their stories via their posts, or part of their social network actively posting – we can choose the level of engagement we want.
Sometimes the idea of new gadgets, widgets and ways of thinking and working can get overwhelming and we stick like glue to our old ways. But if we, and the old man in our joke, takes just a small but brave step and embraces a piece of new technology we find it’s not an over overwhelming presence here to revolutionise how we do things, but a fantastic partner to help us improve our lives.