I often wonder how people survived back in the day, because if I was not born into the technology era, I am almost certain I would not cope with life nearly as well as I do today with it to guide me.
Allow me to elaborate: I am hopeless when it comes to directions – both giving and taking. If there were internal compasses being allocated at birth, I missed the handing out ceremony. If you want to get lost, ask me to give you directions.
If you are wondering what my sense of direction has to do with anything, wonder no more – this is a list of technology innovations that I love and use on a daily basis, like navigation apps.
After all, February is the month of love, and boy do I love tech. What better way to show it than with an homage to the tech that makes my life better?
I cannot believe (in fact I refuse to) that I am the only hopeless human being when it comes to directions.
The ability to switch on a navigation system and have it show me the quickest routes and what obstructions lie ahead is nothing short of amazing.
It always blows my mind when I’m told to go a certain route, only to hear on radio reports how my regular route is horribly congested; and not only that, the estimated time of arrival is often accurate within a minute or two!
That the network of GPS satellites orbiting the earth, the GPS sensors in my phone, my phone’s ability to display location and traffic information all work together in concert to do this for me in real time, continues to amaze me on a daily basis.
Ah, smartphones. Those super-convenient, ever-powerful, and all-consuming devices that I, for one, simply could not get through the day without. #Respect.
Most of us do everything on our phones; navigate, take notes, bank, run businesses, communicate with colleagues and more. And many parents are guilty of using them as modern pacifier when it comes to keeping children busy and/or quiet… myself included.
Whatever the use, one thing is certain: smartphones have become an important part of our daily lives, and without them, our lives wouldn’t be nearly as rich or connected as they are today.
Growing up, my siblings and I used to fight over memory sticks. They were a prized possession and the bigger the size, the greater the war.
The introduction of cloud has saved many parents that sort of headache. Small businesses, too.
The adoption of cloud has been exponential; saving people time, money, and giving them an always-available storage repository for their most cherished data that’s an internet connection away, among many other things.
Today, there’s no worrying about a lost memory stick that contained important documents or cherished memories, there’s no longer a need to delete old files because your memory stick is full, and there’s no stressing that servers are almost at capacity and that additional capex is needed to expand it.
Instead, extra storage is just a few clicks away, and only costs a few extra bucks per month on a cloud storage subscription that suits the business’s pocket.
My point is, there are plenty of affordable cloud packages that SMBs can purchase, that will enable them to store their essential data in easily-expanded, cost-effective, secure, and always-available ways. Goodbye, memory sticks, and hello the future.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, too; visit http://www.tarsusondemand.co.za/ for more information on a wide range of cloud-based services businesses can employ to streamline their operations.
If you have not heard of Uber then you might have been living off the grid for the past few years. It’s a phenomenon that has reached all corners of the earth. Well except maybe outer Mongolia, but Uber is probably working on a deal to get there as you read this, so it’s just a matter of time.
Not only does this “rent-a -ride” system solve a problem for those who don’t have cars of their own but who still want to get around, it also creates jobs and helps feed families.
I recently read an article about the behaviour of millennials and how they are spending their money on experiences instead of possessions. One thing I found interesting is that millennials prefer using services such as Uber instead of buying their own cars.
I can understand why: firstly, other drivers have the ability to ruin your day; secondly it takes forever to pay off a car (plus it’s a depreciating asset and who wants that); and third having someone else drive you to work creates an opportunity to fire up your laptop and get stuck in before you even reach the office. What’s not to love?
If you spend thousands of rands on a vehicle (and insurance) every month, you might want to look into selling it and Ubering everywhere instead. I know I have, but I live too far away for it to be practical. It’s still a great idea, though, and I love that it’s an option.
If I was handing out awards for my very favourite tech, I would have to give one to WhatsApp.
The famous messaging app has become the most popular form of communication in the world: this blog post says it has over 1.5 billion users, with the next-most popular platform – Facebook Messenger – 200 million users behind at 1.3 billion.
What makes WhatsApp so fantastic is that it’s quick to install, available on all major smartphone platforms, easy to use, and super cheap.
My favourite aspect of WhatsApp is I can chat with my family or friends across oceans and mountains and not worry about ridiculous telephone bills, as it uses data rather than the world’s GSM networks. Even though cellular data isn’t particularly cheap in South Africa, voice doesn’t use much. And if I’m on Wi-Fi, WhatsApp comms are effectively free.
I love how I can have an hour-long voice conversation on WhatsApp and spend less than R10 – even less if I’m on Wi-Fi.
WhatsApp, you biscuit.
I know students across the world will agree with me on this one: whoever came up with the idea of Wi-Fi is a genius.
It’s normal for people to walk into a restaurant and ask for the Wi-Fi password before ordering anything else, and for parents to use it as a motivator for kids to do stuff (“Clean your room and I’ll give you today’s Wi-Fi password”). I know that’s what I will be doing when my daughter is old enough.
It’s fair to say that Wi-Fi has become almost as important as the air we breathe, and that’s no exaggeration.
But Wi-Fi is not just for students or parents or people at restaurants: most businesses have free Wi-Fi for their employees and visitors. It’s a fantastic incentive for visitors to visit, and staff always appreciate not having to use their cellular data while at work.
Wi-Fi, I love you.
I recently learned that the total quarterly demand for PCs (including desktops and notebooks) in South Africa 360 000 units. I don’t know about you, but that is a lot of laptops to me, especially when you multiply that number by four to arrive at the annual figure.
I cannot think of a profession that does not use laptops or desktops. If we think about the main industries that newly-elected president Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned in his #SONA2018 address – agriculture, education, mining, not forgetting the urgency at which we need to adopt rapid technological change – all of these make use of laptops and desktops.
And the above number only refers to our country; the global figures are even more astounding!
Me, I love my laptop. I love that I can use it anywhere, that my battery now lasts almost a full work day, and that it’s thinner and lighter than laptops were just a few years ago yet is somehow far more powerful than those old clunkers thanks to breakthroughs in CPU, battery, storage, and screen technologies.
As I go through this list, I can only imagine what the future holds.
Tech gurus are already testing and applying concepts such as Augmented Reality, self-driven cars and Artificial Intelligence to the products and services being developed by the tech sector, which in time will only get better and apply to our lives in ways which today, we can’t even imagine.
I am curious as to what technological innovations generations Z and beyond will love and use as part of their daily lives, and what will become the norm for them in the same way that smartphones and laptops are such a large part of our lives in ways our parents could never have guessed.
One thing is certain: someday, we will look back on even this list and laugh at how naïve we once were.
I just hope it’s not a Terminator-esque future, and we’re only laughing because that’s what our AI-created, automated-factory-produced Robot Overlords™ have decreed is What Is To Be Laughed At This Month as future humans toil away in internment camps.
Haha. Sort of.
Rositta Mbanze is the Communication Manager for the Tarsus Technology Group.