Is it not strange how technology creeps up on us and slowly permeates into all aspects of our daily life and it is only when we are without something we start to realise how dependent we have become on it. I am old enough to have seen the advent of computers into the everyday work place. I remember my first mobile phone purchased in 1986, a Motorola transmobile which cost Â£22.50 per month line rental and 50p per minute or part of a minute for calls, and our first office computer purchased in 1987, a Commodore twin floppy machine. Obviously before that we saw the advent of word processors and other devices.
The rate of advance has been incredible. I remember my daughter who is now just turning 21 asking me when she was younger "What DVDs did you watch when you were a child?" and having to explain that not only had the DVD not been invented when I was a child I was in my late teens when video recorders were just being introduced - yes I remember the battles between Betamax and VHS! I even had an eight track in my one car.
However, I reminisce and return to my current thoughts about technology.Â Over the years as accountants and advisors, we have seen technology enable us to deliver our services in much shorter time scales which have kept costs to clients down and now fewer staff deliver significantly more in a shorter time. We have remote working and this enables greater flexibility. The counter is that whilst I remember as accountants being open on Saturdays, now office hours are becoming increasingly a thing of the past with people expecting more accessibility and instant reactions. It used to be the fax that was used to speed things up; now it is the email - we all know how irritating it can be when you get a phone call half an hour after receiving an email from someone saying "I sent you an email but haven't had a reply yet". But the problem is that we don't realise how much we rely on technology until we don't have it.
A couple of weeks ago I was working remotely from home on the Saturday morning when at about midday I suddenly lost my internet connection. After the usual wait on the phone, which was working perfectly, I was answered by BT, my provider, who after running various checks told me that they could not see what the problem was and would have to escalate it to the technical team as it was probably something at the exchange. Obviously no connection I could not work, much to my wife's delight, so other than mild irritation got on.Â I had a call on Sunday to tell me the fault had been fixed at the exchange and they would need me to reset my router to check it had worked - it hadn't! End result was Wednesday the engineers (two in two vans) arrived and crawl all over my connections and wiring and after nearly 4 hours determine that it was not in the house but a technical issue at the exchange which was, after some phone calls to the technical people, fixed. Although not being able to work effectively from home was an irritation it is the other things where you suddenly realise how much we use technology - to order things, look up phone numbers etc and the biggest customer service faux pas
- holding for BT broadband faults when the recorded message keeps saying 'many answers can be found on our website at wwwâ€¦.!!!'.
However, to cap it all our office internet connection died yesterday so suddenly no emails or connectivity. Fortunately this was fixed in a few hours but frustration builds very quickly.
However, again back to my points, I am reasonably technologically aware but I consider myself as someone who uses technology for practical reasons rather than just because it is there. So no, I have never taken a "selfie" and indeed have only had a smart phone for just over a year simply because my old faithful Nokia 6310i wore out. But it was this removal of the internet that made me realise how even I had become so dependent upon this accessibility and was further amused when my mother-in-law called me to say my wife had left her mobile behind at their house. What was the first thing she had done - call my wife's mobile to tell her she had left it behind!
I go on holiday tonight and I take for granted the technology that will control the flights etc, but I will still take my tablet with me - not for work, my wife would kill me, but just so I have access to those bits and pieces I 'need' such as checking out local restaurants, finding out routes and generally organising things. Do I hark back to the 'good old days' when we didn't have all these things - most definitely not!Jonathan RussellReesRussell
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