Technology has played a key role in shaping modern life. Historians pinpointed three milestones that transformed modern society. With each of these developments – mechanical production, the age of science and the rise of digital technology – society changed. Industry experts believe it’s happening again – right now – for the fourth time.
This time it’s digital transformation powering the revolution.
In this blog post, we’ll look at five ways the internet, social media and cloud computing is changing our society.
#1 – Communication
Hands up if you use WhatsApp, iMessage, FaceTime, Skype? There’s a wealth of devices and apps we can use to communicate with each other.
With new technology comes new rules. We’re no longer bound to geographical locations, stamped letters and extortionate dialling charges – the power of the internet and instant messaging allows us to connect with anybody worldwide.
So, it doesn’t matter if you need to speak with your friend sat next to you, or your uncle laying in his hammock in Australia – with a simple message you can reach them instantly.
There’s no denying digital transformation has revolutionised the way we communicate. But, the new methods of communication mean that we’re always connected and reachable. So, when you want to relax, you’re only a ‘send’ button away from contact.
#2 – Social media
It’s difficult to imagine a world without social media. Where would you go to find hilarious cat memes? Brag about making the world’s greatest brew? Or give your opinion on your teams latest signing?
Social media is here to stay, whether you like it or not. Hootsuite’s annual report on digital trends revealed 42% of the world’s population use social media, and anyone with a social network login can interact with thousands of people worldwide. This gives you the power to converse with like-minded people, complain about a company’s customer service and even show off pictures of your cat.
With the popularity of social media increasing, so is the number of platforms available. Each channel has unique properties that shape its online community. For example, Twitter’s 280 character limit and Snapchat’s 10-second rule; epitomise our short attention spans and thirst for the latest content.
It’s important to remember social media users can post anonymously and create false identities. This increases the likelihood of cyberbullying and questions the validity of the person you’re speaking to. Also, to help protect your identity, we recommend you never share personal or financial details on social media.
#3 – Education
Think back to your days as a student – did you ever miss a lecture because you overslept? Did you hit snooze one too many times? Or were you trying to shake off a night of heavy drinking?
In the past, you’d have to ask a peer if you can borrow their barely legible notes to catch up on what you’ve missed. But now, through cloud computing and the internet, educational institutions can upload entire seminars as part of an eLearning initiative. Sleep-deprived students have ample opportunities to catch-up on lectures they’ve missed, and we can access a wider range of courses online – which gives greater flexibility to what and when we study.
Online search engines are efficient and have created a culture of ‘self-learning’. Whether you’re wondering how many goals Harry Kane has scored for England or want to know the meaning of Pythagoras’ theorem – you can learn the answer via a quick search.
However, it’s worth remembering that not everything you read on the internet is accurate. For example, anyone with an internet connection can edit a Wikipedia page. So, before citing something you’ve read online you should consider the legitimacy of the source.
#4 – Personal finance
Can you remember the last time you visited a bank? Or paid for something with a cheque? Digital transformation has revolutionised personal finance – we’re no longer reliant on face-to-face meetings with account managers. Instead, we can use any internet-enabled device to log in to our online bank accounts.
The majority of online banking apps have the same functionality as visiting a bank in person – as long as you have an internet connection you set up direct debits, enforce budget controls and even apply for a mortgage.
Although internet banking has stringent security checks, there have been some cases of fraud – where criminals intimate banks to obtain an individual’s financial details. So, it’s important that you only share sensitive information with banks and trusted sources.
#5 – Entertainment
Remember the days when the only way to watch the latest movies was to go to the cinema? And if you wanted to re-watch a favourite you’d have to rent the video from Blockbuster?
Fast-forward to 2018, the improvements in internet connectivity mean we can visit any location that has Wi-Fi and comfortably stream our favourite shows and movies. Streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, compile the latest TV series, films and original content – leaving us spoilt for choice.
Upload and download speeds have also significantly improved, this enables us to download entire movies and episodes within minutes. You can then view the on-demand content at your own convenience and schedule the latest entertainment offerings into your everyday routine.
Although digital transformation has made it easier for us to access our favourite films and TV shows, we’ve reached a point of content salutation. It’s often distracting and time-consuming to find something that’s worth watching.
We’re still in the early stages of digital transformation. Despite this, we can already count the numerous ways it has changed everyday life. In the second part of this series, we’ll discuss how digital transformation has changed the way we work.