22 February 2018
Five Ways Technology Is Improving Our Lives
Technology never ceases to amaze me. Almost daily, I read about another exciting breakthrough. We know more about ourselves and our world than ever. We work smarter. We connect with faraway family and friends. We have the power to make smarter use of resources. I’ve had a passion for technology since I was in school, and I count myself as very fortunate to work in the midst of Australia’s IT industry.
Technology, of course, has its critics. We have a responsibility to use its power wisely – and securely. And we certainly must make sure we step away from the screen often enough to engage with others. But overall, there are many ways that new technology is improving our lives – here are five of my favourites.
The cars being created by American auto maker Tesla are the sort of thing we may have dreamed of a decade ago. They are transforming the car market, and reducing our dependence on petrol at the same time. Current Tesla models cost around $1,500 to drive a whopping 30,000 kilometres. If, like me, you aren’t a fan of handing over a chunk of your income to petrol stations every week, this is more than welcome.
The cars are equipped with enough technology to put the driver ahead of the game – on-board internet means the car obtains traffic reports via live Google, even providing adjustments to your route if there are traffic jams ahead. To keep you company on your commute, music is streamed via Spotify. The car can even be controlled via an app on your phone or watch, so you can switch on the aircon before you get to the car park. The way we drive is changing for the better.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
As capabilities increase, AI is becoming mainstream. Among the many areas of technology adopting AI, Microsoft has made great use of it to automate tasks and provide analytics. Their use of chatbots is making technology easier too use, and even helping to provide data that was once impossible to find. Machine learning is already transforming businesses, making them more efficient, and helping employees to be more productive. Expect more exciting AI developments in the coming months!
We can now track changing data more frequently – and far more quickly. An IoT (internet of things) device, connected to the internet, can provide constant feedback about everything from weather to warehouses. They can measure wear on mechanical equipment, and track the milk yield of individual cattle in a herd, so that a vet can be called before a minor problem turns into illness.
Perhaps the biggest advance for most of us is in healthcare. Among the many monitoring opportunities, the new breed of smart watches can provide data once only obtained by visiting the doctor. From tracking sleep to alerting to changes in heart rate, smart watches can detect signs of potentially serious conditions.
While it is still expensive in Australia, high speed internet is available to most businesses and an increasing number of homes. This opens up a new opportunity to capitalise on cloud technologies. Improved remote access enables businesses and staff to be more flexible. We can expect more people to move to less expensive housing in regional towns and rural areas, thanks to the ability to do much of their work from home. Meanwhile, services are becoming far more subscription-based, and less about physical products and capital expense. Those embracing new business models have much to be happy about.
One of the biggest business trends for organisations is creating often geographically diverse teams to work together on projects. Using tools available in popular software such as Office 365, and specialist collaboration products, allows multiple people to work together on the same document at the same time. Each individual can work when they are available, producing a quicker result.
Narrowing my list to five was a tough task, given the rate at which technology is developing. Whatever your lifestyle, and however you work, there are technologies to make your day easier, less costly, and more fun. Tell us what technologies would make your list!
Troy Adams, Managing Director