A Connected Life While Staying Apart

The Technology Landscape

Fear. Everyone today is experiencing a level of fear most of us have never experienced in our lives. We all need to adopt a system of social distancing. This is problematic for those of us who are older and have been very social creatures in the old face-to-face way. Our younger society members have had a level of social interaction virtually, their entire life! We can all take a page from this book as we adapt to a connected life.

When I think back a long time ago to my childhood, the technology landscape was very different. We didn’t even have home computers in most households. Now today, kids are bombarded with technology. I suppose this made for a simpler time, but does that mean better? No, I wouldn’t say so. In these days when most homes now are semi, self-quarantined, it’s even more important to stay engaged.

Many yearn for the old days, but I say we are in the golden age of technology. Kids today live a connected life. It was even recommended during this time that we play video games to keep from getting too restless. Does your technology make your life worse? I wouldn’t think so. Some people want to pick and choose the technology they would live without.

A Simpler Life is Not So Simple

Would I want to live without electricity, air conditioning or indoor plumbing? No, not by a long shot. There are many books out there published about a simpler life, engaging home farming and taking these creations to times when most everyone was a farmer, no matter how big or how small, almost everyone farmed. According to the PBS documentary “Death of a Dream – Sustainable Future,” 90% of the population in the 1800s lived on farms. Today only 1%. Is this good or bad? I think it would be better if we all did some farming to help offset our usage, same as doing something to reduce our garbage and something to offset our electric use, etc. With the pandemic we are currently experiencing, it would have been better if we all had some level of self-sustainability. All are a good thing and provide benefits. Some, though, would have us go back to the Stone Age when humans were fewer and had less impact and influence.

I for one am happy for the technology today and the opportunities it brings to us. Our children have never had the struggles that those in the 1800s dealt with and that’s good. They have modern medicine, technology beyond our wildest dreams and a lack of fear that allows them to pursue their dreams. The connected life allows them to adapt to the modern computer and the sequence of operations much quicker than we have in our lives. Have you ever handed a child a smart device and watched them maneuver quickly from page to page, while we flounder to figure out what we are looking for and how to find it? Their level of understanding is so much better than even their parents.

The younger generation move on quickly when a poorly designed app or a lousy interface doesn’t function correctly. They do not tolerate subpar programs. They have grown up with easy-to-use interfaces with intelligent and intuitive controls. These are all designed so that someone who has never picked up a device can move quickly. These programs are equipped with a look and feel that is as important as the function itself. Even for the more seasoned individual, you find that your life is more connected than you may realize. Try to find an account you have in your life that is not connected. Functional and fun. It’s all a part of being part of a connected life.

A Balancing Act

How do we balance our lives? Just because we exist in a connected world does not mean we can’t still enjoy the outdoors. When Pokémon Go came out, it looked like a scene from the walking dead. Pale teenagers who hadn’t been outside in months walked like zombies searching for their next find. Too often, we look at how smart devices add a level of disengagement but there are opportunities for the opposite.

How do we balance our lives? Just because we exist in a connected world does not mean we can’t still enjoy the outdoors.

The benefits of a smart home are discussed such as energy consumption. When you have smart controls in your home you can adjust the time of the usage, the duration, temperature, heat or brightness. All of these can reduce your electric bills. So often we find ourselves looking at the disengaged.

Amidst the challenges of COVID19, smart devices can be a means of escape, a level of information, emergency preparedness, connectivity, and even our source for food.

Recently the food delivery services have seen a significant spike in deliveries and orders. For many trying to maintain the secure in place attitude, these services provide food, but many others deliver much of our other essentials.

For those working from home, services like Zoom and Teams have had a huge increase.

For some business services like toastmasters (speaking and leadership) where business was 90% face to face, they are now forced to adapt to the virtual world for their meetings. It’s impossible now to achieve these without a virtual component. Most meeting places, churches, restaurants, schools, senior living facilities are all on lockdown. Business has changed completely. It will not go back anytime soon. Even after the safe in place discussion ends and we resume a normal life, we will find that businesses will adopt a greater level of working from home and virtual meetings. Even for the gaming world, which was almost exclusively online, now has to deal even more online so their face-to-face tournaments are now closed to the public and only exist in the virtual world. The need for virtual products and using video remote in is becoming mandatory.

Staying Social While Apart

Adjusting to this new life has been easier for those who have lived it their entire life! The younger generation has been surrounded by electronics and has used this form of communication their whole lives. They have not seen the stir-crazy results that many of us who have always travelled or spent much of our lives on the road are now experiencing. Your home can start to feel like a prison as all of the social engagement you had is taken away.

We can learn a lot from a lifestyle that we may not understand. The communication via devices, the social aspect of computers, all of what may feel new may just be the new norm. For example, host a “happy hour” Zoom meeting where all of the office people get together over a network while they have a happy hour cocktail and discuss the week and even share some of their life experiences dealing with working from home and the pandemic. Working from home challenges some of our systems. IoT provides a level of connectivity to manufacturing plants.

Stay safe, work and live smart!

Joe Zulick
Joe Zulick is a manager and writer at MRO Electric and Supply
Joe Zulick

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