Indoors or outdoors, holiday or work, we don’t go offline much nowadays
Entrepreneurs running their business online, such as florists and luxury gifters, have become busier
As the holiday season progresses, I have been fascinated by how we consume information compared to the way we do when working at the office and from home. Who among us can honestly say that they have completely switched off except from the work e-mail system?
From buying and receiving gifts online, to streaming your favourite sitcom or a new movie on your laptop or TV, technology is not only part of today’s holiday experience — sometimes it is the holiday experience.
I find that technology interfaces with how we make decisions about what to do in our leisure time. It begins with checking the weather forecast on an app so we can be ready and anticipate how the day is going to pan out: heat, rain or wind. This would inform your decisions on going to the beach, hiking or rather staying indoors.
With everyone trying to avoid getting infected by the coronavirus, I appreciate the Covid-19 App’s help in monitoring the hotspots. My daughter tells me that Twitter enables her and others to have a voice on issues such as gender-based violence and Covid-19 that need their attention, even though we are confined to their homes. More importantly, these young adults are paying attention to what they need to do as individuals to avoid the spread — with technology-driven platforms such as Twitter young people are getting engaged and becoming aware.
As we enter the traditional time for family gatherings, people are unable to meet in person as they would normally, so platforms such as FaceTime and WhatsApp video calls have become the norm. This year, we will be toasting the various occasions visually. This shows how technology is ever present in our lives — we are online for various reasons; be it for holidays or for work. I believe we do not switch off; we just go online for different reasons depending on the choice of leisure pursuit.
With time on my hands now, I am setting more of it aside for reading books, some for entertainment and some for self-development. It is exciting that not all of these are hard copy — more are accessed through technological devices or purchased online, downloaded and read immediately. This is the nature of technology in our lives.
People are also still connecting via social media. I recently celebrated my birthday and was amazed at the number of wishes I received via professional platform LinkedIn, even though it was in a period when many businesses have shut for the holidays. Again, this is indicative of the ever present nature of technology in our lives, as we use it for various interests outside of work as well as for work itself.
Technology has enabled the restaurant industry to digitally transform when it comes to customer experience and has changed how we as patrons interact with our favourite eateries. First, we can check the restaurant menu online and quickly decide if we want to book a table or order a takeaway. Even fast food outlets have a strong presence online and are very quick to manage negative feedback about their service and products online.
Entrepreneurs running their business online such as florists and luxury gifting have become busier because more and more people are ordering items online and having them delivered through a seamless process powered by technology.
This is without a doubt a holiday season with a difference, and technology is certainly going to be a lifesaver to keep us connected. Technology is not for work only but helps us drive our lifestyle decisions even during holidays. It therefore becomes even more urgent that access and connectivity are affordable for broader society so that no-one is left behind in this digital era.
• Maubane is group executive for marketing at Altron.
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