A Connected life during COVID-19
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 and 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, they’re entire life! We can all take a page from this book as we adapt to a connected life, says Joseph Zulick, a writer and manager at MRO Electric and Supply.
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.
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, most everyone farmed. According to pbs Death of a Dream – sustainable future (1) 90% of the population in the 1800 s 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.
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. The curse of knowledge that older people have is they are used to older programs and interfaces and the way those function and we don’t adapt well to the newer connectivity.
Since these programs are, for the most part designed by the younger generation, for the younger generation and start by not being tied to older systems and their antiquated designs. They are designed not engineered, meaning, they want the look and feel to be as important as the function. Be functional and fun if you’re trying to be part of a connected life.
Even for the more seasoned individual you find that your life is more connected whether you want it to be or not. Try to find an account you have in your life that is not connected? Most banking is now online and most services you pay for are paid online. Money? Cash? What is that? You find more people carrying less cash and live their lives via their credit card or bank card. Less checks are used as we use electronic transfers.
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 Pokemon 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
In a recent article (2) 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 these challenges in the 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 the services like zoom have had a huge increase.
For some business services like toastmasters (speaking and leadership) which was a business 90% face to face, now they are 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 lock down. 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.
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. Precision Metal Forming Association president, David Klotz was on an episode of Destiny of Manufacturing podcast (3) where he talked about how they are even adding 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 COVID-19 Virus.
Working from home challenges some of our systems. IoT provides a level of connectivity to manufacturing plants. You can now remote in or use web publishing to view production status, shipping numbers, downtime causes. All of these systems now become even more important.
Stay safe, work and live smart!
The author is Joseph Zulick, a writer and manager at MRO Electric and Supply.