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  • Writer's pictureDean Anthony Gratton

Digitally responsible or digitally intoxicated?

The technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) industries cover a broad range of digital sins, which touch upon most, if not all, aspects of our everyday lives.

A science fiction reality

The TMT sector is currently booming with unparalleled growth, diversity and convergence which, in turn, disrupts traditional business models and warps our once traditional way-of-working. In fact, TMT is singularly responsible for introducing a whole new way of thinking and there’s nothing wrong with that!

It’s a sector that regularly rewrites our market beliefs and expectations; creates new business opportunities and initiatives, and constantly challenges our perception of the norm, whilst igniting unexpected growth and boosting revenue; likewise, it bolsters the need for new ecosystems supporting a data stream that provides invaluable insight as to how consumers experience new services and products. More so, TMT holistically raises the whole customer experience from what was once considered pure fantasy into a science fiction reality.

Love at first byte

I guess for most people, they’ve been dropped indiscriminately into the digital ocean quite unexpectedly. You see, this new digital era has come about rapidly and, alas, armbands weren’t provided. The majority of us are, to some extent, still coming to terms with a new digital world and are striving to understand how to ride this wave of change. And it’s full-on – I mean it’s inescapable, with social platforms sailing alongside traditional media with larger engines and a new generation of adopters that have been born into a digital age where surfing and clouds have a whole new meaning. We have developed a new digital language that continues to evolve and shift our perception of life and, indeed, expectations. It’s all about instant gratification at the push of a button and for some of us born in pre-digital times that can be a frightening thing.

And it seems that digital has also encroached on our homes, with smart things we never knew we needed yet now just can’t do without such as smart lighting and Amazon’s Alexa. Yep, she’s in almost every room in my home, waking us up to our favorite tracks, controlling lights in the kitchen, bedroom and sitting room, as well as setting the heating temperature and even cracking an on-demand joke or two. No matter where I am in the house I can use her to pretty much control everything. Even via our cinema screen, using Amazon’s Fire TV Alexa capabilities I can ask her, to play, pause and rewind – whatever did I do before she came into my life? It was love at first “byte” of her cloud-centric memory and I admit I’d be lost without her.

Is it all too much?

In a recent study, it seems the younger generation – the so-called “Generation Z” – are paving the way to even greater digitization with a relentless thirst for new technology, according to EY’s “Decoding the digital home 2019: Early adopters and digital detoxers.” Most notably, it describes how the smartphone has become the focal point for most users, where streaming content for single and family households has become the main source of home entertainment. 

However, we’re told that most things in life should be undertaken responsibly and in moderation, right? According to the EY report, millennials have become overwhelmed with digital choice, whether that’s for broadband or the plethora of streaming services available, such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime. So, is it just all too much?

Switching off the internet

Generation Z are happy to favor mobile data rather than fixed broadband and, with this in mind, the 5G proposition within the home is leveraging its position to have a significant role across the household, servicing its users with mobile broadband. So, whilst the choice for millennials is, many would argue, too great, and with ever-increasing pervasive technologies, we have arrived at a point where, according to EY, much of this new generation just wants to step back and digitally detox.

More specifically, the report mentions that, “43% of households are actively seeking time away from their smartphone and other internet enabled devices,” up from 41% in 2017. Interestingly the figure is even higher for younger and perhaps more digitally savvy users. It boldly states that “half of all 25 to 34 year olds are looking to digitally detox.”

And this whole detoxication malarkey is not limited to smartphone or other internet-enabled devices. Browsing the internet has similarly peaked, where users are now spending less time searching the web. In fact, the report notes that the “move away from browsing is partnered by the desire for the familiar. 41% say they only use a small number of websites that they are already familiar with, up from 38% in 2017. That also applies to mobile apps, with over half (51%) either not using any apps or just a few that they are familiar with.”

Until next time …

I have to admit that I do tend to trawl through familiar websites to garner my technology-related news and world news – I even drop into a YouTube video to become agitated at “bad drivers in the UK,” which I admit is procrastination at its best, since I’m sure I have something better to do! I have my own “well-oiled” routine, which consists of switching on my computer, checking the news and checking how our solar panels are easing our rising electricity costs. With all this, my level of digital fatigue is yet to kick in, as it’s just become second nature for me, irrespective of my age!

So, this is where a “digitally intoxicated and loving it” Dr. G signs off.

Originally published in Technically Speaking.


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a technology influencer, analyst & futurist 

I dispel the rumours, gossip and hype surrounding new technology

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