Earlier today, I got a glimpse of the benefits of present-day communication technology. I’m so accustomed to being able to talk to anyone and find information about anything at just about any time that I normally don’t give it a second thought. But today I noticed.
While I was sitting at my desk in Cape Town, my cellphone rang. It was my father, calling from his car (Isn’t Bluetooth useful?) to ask for assistance in solving a car-related problem. He was driving between two quite distant towns a few hundred kilometres away from where I was.
He described his problem to me. I understood what he was talking about. He’d accidentally activated something in his car and wasn’t happy about the effects. Knowing that he’d probably pressed a button by accident, however, didn’t get me any closer to helping him solve his problem.
I needed to know the layout of his steering wheel controls (there are way too many controls in his car – whoever at Ford designed the steering wheel didn’t do it very well – and they’re not that easy to read when driving on a freeway at speed) so I could tell him what to press to deactivate this particular system.
So I googled the steering wheel of his car, looked at the first good quality image I found, and saw what needed to be done. If I hadn’t known his car relatively well, I could quite easily have found the manual too, which would have explained what was required.
I called him back and told him which buttons to press (by location on the steering wheel – yes, there are that many). His problem went away (it was an inconvenience rather than a fault) and he carried on driving happily towards his destination.
The whole process was so straightforward. A short phone call; a quick google search; and another phone call. So easy. But just a few years ago, it could not have gone so smoothly.
We both have access to mobile phones – which is a given in 2015. If not, he would have been unable to call me. I have access to the internet 24/7, which is a fairly recent development in my own life (he still doesn’t have easily accessible internet access on the go).
The information I needed could be found in a matter of seconds thanks to Google and the popularity of the internet. While the internet has existed for quite a while now, the development of search technology has made information so accessible that it’s hard to fathom how anyone managed before Google existed.
Communication technology really is making our lives easier. I experienced it first-hand today, and that was just one very simple example of the benefits of today’s technology.
Another benefit, of course, is that I can write this post and you, wherever you are in the world, can read it pretty much immediately. Long live the internet!