From lo-tech to smart-tech: How tech trends have changed our lives

Posted 16/01/2020 by E.ON

Do you remember what the world was like before the internet? In the 1980s, cordless landline phones were the closest thing most of us had to a mobile phone. And back then, mobile phones looked like gigantic plastic ‘brick phones’ that we only knew existed because we saw them in a movie once or twice.

Once dial-up internet came around in the 1990s, that reality started to shift, but most of us only used the internet for sending an occasional email or to ‘Ask Jeeves’ a question. It wasn't until the early 2000s that a faster, more reliable connection enabled us to use the internet to search for anything and to connect with each other in new ways. That's when Wikipedia and Google took off and Myspace paved the way for social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to follow. 

 

From smartphones to smart homes

Over the past four decades technology has advanced rapidly and the way we live our lives has changed along with it. Smartphones went mainstream in the 2010's – that's less than 10 years ago. Now it's hard to imagine not having one.

Globally, there are now almost 4.4 billion people online (more than half the world's population), with just under half (45%) using some form of social media. More than 5 billion people worldwide have mobile devices, and half of those are smartphones. Instead of CDs, DVDs, boomboxes and DVD players, many of us now stream music and movies from our phones, tablets, TVs or smart speakers with subscription services like Spotify or Netflix. 

Amazon's introduction of free fast shipping nearly 15 years ago changed the way we shop and it has become one of the biggest retailers in the world.

Inevitably, the wide adoption of smartphones has led us to embrace smart home tech and the internet of things, where everyday objects like plugs and light bulbs can be connected to the internet and controlled with an app on our phones, tablets or computers. And with the rise of smart speaker ownership worldwide, you can control your compatible smart home devices with only the sound of your voice.

To flaunt or not-to-flaunt? That is the question 

Technology has become so integrated in the way we live our lives that consumers now look for technology that can either blend into their home decor or stand out as a showpiece to brag about to guests. For example, you could mount your smart TV to camouflage with the fireplace, install a stylish compact combi boiler that effortlessly fits in with other smart tech in your house, or use a smart thermostat that seamlessly blends in with your walls and enables to you control your heating from wherever you are.

 

The future is even smarter

Our adoption of technology has evolved alongside our perceptions of the internet and social media, ultimately shifting the way we communicate with one another and the way we live our daily lives.

We're more interconnected than ever and with the rapid changes in technology over the past 20 years, it's good to question what our lives will look like in the next 20 years. How will we adapt and change as our technology continues to shift and evolve? What will the future of energy use in the home actually look like, with more and more of us now expecting cleaner energy, upgrading to smart meters and investing in technologies such as solar and battery and electric cars

Only time will tell. In the meantime, embrace the possibilities.

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