Early in 2019, the internet officially celebrated its 30th birthday. Very few of us will have been aware of its journey since the very start but those of a certain age will have enjoyed its privileges for around 20 years while the millennials among us will struggle to remember a time prior to the World Wide Web.
What really unites us all is the fact that we can’t go about our day without relying on the internet at some point but we all seem to take that point for granted. With thirty years having passed, it’s perhaps a good time to look at five industries that have been transformed by technology in the digital age.
The very first mobile phone was produced by Motorola way back in 1973. The industry may be fast approaching its 50th birthday but it’s fair to say that the technology in today’s equipment is a million years away from that of its predecessors. Initially, with a mobile phone you could simply make a call: Yes, that’s essentially what it’s designed for but take a look now at that tiny piece of kit in your pocket.
When the 1970s came along, Man may have landed on the Moon, but digital tech remained very primitive. Even when the mobile phone industry saw an increase in consumerism towards the end of the 1990s, we couldn’t do much with our kit other than send and receive calls. Texts gradually came into being and were followed by some basic games. Now, our phones are filled with apps, shortcuts to social media accounts and we can regularly check and send emails. Yet we still wonder why our batteries run down so quickly…
In 2017, it was claimed that 5 billion people owned a mobile in an industry that is worth billions of dollars. In forty years, that’s a huge increase.
Prior to the birth of the internet, betting on a sports event or taking a spin at the casino was a closed concept for many. Like most businesses in those pre-digital days, it involved a trip out of the house but for many, there was an apprehension about travelling to play at the tables or take a punt in a physical betting shop.
The gambling industry has, therefore, harnessed the element of convenience and turned the industry into a sector that, in Canada alone, brings in some £15 billion in revenue each year. The quality of the games on offer has ensured playing at a live casino in Canada is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, whether at the roulette wheel or at the poker and blackjack tables. This has resulted in steady growth for the industry, in the face of many challenges, across the last two decades.
One of the benefits of digital technology lies in the power to offer more choice: some physical gaming floors, particularly those in Las Vegas, can be vast but all are limited to some degree by limitations over floor space. With an online casino, those restrictions aren’t an issue and in an era of increased bandwidth, there are 1000s of slot games, poker versions, roulette variants and much more to enjoy.
Power to the People
In certain industries, the arrival of the internet has led to a shift in power. The control has been taken out of the hands of big conglomerates and handed back to the individual and that’s been the case in the world of music.
Two decades ago, getting a song or an album to market meant heavy production work and a big outlay in producing vinyl. The growth of the compact disc reduced costs to an extent but still, the actual production of the medium was out of reach of the average musician. In the modern day however, all that has changed. Compose, record and upload is the new slimmed down version of getting a tune into the ears of millions of listeners worldwide. In simple terms, the process has cut out the middle man.
As a result, music is more accessible and also more diverse than ever before. More money is going back into the pockets of musicians too and that has to be a positive development that should encourage more great music to be produced in the future.
Like so many industries, the travel sector has been completely transformed by the birth of the digital age. Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, we could watch travel programmes on TV for a source of ideas before heading over to our local travel agents for additional advice. Many holidaymakers stuck to ‘what they knew’. I.E, they continued to return to trusted locations for fear of taking a chance on an unknown destination.
In the modern day, information on those destinations is much improved and far more readily available. Popular video hosting channels have dedicated sections for travel while high-class photography and extensive customer experience reviews are on tap to help us decide.
That improvement in multimedia selling tools gives travelers a greater sense of ‘being there’. As a result, more of us are choosing to explore uncharted destinations. More competition and fewer overheads lead to lower prices too and this is a sector where both consumers and sales companies are benefiting to an equal degree.
Karen and her husband live on a plot of land in British Columbia. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. They are also currently planning a move to a small cabin they hand built. Karen’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Thus sprung Anna’s interest in backyard gardening, chicken and goat keeping, recycling and self-sufficiency.