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For the radio, the television, the set-top box, the satellite receiver, the light, the fan. He has a cordless telephone in every room. They are all connected to the same line. The television is on half the day. He doesn’t use e-mail, but he does go and look in the letterbox every day. Telephone conversations are invariably short, because, in his eyes, minutes cost.
I’m almost 60 and I have a landline and a mobile. I have a few remote controls for audio and video devices and some apps to manage the odd thing or two. I have radio and TV on my tablet, too. From time to time, my partner and I watch a program that we’ve recorded on the set-top box. Otherwise, we just watch programs when they are broadcast. We use e-mail a lot and the post from time to time. Telephone conversations with the family sometimes last an hour.
My daughter Sarah is almost 30. She doesn’t have a landline any more, just a smartphone. She has a Netflix subscription. Some days, she watches several episodes of the same series. She doesn’t watch the news. She finds out what is happening from the Internet, social media and YouTube. Facebook and Whatsapp are the perfect tools to communicate with her friends. She rarely answers the phone straight away when we call. Her social life takes place mainly online and, at the weekend, she often makes arrangements with her friends via social media.
Sarah is expecting her first child (a daughter). What will she use? The light will come on automatically when she enters a room. She will say something – hop – and the music will come on. She won’t need a telephone or a smartphone, because telephony will be built in everywhere. Telephone conversations will follow her from room to room. A car? No need: she’ll rent a car for each journey. As a matter of fact, the car will become her public transport. She won’t have to go to the shops anymore. They’ll bring washing powder automatically, when hers has all gone. And there will be cameras and screens everywhere, so that she can communicate with her friends online.
And I thought I was modern when I bought my first VHS recorder, DVD player or digital camera. My future granddaughter will laugh at me when I use a computer mouse or look something up in a book. But I won’t laugh when she cries, when she’s hungry or crossed in love, just like the generations before me. No matter how the technology evolves from generation to generation, social contact with families, friends, colleagues and customers will always be the most important thing. Including in business.
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