We live in a world of shrinking attention spans, with new technology and trends continuously popping up and trying to be ‘the next big thing’. In this day and age, one of the surest signs of success is simply enduring the passage of time and remaining relevant. August 2016 marks a crucial milestone for PGi as we celebrate our 25th anniversary. Our enduring presence in the technology industry and collaboration space is a testament to our dedication to enabling our users to better communicate and collaborate.
PGi also happens to share its birthday with another technology heavy hitter: the World Wide Web. On August 23, 1991, the World Wide Web was first introduced to the world by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee. Since then, the web has grown at a shocking rate, with over 1.07 billions websites and 4.37 billion web pages on the World Wide Web today.
Both PGi and the World Wide Web have withstood the test of time and proved to be a crucial asset to their users. The collaboration solutions offered by PGi have evolved in tandem with the web, with the scope and ease of use of the World Wide Web enabling PGi to provide end users with access to enhanced communication and collaboration on a global scale.
To celebrate the hallmark anniversaries of PGi and the World Wide Web, we are pleased to bring you 25 ways the internet and collaboration have changed our lives in 25 years.
We are no longer limited by geography, destined to communicate only with those near our own physical locations. From job interviews to intimate conversations between friends, you can now communicate with anyone you want, no matter where they are.
When I was a kid, if I wanted to learn about lunar phases or cell biology, I turned on Bill Nye the Science Guy. If I had a question about ancient Mesopotamia, I cracked open the Encyclopedia Britannica. Now, if there’s something I want to know, I can Google it on my iPhone in a split second and get the information that I need.
In this day and age, having a ‘face-to-face’ meeting doesn’t necessarily entail being in the same physical space. Putting in “face time” with someone can take place from opposite ends of the globe with video calling and conferencing technology.
Back in the day, sharing was simply something you learned in preschool. Contemporary technology has elevated the “sharing is caring” concept to a whole new level. Whether you’re “sharing” a post on Facebook or sharing your screen during a web conference, “sharing” plays a crucial role in how we communicate and collaborate on a daily basis.
Digital communication can feel flat without the personal touch of human emotion we experience during in-person interactions. With so much of our communication now taking place virtually, we have been given some creative new ways to express our emotions digitally.
25 years ago, the word “remote” simply meant a device you used to change the channel from Cheers to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air when your parents weren’t looking. Thanks to the internet and contemporary conferencing solutions, the term “remote” has taken on a whole new meaning. Remote work has opened up the door for many employees across the globe and created a new workforce that would not exist without modern technology.
In this day and age, we don’t really spend time doing nothing anymore. According to a 2011 Google study, nearly 40 percent of smartphone owners admitted to using their phones in the bathroom, and a similar percentage reported using their cellphone when they’re bored.
8. We Are More Video-Oriented
As you can imagine, spending so much time staring at screens has made us more visual beings, and that doesn’t show any sign of letting up. It is estimated that by 2017, nearly 70% of all traffic on the web will be videos.
The concept of “business hours” has all but disappeared with contemporary technology. With so many people working remotely in disparate time zones, meetings can happen at any hour of the day and the constant stream of incoming emails never seems to let up.
10. Interpersonal Relationships Are Easier to Facilitate
Modern technology and the internet have allowed us to have a larger network of personal connections, and with that network comes the opportunity to make every more connections through mutual acquaintances. The internet has made it easier than ever to meet people and build relationships because it gives us a foot in the door and an easy way to start a dialogue with a stranger.
If there’s something you don’t know, all you have to do is Google it. Almost anything you could ever want to learn is accessible to you with just a few swipes on your smartphone. Don’t know how to do something? There’s a YouTube video tutorial for that. Don’t know a historical fact? Google it. Have a question about how to file your taxes? Look it up. We have so much information as our disposable and there simply is no excuse for ignorance anymore.
In a recent study by Scott Wallsten, a senior researcher at the Tech Policy Institute, it was found that for every minute you spend on “online leisure time” (that is, not working or checking email), you spend 1.2 fewer minutes on personal care, which includes sleep.
In the same study cited above, it was found that for every minute you spend on “online leisure time”, you spend 2. fewer minutes working, a number that spikes to 3.75 fewer minutes if you’re in your 30s.
Whether it’s a good or bad thing, contemporary technology has led us to multitask more frequently and is even changing how our brains work; according to Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse and one of the world’s leading brain scientists, “technology is rewiring our brains” due to the constant deluge of interruptions and information.
As the prevalence of the internet has increased, so, too, have the opportunities for self-education found online. Whether you’re looking to learn a language or learn how to code, there is a way to learn your desired craft on the internet if you are only willing to put the time and effort in to educate yourself.
16. We Have a Harder Time Maintaining a Work/Life Balance
Technology in our lives has created a scenario where we’re inclined to check our phones at all hours of the day, and if something pressing pops up in our inbox, we’re all too eager to take care of it during our downtime. If Rihanna has taught us anything, it’s that too much work is definitely a bad thing. It’s important to find a way to maintain that evasive work-life balance in the “always on” environment created by contemporary technology.
It used to be that if you didn’t return an email, people just assumed you were away from your computer. Now, if you ignore a text or put off responding to an email, the sender of said message knows that, since you’re normally glued to your phone (like everybody else), your lack of a response means that you’ve seen the message and have simply chosen not to respond.
Thanks to social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, we are more socially connected than ever before. Our social circles are larger and the number of people we can reach is rapidly increasing as we build relationships and leverage our connections to expand our network.
The internet, surprisingly enough, has made us more trusting. In one study about how social networking sites impact our lives, it was found that a Facebook user who uses the website multiple times per day is 43 percent more likely than other internet users (and three times as likely as non-internet users!) to feel that most people can be trusted.
Collaboration used to take much more effort. But now, with video and audio conferencing software with file sharing and screen sharing capabilities, collaboration is always just a click away.
21. We Don’t Exercise Our Memories as Much
When you have all the information you could ever need stored on your phone, what’s the use of trying to memorize all that data? In a 2010 study, it was discovered that seven in 10 people don’t know their best friend’s phone number, and more than five out of 10 didn’t know their parents’ numbers. Technology has allowed us to give our brains a break, saving crucial phone numbers, dates and locations to its memory so we don’t have to store it in our actual memory.
22. You Have Your Own Personal Assistant in Your Pocket
Life gets a little crazy sometimes and in those times of stress, we can rely on our technology to have our backs. From Apple’s Siri to Amazon’s Alexa, technological innovations are constantly coming our way that give us our own virtual personal assistant.
23. How We Think About Space Has Changed
From your computer “desktop” to your iMeet “meeting room”, we spend our days in electronic representations of virtual space. The office doesn’t even have to be a physical location anymore, with telecommuting on the rise.
We live in an age where people fall in love on the internet and bosses manage their remote team members virtually. With tech assets like video conferencing, email and chat applications, technology has legitimized and enabled virtual relationships that are as meaningful as those shared between people who meet in person.
Say what you will about social media, but 67 percent of internet users say they’re closer to friends and family because they talk online.
Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that these technological innovations have changed the way we communicate and collaborate and, more broadly, how we live our lives. With the World Wide Web and conferencing technology, we are better able to connect with those around us (and those who are far away from us).