Christmas 2020 won’t be much like any others we’ve ever known before. In some ways that’s a sad thing, and in others, a clear benefit. You may doubt it right now, but I’ll explain: You may not be able to jet off to sunnier climes since social distancing, two lockdowns and a general concern with being in a tin can breathing recycled air would put anyone off air travel. You may not be able to go skiing for much the same reason, and the thought of putting extra stress on local hospitals if you break a limb when they’re busy dealing with people who are sick because of Covid seems unfair. But a year of social distancing and lockdowns has taught us to be resilient, to rely on our common sense, and to embrace technology as our friend instead of an inconvenience which must be overcome. Broadband internet is here to save Christmas!
Perhaps I’m preaching to the wrong people, and it’s technophobes and traditionalists who really need to get the message, but there seem to be fewer and fewer of them around since connecting with digital communications, and therefore each other is becoming increasingly easy.
I for one could not be bothered with Skype, and have eschewed it even until now. There were simply too many steps and then it was unclear who could be contacted. Skype to Skype made sense, but Skype to mobile or landline was just a faff (as I say, I never adopted, so it may be much elegant now). What 2020 did do was introduce us to Zoom meetings though. Since I went to university more than a decade ago I have been sadly remise about keeping in touch with my family. I’m not fond of the town where they live and prefer to stay in Sussex, yes, even at Christmas and the major holidays. But this year I’ve been seeing my sister and our clique of friends who also moved away via Zoom since it is such an easy piece of software to install and use, both on a phone and on my deskbound computer. True, it’s a paid product if you want unlimited time in meetings, for corporate use et cetera, but if you’re not a business you can use up the 40 minutes, get thrown out, and log back in again using the same meeting details and carry on where you left off.
Facebook has gone to extraordinary efforts to make socialising live as easy as possible. They also own WhatsApp, the instant messaging and VoIP app, then there’s Apple’s Facetime app which, like Zoom, allows you to see and talk to friends and family wherever they are in real time, and of course Instagram which, if used in a family friendly way, is a great way to share stills and video of yourself, the kids and your pets with others who are separated from you by distance and necessity.
So what about Christmas? How is digital technology and broadband internet going to help make the holidays anything like ‘normal’?
People who’ve previously been bypassed by technology have taken the opportunity to use more intuitive, easy to manage installations & interfaces, and people who are keen early adopters are picking up the latest platforms, deciding which are their preferred, and dropping the ones they don’t find advantageous. The result is that people are keeping in much closer touch than ever before.
Meeting platforms and VoIP means no phone charges, so family can talk to one another wherever they are in the world for free (broadband internet charges notwithstanding). Friends who’ve lost contact previously can find one another on Facebook then Zoom or Facetime with one another, individually or in groups.
It’s only a couple of weeks to go, so I’ll be finding out what my mum will be cooking, sharing recipes on Pinterest, and the pictures of the final meal on Instagram, and then sitting down to eat it in a Zoom meeting with my parents, my sister, her boyfriend, my brother and his family. After that we’ll enjoy card games together. We discovered that not only is Cards Against Humanity free to download, it’s very easily adapted to play across the internet, and almost as much fun to play as being in the same room together.
Naturally all of this relies on a fast, reliable cheap source of broadband data. Another considerable barrier to entry previously was the high cost of line rental, poor signal for those who used wireless instead of cable connections, and usage limits. Now that we have fibre to the door in so many areas, 4G (and 5G just around the corner) making phones as fast and functional as desktop computers. Today it’s easier and cheaper to get superfast and ultrafast broadband internet wherever you are thanks to fibre technology and wireless. Not so long ago internet access was seen not as a luxury, but as something which was too bad if you couldn’t get it. Today it’s part of the ‘basket of goods’ which make up the metrics of inflation and the Consumer Price Index.
If your internet access isn’t all it should be, you find Zoom meetings glitch or streaming movies keep freezing just when it’s getting to a good bit give Briants a call on 01273 465377. We specify and install cabling and networking devices and now even supply our own range of ultrafast data deals to people living in and around Worthing.