Carolina: Cruising Past 70: 4 NEW WAYS OF UTILIZING TECHNOLOGY ON THE GO

Thursday, May 31, 2018

4 NEW WAYS OF UTILIZING TECHNOLOGY ON THE GO



I wrote about this subject at the end of 2012. Since then, new technologies have arrived, for example, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of People (IoP). Technology is defined as the sum total of state-of-the-art means to solve practical problems. My previous article focused on RVing but, since we have sold our RV in March of 2017 and settled in a home at the Viewpoint Golf Resort, I  shift here to technology applications in general travel.

Wikipedia defines the Internet of Things (IoT) as the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, etc. which enable them to connect and exchange data with other objects within the Internet.  Now at 9 billion, experts estimate that there will be about 30 billion objects by 2020. Whoa! But why is this no surprise really? IoT is exploding because it enables many useful things: smart people, smart grids, virtual power plants, smart homes, intelligent transportation and even smart cities.



the pacemaker fitted into Bill's upper left chest area
Last Year, Bill collapsed in New Zealand (see this). Upon his return to Phoenix, his cardiologist placed an online heart monitor, an IoT object, on him before we went on our road trip to Pittsburg, Kansas. Because of the monitor, he was able to see how Bill's heart was behaving as we made our way to his 55th HS Reunion. He immediately ordered him to stay put in Pittsburg until a pacemaker could be fitted at a hospital there (click here).  Another good example was the gadget installed in our new car by our insurance provider. For three months, the driving monitor documented monitored how Bill drove. Because they discovered he has good driving habits, his premium was reduced!

Skyroam
For a time we still used our GPS because it had a wider screen than phones despite the fact that I had the Google Pixel XL.  But new cars now have the hugest of screens to which you can cast your phone GPS app.  The phone, good apps, and Internet on the Go guide us wherever we are so they have become indispensable. They tell us where we can find the food we crave for at the moment, the cheapest gas, or the off-the-beaten-path attraction, our correspondent bank’s nearest ATM, or even where the nearest law enforcement station is (although I hope we don’t have to need this). Internet on the go is so important. However, the technology that makes it work anywhere around the world is still quite expensive,  I think. Skyroam charges $9 per day or $99 per month) It's a good thing offline maps have become available and are, in fact, very useful.

my Sony a6000 mirrorless camera
I loved my Nikon DSLR. Photos I took with it won many awards. But it is so bulky I have always asked Bill to carry it for me. So guess what he did? For my 2017 birthday, he gifted me with the Sony A6000 Mirrorless Camera, the newest thing in photography. It is the size of a point and shoot but has the power of a DSLR! Editing photos is a hugely rewarding task so the proliferation of post-processing software has helped me a lot. But now, with the ease of taking photos, it is the storage problem that has become center stage. Google Photos helps me organize and keep all my phone photos in the cloud for free and Facebook’s Moments gives me cloud back-up for all my camera photos in addition to external hard drives.

social media
Finally, the Internet of People (IoP) follows the IoT explosion. When things get smarter, humans and things will cooperate in new ways.  Features of apps we currently use already enable us to communicate faster and better all at the same time even with the family in different parts of the globe. We no longer easily share just pictures but videos as well. Social media allows us to act singly or in groups, in whatever format we prefer, and to however large a circle we may want to reach. It is projected that messaging apps will render emails useless; some universities don’t give out any more new emails. Blockchains have enabled many things, including a Bitcoin economy. Who knows what else is coming for human transactions?

PINNABLE
After almost ten years on the road, we have many devices we no longer can do without while traveling. The laptop I use is more powerful than any I have used and yet is the lightest and smallest.  Bill and I are not early adopters but we certainly utilize technology as much as possible. In this lifestyle, technology has become our slave. But, actually, my slave is Bill because oftentimes, I do not know how to operate many of those gadgets...in the beginning!