The Internet is something that has introduced a whole lot of new terms into our lives and changing the way we do things and how we connect with other people. Let’s have a closer look at how smart devices really affect our everyday life.
Interactive television - you will be able to choose what program you want to watch, when you want to watch it, and one day will even be able to chat live with overseas relatives in broadcast quality.
Imagine: it's Thursday night, you are watching the TV travel show 'Getaway'. You like the look of a segment on Bali. With a flick of the remote control you seamlessly turn over to the 'Getaway' website where you will find every other story 'Getaway' has on Bali, in broadcast quality. You can check the weather forecast, currency exchange rate, duty free allowances and flight times. A red-hot deal flashes across the screen advertising a week at a Sheraton resort in Nusa Dua. You point the remote at the Sheraton icon and you get to see the hotel, pools, restaurants and rooms. You can then choose to book online (with your laser keyboard) or have consultant ring you. There will be one standing by at the other end of the email. All this from your lounge room!
How far in the future will this be a reality?
Well, technically it's here and, in a basic form, is being embraced by millions, particularly in the United Kingdom. Two Way TV in the UK broadcasts to seven million homes, that's as many as all homes with television in Australia. And here's another term that will become part of the language: 't-commerce' the term given to interactive shopping and trading via television. The big attractions for subscribers at present are sport, horse-tipping and two-way game shows. Two Way TV Australia is being trialled, but it may not have the same initial take-up since it will only be available to subscribers of cable TV.
Mobile Phones/Web Phones
What do mobile phones have to do with the Internet? Quite a lot, for some people. Mobiles can be used, in conjunction with a laptop computer, to access the Internet wherever you are. And some believe that WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), as this is known, is the next 'killer app', although I'm not one of them. A number of phone companies including Ericsson and Nokia, were working independently on this technology but decided to join together to build a common format that would allow Internet content to be transferred, without being customized, to mobile phones or personal organizers. Personally, while I admire the technology, I really can't see the majority of mobile phone owners needing to quickly access the stock exchange or airline departure details.
Now, I think mobile phones are terrific things, especially for trades people who need to be contacted on the job, on-the-road salespeople, people who are out of the office and also for personal use. But, what worries me is that they put people on a lead from which there is no escape. I've heard phones ring on the golf course, in cinemas, at school speech nights and even at a funeral. It does concern, at school speech nights and even at a funeral. It does concern me that people are losing touch with the things that do matter - family, friends, hobbies and simple relaxation.
While the uptake hasn't been big (due mainly to competition in traditional telephony), web phones can also save you money when making STD and ISD phone calls. You don't need a computer or any special equipment for this, just your phone. You simply have to register with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) who will give you a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for future access. Next time you want to make a long-distance call you ring your local service provider (using your PIN), they connect with a service provider in the area you're calling via the Internet, and that ISP connects you to the number. This relatively inexpensive way of making long-distance calls works with tone-dial telephones, including public pay phones and mobile phones. Faxing via the Internet can also be done this way.