• The technology boom has changed my life

    December 7th, 2009

    I was thinking the other day about how my life has changed at home and on the road as I finish out my second decade of consulting at AR&D.   When I started there were no laptops – so I used to read about one new book a week – now I never have time for that as the airplane has become my office.

    When I was on the road a few years ago – I would spend my evenings catching up with emails sent by clients during the day while I was busy at a client station.  Now – thanks to wireless Internet cards and a cellphone with email capability – I can get back to my clients quickly thoroughout the day.

    The Slingbox has also been a wonderful bit of technology.  I can now watch a client station’s newscast in real time – emailing them a quick review to share immediately with the staff during the newscast post-mortem.  They can also send an email and ask me to watch a specific newscast for a special investigative report etc.  It is a wonderful tool.

    My favorite Slingbox story occured a couple years ago now – I landed at O’Hare airport in Chicago and a colleague was driving us to South Bend for a research presentation.  It was also the day that my Honolulu client was debuting a new morning newscast.  So, I hooked up my wireless Internet card to my laptop, fired up the Honolulu Slingbox – and watched their newscast live while we drove through Chicago toward Indiana.  I gave the news director a call – and we discussed the newscast as it was happening.   That was pretty cool!

    The Blackberry allows me to receive emails and view attachments without having to use my laptop.  The GPS feature is awesome.  When I’m on the road I insert my destination and “the voice” guides me flawlessly to my destination.  No more getting lost trying to follow a map or scribbled directions.   I can also quickly check the Dallas radar – and the stock market – on my Blackberry.

    My local television viewing has also been forever changed by technology.  I almlost always watch prime time programs out of pattern because of my DVR.   I do believe this puts me in the same universe as the average television viewer these days.   I will record programs while watching another and then watch those DVR’ed programs later that night or the next day.  If I am watching a program live, I must confess, I let it get about a 10 minute head start so I can zip through the commercials and watch an hour program in about 40 minutes.

    I have a Facebook page (thanks to a client news director who pushed me through the process a year or so ago).   I’ve even learned how to upload pictures to it.    No wonder so many of the younger folks have moved away from Facebook with all us old codgers on it now.

    Like so many people I am constantly checking for news updates on my computer when I am in my office all day.   Last week while watching the Fox News Channel, I heard about a Tiger Woods’ voicemail message left for (it turns out) one of his many, many women.   I quickly went to US magazine’s web site – and listened to the clip.  This is what your news viewers do on a daily basis.    It would have been much better to see that information on a local TV station’s continuous news web site – with a link to the clip.

    Oh, while I am rambling, there is one more thing I do that I know through focus groups – the average local news viewer does.  I seem to frequently avoid the local late newscasts.  Instead of waiting for a 10 p.m. newscast – or wading through local stories of crime and car wrecks that have no affect on my life – I simply flip my TV set to the Fox4 newscast at 9:40 p.m. knowing that is when their local weathercast comes on.   I am on and off in three minutes – and back to recorded programs.   Now, that’s service (although one that does not deliver a meter rating to the station).

    Well, enough rambling.  Although I do challenge you to step back and spend a few minutes thinking about how technology has changed your life – and by extension the lives of your customers – as 2009 draws to a close.  Make it a short pause though – because plenty more technology will assault all of us in 2010.

    Jim

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