Tech and Trends:- Remember the days of dial-up internet? It involved that whistling and squealing noise as the modem connected, waiting for images to load line by line and phone lines engaged for hours at a time. It’s little wonder that domestic web access didn’t really start to take off in a big way until fast, affordable broadband began to be widely available in the early 2000s.
Since then things have progressively got faster, from the 512K of early broadband connections up to the 70MB or more speeds possible with the latest fibre connections. This depends on where you live, of course, but more than three-quarters of UK adults now have broadband access.
The availability of fast connections has greatly expanded what we can do with the internet. Whilst you could download the odd MP3 using your dial-up connection, you can now get a whole album in just a few minutes.
Faster access has allowed websites to offer richer content with more images and embedded video. It’s also opened up a whole new world of streaming media. Music services such as Spotify and TV on-demand catch-up services simply wouldn’t have been possible using dial-up connections.
Access to this content is changing the way we live our lives and is forcing broadcasters in particular to find new ways of reaching their audience. You can argue that perhaps we’ve lost something too – no longer does the whole family settle down to watch the same TV show, for example. We’re also increasingly likely to interact using social media or chat services while we watch things like major sporting events.
These benefits are becoming available to more and more people. The government is committed to having high-speed access available to 95 per cent of the population by 2017.
Better Service Delivery
Fast internet isn’t just about media and social networking, however. It also allows companies to do business in new ways. Online shopping has seen a significant rise, for example, as sites offer more products displayed in clearer and more attractive ways.
We’re much more likely to manage our finances and pay our bills online – something that’s made much easier with a fast connection. Increasing numbers of people opt for online paperless billing too, so there are no more excuses for bills being lost in the post.
High-speed broadband facilitates customer service interactions too. It’s easier than ever to get in touch with a company to resolve a problem or book an engineer’s visit. Many businesses use the web to offer new ways of getting in touch, such as online chat sessions.
The business-to-business market benefits as well. Companies such as bhmmedia.com that offer healthcare PR services, for example, are able to deliver their message in innovative ways that are engaging for the media and the ultimate target audience.
The availability of reliable video connections is useful for business too. Video-conferencing cuts travel costs and makes it easier to get people together for meetings. Fast internet makes online training and seminars an attractive option as well. It’s also possible to stream live events such as presentations and product launches, making them available to a worldwide audience.