Technology: Friend or Foe of the Past?

Technology has often taken the blame for various industries, services, and products slipping into decline. Local, independent shops, for example, have been said to have come under attack from the likes of Amazon, with online retailers changing the face of the British high street and the American neighbourhood store in a manner unimaginable just 25 years ago.

Similarly, payphones have slowly but surely slipped out of the public domain due to the almost universal ownership of a phone on a cellular network. Just to highlight how quickly technology moves on, Nokia, one of the original cellphone makers, now seem like something of a relic against the likes of Apple and Samsung, who have emerged into the market to dominate with their own, more impressive, tech.

In 2017, the pace of technology shows no signs of slowing down and no hint of stopping its trend of taking no prisoners when it comes to companies and products that fail to keep up with the times.

Can Tech be a Force for the Past?

All of this suggests that technological change can be the death of older and less forward-thinking industries and products, but can technology actually be used as a force to bring back parts of daily life that seem to belong more to an older society than our modern world?

Perhaps the most interesting example of this, and an insightful case study to use in this discussion, has taken place in the world of iGaming, where the popularity of gaming online (in 2015, the online gaming market was worth over 37.91 billion US dollars) using cutting edge technology has lifted all the iGaming boats in a relentless rising tide, including one game that looked like it was going to be left in the realms of grannies with a blue rinse and a cigarette holder: bingo.

Bingo has seen a remarkable growth in popularity that has led to it being so popular that, in the UK for example, if it were considered a sport, it would be the sixth most popular in the country. In fact, in the UK, over 1.9 million monthly players take part in bingo – that’s more than the number who take part in tennis!

There is no doubt that technology has been the primary factor behind this resurgence. The online version of bingo has managed to appeal to a younger audience who enjoy the social side of the game and can play it from the comfort of home in between daily activities, rather than head out to the nearest bingo hall.

Making the Antisocial Social

Indeed, it is the social aspect that has really helped to foster this popularity and growth online. Despite the internet back in the 1990s being derided as a place where geeks and people with no social airs and graces could hang out, the incredibly accessible social aspects of online gaming have actually helped to bring the games to a wider audience and keep them relevant. 

Players in 2017 can enjoy the thrill of hearing their numbers being called while also using online chat functions, with video chat and live messaging all available.

Making the Past Our Future? 

Bingo and iGaming are not alone in terms of benefiting from this trend, with technology bringing back the old rather than rendering it redundant.

In fact, if we go back to our earlier focus on mobile phones, we can see that advances in technology seem to have gone so far that they are actually, intentionally or not, bringing back a bygone era. The recent relaunch of an updated Nokia 3310 proves that despite the wonders of modern smartphones, with everything they are capable of, there is still a significant market out there that demands a basic phone that simply makes calls and allows text messaging, with consumers in some sectors growing wary of an over-reliance on technology.

The new model, which boasts remarkable battery life compared to what we’ve become accustomed to with the iPhone, doesn’t allow users to use a touchscreen and has extremely basic graphics and a low resolution, even if it does have colour!

Should Nokia find that this new version of the famous phone is seriously popular with consumers, we may start to see the realization spread that older pastimes and older technologies are not always best cast aside but can be brought into the modern world, perhaps re-imagined or updated to make them fit the role they can now play.  

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