This past weekend I attended a wedding in the Napa, California area where, for the most part, attendees had no cellular coverage nor Internet connectivity. I know, it’s hard to imagine that you could survive a wedding without a Twitter fix, emails or posting embarrassing pictures on your Facebook account. We actually had to talk to each other instead of being connected, and ironically enough, being the tech geeks that we are, we started discussing how life would change if certain devices were not Web enabled, and perpetually connected to the internet.
The list of devices that would be affected without Internet connectivity seemed unending, and frankly we were surprised we came up with so many. We obviously came up with cell phones, iDevices such as iPads and iPods, netbooks, and laptops but there were a bunch of other devices that would be affected also. Gaming systems would be very different without the ability to connect to the net and play with opponents worldwide. We now implement Wi-Fi SD cards to download photos from our cameras to our computers, there are tons of devices that download their software from the net including Blu-ray players, as well as cable and satellite receivers. Apple TV, Google TV and Roku would be non existent without internet connectivity. Smart Energy Meters initially use radio frequency to send data to a central device then send information to electric companies over the internet for billing purposes. Finally, what about those package tracking devices that our UPS and FedEx drivers carry around with them that provide instant updates on where our packages are at any moment in time.
The loss of Internet connectivity on these devices would certainly change how we use them, and in fact most of these devices would be non-existent. All the streaming television services such as Apple TV, Google TV and Roku would have no grounds to be invented. Wi-Fi SD Cards and SmartEnergy Meters would also have to find alternative connectivity without the World Wide Web. Imagine the money that would be spent sending out discs to update firmware on our DVD players and cable/satellite boxes without Internet connectivity. Really, some technology that is Internet based and taken for granted are package tracking services. The horror if you could not track the shipment of your new cell phone, toys at Christmas time, or important documents, and only know when it leaves its original location and arrives at its destination.
In terms of how we would use cell phones without internet connectivity, well, we have gone down that road before. Cell phones without connectivity are called Palm Pilots, and unless you just really love entering data such as addresses, to do lists and appointments you will get bored real quick.
In the end, after about two hours of discussion, and multiple adult beverages, we all came to the conclusion that we are extremely thankful we live in such a technology driven society. Fast moving evolution of technology keeps our minds sharp and fosters continual learning for virtually everyone. When the wedding finally wrapped up, the bunch of us agreed we could hardly wait to get back into cellular range and connect. There were a few moments of silence with an eery feel, we all looked at each other knowing each other’s thoughts, but not wanting to verbalize them. Each and every one of us were happy we had no connectivity for mere hours and had time to connect face to face like we used to back in the day. We need to do that more often but not too often, let’s not get crazy.