Arguably the biggest festive season is once again upon us. It’s tempting to enjoy everything digital for its own sake. Yet some clever application of “holiday technology” makes it even more useful.
What is holiday technology?
We’re using the term very broadly here. At its simplest, we refer to any bit of hardware, software or tech-based process somehow associated with making your end-of-year experience better. Think back to a few months ago when one of our intrepid travelers wrote about technology bridging worlds during Comic Con. This is the December edition thereof.
Staying home? Strike a balance, stay in touch
Aside from setting up a decent “out of office” autoreply on your work mail account, there are a few things to consider if you plan to stay mostly home.
Remember that this is a time of year for family, friends and fun. To that end, you should adopt some guidelines on holiday technology. Using it for information or convenience is one thing, but having it be the bulk of your entertainment is another. For example, you could set rules on personal device usage. Limiting the amount of time people spend on phones or tablets is a good way to encourage people to connect more. And don’t forget to include punitive measures. You break the rules, you’re doing dishes tonight.
Another useful idea is using the opportunity to learn. There is such a treasure trove of information at everyone’s fingertips. Download a few instructional videos and build something together, or learn a new skill. Wouldn’t you like to be the family that built their own home automation system together?
Finally, make interactions personal again. Instead of sending out a generic message to the WhatsApp groups, make a plan to call all the scattered people of your clan. Better yet, make it a video conference call and bring all the elements together. Your friends and family will appreciate the gesture. That technology is meant to bring people closer, not reduce holiday wishes to plain text and emojis.
Going away? Keep it safe
Unless you’re all about the Instagram posts, give yourself a non-digital breather for a while. This is both therapeutic and for your own protection.
For starters, don’t send any sensitive or login information over public WiFi networks. It’s all very well and good doing your banking and shopping online while you’re away. But unless you completely trust the connectivity you’re using, you should avoid doing it altogether. Unfortunately, you never know who might be snooping on an unsecured network and what sort of data they may be trying to harvest.
Furthermore, avoid the temptation of posting about your wonderful time in advance (or even while it’s happening). It’s far too easy for this sort of information to be used by potential criminals to determine when you’re away from your home, or when you might not be keeping an active eye out for fraudulent transactions on your accounts. Rather save up your precious memorable moments and turn them into a shareable bundle once you’ve returned.
It also goes without saying that you should take extra care of your connected devices when you’re on your travels. Device loss, theft or damage and exposure of your personal information are often more than a mere inconvenience. Ensure your device is properly and securely locked, and check with your travel insurance policy what is and isn’t covered.
Stay digital without being connected
If you’re really keen to take a break but can’t do without a lot of the modern conveniences offered by devices, consider this. There were devices long before connectivity was as abundant as it is today. Go old school and dig up the old music player or e-reader. If you’re a little hard up for space, try some mobile games that you can play offline. Just be sure to limit the amount of time spent on devices.
If you use a device for navigation, remember that there are offline alternatives as well. These take up a little more storage space, but don’t need an active Internet connection, only access to your device’s GPS functions.
Technology is fantastic and makes many aspects of our everyday lives easier and better. As always, the key is to make sure it melds seamlessly into the human elements, without disturbing or replacing them. Adept’s people-centric approach ensures we never lose sight of this goal.