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16 Aug 2016

Chris McLaughlin, MD of MIS AMS

Working as the MD of an integrated software firm you’d think that everything digital comes naturally to me – but in some instances I am still in the dark ages. With the holiday season in full swing, I recently packed my bags to attend a friend’s wedding in France.

As I did all the pre-airport checks, I spent over half an hour faffing around trying to print my online tickets only to find it wouldn’t let me check in one person on a group. It suddenly then dawned on me, there must be an app for this? When I had that light bulb moment, it got me thinking, do we only look for digital alternatives when we struggle with more traditional methods? Do we all need to let go and turn digital in all aspects of our day to day life, and are the older generations taking too long to catch up?

Once I’d finally boarded the plane, I pondered for the rest of the flight about what digital aspects I use in my own life and questioned if I am a dinosaur in my everyday use of the technology around me. Or am I, like anyone else my age, adapting to the digital landscape slowly but surely.

Sectors are being transformed by technology and consumers are being asked to change their behavior to adapt to new processes. The best example of this is banking. Banks have changed consumer behavior immeasurably with digitisation. Customers have been encouraged to walk up to terminals rather than queuing for a person behind a counter, persuaded to use apps to bank and urged us to use online transfers to pay back friends. So if we are already warming up to change in the banking world – why is boarding a flight so different?

In the housing sector, digitisation is transforming how services are delivered to residents in social housing and the digital tenant will soon be a reality. The Government is also driving digital adoption – 80% of applications for Universal Credit must be made online by 2017, and it aims to cut the number of citizens who are still offline by 25% every two years until the population is connected. Similarly housing associations themselves are setting up schemes where they provide the internet to communities in order to increase digital adoption. It’s these factors in tandem that are contributing to the implementation of technology and ultimately the changes to the social housing sector.

So in essence it all boils down to cultural change, as the younger generation jump into the digital way of life easily, those of us who have lived paper based lives for much longer will take time to adopt.

I will say though, once I got my ticket problem sorted, I did search for and then use the appropriate ticket app from the beginning to the end of my journey. I did obviously have fears of losing my phone or the battery on my iphone dying, but I have to say it was an easy process and on some levels I felt good for saving the world, using one less piece of paper!

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