It’s been a long ol’ year and it’s not over yet! As Ireland’s leading tech PR agency, we’ve had an exceptionally busy 12 months helping our clients help their clients with connectivity, innovation and digital transformation - all essential for life in lockdown. Whether it’s for work or socialising, tech has never been more important in our daily lives. Our team has put together a list of their favourite pieces of technology that has made these lockdowns that little bit easier to get through.
My PayPal account has been my saving grace throughout lockdown. While I would have shopped online a bit pre-lockdown, it has really skyrocketed in the last year with the restrictions in place. In fact, all the Christmas gifts I bought were purchased online and it was great to have a payment method that was so quick and simple – all I needed was my login details, as opposed to adding my card details for every transaction on every website (and there were a LOT of websites).
As someone who is paranoid, I was also really conscious of the potential rise in scams during lockdown, so having the extra security that comes with PayPal and being able to keep track of all my transactions on the app was a major benefit. Reckon my account will probably get even more use this year!
While my iPhone is basically an extension of myself at this stage, I feel my bluetooth headphones have been the most important tech accompaniment over the past 12 months. With one charge a week, they have proven highly reliable whenever quick bursts of listening are called for – whether it’s a 1-hour workout, lunchtime stroll or even a sea swim (waterproof, baby).
Given the somewhat formulaic rhythm of daily lockdown life, the headphones have earned their keep as my tech centrepiece.
I started at Comit earlier this month, and my entire hiring and onboarding process was online. Last year, if someone had to tell me that I would not be meeting anyone from my team in person I would have scoffed and walked away. In the current circumstances, I couldn’t be more thankful for my laptop and availability of high-speed internet connection. Sounds extremely basic, but without it I would be, well… unemployed. It is this perfect combination of technology and process that has helped me understand the organisational culture and norms even without any physical touchpoints.
I might not be in the presence of my team members but there is no sense of isolation because I am connected to all of them over a shared network and video conferencing apps. The communication is seamless and troubleshooting technical issues from home is also easy because of online IT support. I am so looking forward to meeting my colleagues in person, but until then I am going to make the most of the gift of technology.
I honestly don’t know what I would have done without Netflix since restrictions were introduced last year. I don’t normally watch a huge amount of television, preferring to go out exercising or socialising in my spare time. My son is quite like me- he is very into the outdoors, and even went viral in March 2020 when he refused to let lockdown stop his goalkeeper training in the garden! 10.3 million people had their spirits lifted by his efforts to stay on top of his game while he couldn’t see his teammates.
For obvious reasons we, like many others, have relied more and more on tv in our downtime- particularly once the summer months passed last year. I’m a bit of a news junkie, and the more tv I watched, the more negative I was feeling about the whole situation- until I switched over to the app. Luckily, I had also invested in a new smart TV and switched my broadband provider just before the first lockdown. That has meant that my son and I can happily watch our own individual programmes at the same time in different rooms without buffering etc… Of course, there are also many things that we can sit down and enjoy together too- and we do talk to each other from time to time!
My iPhone has become absolutely essential to me this past year. While it’s handy for keeping up-to-date with online news, sport, podcasts and more, it’s really the old school phone functionality which appeals to me most. It’s so nice to chat with people, whether that’s friends, family, colleagues or clients.
During lockdown, I’ve made a particular effort to re-connect with old friends and it’s great to renew those relationships again. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to meet people when it’s safe to do so but for the moment, I’m really enjoying the phone chats. As the old saying goes “it’s good to talk”.
Health, information and a happy marriage are at the heart of the Apple watch usefulness. Stay with me for the happy marriage bit. For health, I love the way my Apple Watch buzzes me to tell me that I hit my exercise target, my standing target, my calories burned target, my resting heart rate goal. At work, it buzzes me when important messages or calls have come in, so I am more in touch with what is going on at the lift of a wrist.
It’s great for lockdown. I love its touch-free in-store payment ability which does not suffer from spending limits per tap. When I’m doing my lockdown walking, key news pops up on my wrist, so I am constantly in touch with what is going on; so important to my life in PR. I’m hooked on those daily virus updates that appear on my watch at 6pm.
At home, I drive my Spotify playlists without getting up from dinner when my iPhone is connected to the sound system. Last, and not least, it pops up subtle alerts when my beloved Sligo Rovers have scored – or more frequently conceded. It also secretly alerts me when any one of the 80 or 90 Irish footballers of note around the world have played, scored or been subbed. A better approach – for a happy marriage - than grabbing my iPhone out of my pocket every time one of these messages appears.