Ever wonder how dependent we have become on all the new technology we use every day? These days, we think we are bulletproof. With wireless, Internet, telephone, cable TV, power and all sorts of advanced technology, we feel like we can take on the world. That’s until mother nature roars its ugly head and disconnects us from everything. That’s when we realize just how vulnerable and isolated, we really are.
We think of our smartphones like iPhone or Android as the remote control for everything in our lives and we love it. And when they work, they are.
When we have power and connectivity, we think we are king of the world. But that’s just our imagination running wild. As soon as there is a power interruption or storm or terrorist attack, which impacts these technologies, suddenly we realize how out of touch, isolated and vulnerable we really are.
We suddenly realize that like the horses that pulled Cinderella’s carriage, we are instantly transformed back into little mice and a pumpkin scurrying around.
Hurricane Zeta cut off Americans all along its destructive path
I live in Atlanta and last week we were hit by Hurricane Zeta. We are used to hurricanes blowing up from the gulf, but by the time they get here it’s mostly just rain and a little windy.
This time was different. So many lost power, including me. In fact, many still do not have power as of today.
The impact was widespread. Power. Wireless service from all the major networks was also impacted. Same with internet and cable TV.
It really depends on your location. Some areas were totally cut off, while just blocks away everything is fine.
In fact, my home was without everything for days. We were totally cut off. I had to drive around just to find a store with active wi-fi just to check email and submit my column.
This is a shock to the senses. I mean really. As an analyst, I have been following the wireless industry, telecom industry, Internet, pay TV and other industries for decades.
I have followed every wireless carrier, every wireless smartphone and tablet maker, every wireless network builder, Internet provider, cable TV and pay TV providers and so much more.
Like you, I get all wrapped up in the thinking that we are so strong, and nothing can go wrong.
Then mother nature roars, the power goes out along with everything else and that instantly proves just how utterly vulnerable and dependent we have become.
Wireless analyst says we have become too dependent
This is not a good feeling. We have simply become too dependent on the technology we use.
We live in a make-believe world that is always connected and things work great, until they don’t. That’s when we realize how the feeling of power was all just an illusion.
We can love new technology, but we should also protect ourselves from becoming too dependent on it.
Because when the power, wireless, pay TV, Internet and everything goes out, and it always goes out from time to time, we are lost.
We need to stop being so dependent. We need to build our independence. We can enjoy all the new technology, but we had better keep honing our survival skills. We do need them from time to time.
Countries at war will attack communications infrastructure
In fact, this shows a big vulnerability our society faces. As we move forward into this computerized, wireless, AI, IoT world, warfare will be when one country tries to impact another through power and these networks and systems rather than guns and bombs.
This is a real vulnerability every country face. They are all susceptible and should prepare to protect themselves.
Countries do their best to prepare, but what about companies and what about end users like you and me? End users are typically out in the cold until the puzzle gets pieced back together again.
What still works without power, wireless, cable TV and Internet?
After the storm, the only things that worked in our home were flashlights and an old fashioned, battery powered AM radio. So, at least we could listen to local radio, like the good old days.
In fact, local radio and local telephone lines held up pretty well. Wireless phone, data, cable TV, Internet and more are all spotty at best from all providers. They require power.
Remember, the internet, pay TV, wireless and more all need power to run. No power, no service.
Beyond that, many of these industries gear is damaged due to wind and need to be repaired or replaced. All takes time.
POTS or plain old telephone service does not require power. Of course, you have to have a regular, plug in handset… not the cordless versions that need electricity.
Increasingly, many home users no longer have a plain old telephone line. They use wireless instead. If they still have service, they are fortunate. Many don’t have anything.
We depend on technology to keep in touch
A member of my family is in the hospital suffering with COVID-19 and it is vital we all keep in touch with doctors and nurses during this emergency. But all our technology is dead in the water.
This is a serious problem that can impact everyone.
Do you have a gas or electric stove? Gas works when the power is out. Electric does not.
Do you have a tankless water heater, or a tank powered by gas? The tankless needs power to run. So, in a power outage you are better off with a gas-powered tank.
So, you can see there are plenty of different options we have in life. New technology often requires power and Internet. When choosing, consider a blackout. You will be happy you did because some are better off than others.
Technology is a double-edged sword
Hurricane Zeta is a great wake-up call on how we are becoming too hooked on these kinds of vulnerable technologies.
We love it when this new technology makes our life easier and better. However, we also hate it when this same technology makes us dependent on it.
It’s amazing how things come to a screeching halt when we lose these vital connectivity technologies.
Any way we slice it, we love our technology. That’s fine. That means wireless, smartphones, tablets, power, Internet, cable TV and more. And that will only continue as we move forward.
Let’s just give some thought to preparing for hurricanes, natural and manmade disasters. They will always be with us and too many of us are simply not prepared.
Ultimately, everything will get back up and running, but until then living life like the old TV show The Waltons is actually kind of peaceful, quiet and nice. Good night, John Boy!