OPINION: Despite all the gadgets and digital services designed and developed in the past decade, tech in Kiwi homes has not changed that much.
This was shown by a presentation based on the Dunedin Study which tracked the life of about 1000 people born in the early 1970s. Part of the exhibition showed a lounge and bedrooms from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.
The lounge featured a line of couches pointed at a TV – not unlike most Kiwi homes now – and a phone, while the bedrooms featured an Atari gaming console, a TV and a computer.
While the TVs have bigger screens and are slimmer, and the phones are smaller and not connected to a cord, the devices in the rooms aren’t too different those in most homes today.
But one piece of tech that has changed in our homes is something you can’t see – the internet.
This invisible marvel is the most transformable piece of modern-day technology. Imagine having a computer not connected to the internet – what would you even use it for?
And a television that is not online means you’re restricted to a similar number of channels that we had in the 1990s.
Perhaps the gadget that has changed the most is the phone. The internet transformed the humble home phone into an amazing device that connects you to the internet from anywhere.
But for all the amazing power that the internet has infused into our gadgets, it’s amazing how many people still hang on to the devices and services of the past.
Only about 420,000 homes in New Zealand have a streaming service such as Netflix, Lightbox or Neon. Most Kiwis still rely on TVNZ and TV3 and/or Sky TV.
Also, according to the 2013 census, 85.5 per cent of Kiwi homes still have a home phone, that same piece of tech that became common in our houses in the 1930s.
Even the best piece of tech – the internet – is mainly used in its slower form, basic broadband. About 920,000 homes in New Zealand can access fibre but only about 37 per cent are connected despite it being much faster and costing about the same.
So why has old, sometimes obsolete tech endured in Kiwi homes? Are people not interested in improving their digital lives?
In most cases, the tech is cheaper, so it’s not due to increased cost. Maybe it’s because if it still works OK, then there’s no need to replace it.