Technology is growing at rapid pace

Published 12:01 am Sunday, December 16, 2018

Technological advances of our age are truly staggering, sometimes a little scary, but helpful nonetheless.

Technology available today provides capabilities none of us could have dreamed of just a few years ago.

As a youngster in the 1980s, I recall seeing the first “car phone” and being impressed. My dad worked at the telephone company and for some reason he brought home his boss’ company car once and it sported a car phone. It was a large desk phone mounted to the transmission hump with an enormous cable disappearing under the carpet and to a large box of “gear” mounted in the truck.

Today, we have phones that weigh mere ounces and can call around the world in seconds.

Likewise, the first time I recall being shown “The Internet” was in approximately 1990 or 1991.

One of the technical wizards at the college newspaper where I worked at the time showed me how he’d manually wired up a telephone modem to one of the newspaper’s computers and proceeded to call another computer across campus to get connected. A few modem screeches and howls later he showed me a blinking cursor.

“Is that it?” I asked.

He looked shocked that I wasn’t impressed.

“This computer is connected to another computer across campus and that computer is connected to computers all across the county,” he said.

Flash-forward, and it’s difficult to fathom how much of our world now depends upon a steady connection to the internet.

Our staff uses technology in ways never possible just a few years ago. Stories can be written and edited in the field or even on a phone.

Breaking news and photographs can be published as the news happens.

Likewise, business-marketing messages are taking advantage of new technology as well.

Our marketing staff now offers area businesses capabilities that, had you asked about it a few years ago, would have been the stuff of Star Trek. New digital tools allow us to help businesses reach customers in new ways.

If you’ve ever spent any time searching for information or looking at information online, you likely have been targeted by technology.

The first time I noticed such targeting was many years ago while searching for a bike rack that would fit in a trailer hitch but still clear the spare tire.

My search was a short one, but the marketers that sought to sell me their version of the bike rack seemed to haunt my computer for months.

Today the targeting is much better and can be set to only deliver marketing messages to a potential customer when their recent online history has shown high interest in a product.

The most interesting thing is how technology can sort of follow you around. Most people in America have some kind of smartphone. And most of those people have location services turned on.

Location services allow phone applications to know you’re in Natchez and thus show you the local weather, or the local time.

But it also allows companies to know if you have, for example, been on the lot at Natchez Ford. If so, chances are you’re in the market for a new vehicle — or you work there. Either way, the phone’s location history offers information to marketing companies to show new car ads to those people based on their location.

The same technology could be used by banks, grocery stores and retailers to reach customers that have shown high probable interest in a particular set of goods or services.

If you or someone you know has a business, give our staff a call and let us show you how the technology available can help you find your customers and potential customers.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.