How digitization is changing our everyday lives

digitization change

Digitization and Industry 4.0 have been buzzwords in recent years that have been found regularly in media reports. With the Internet, many everyday areas and the professional world have changed fundamentally. In the meantime, penetration has become so great that digital media are sometimes used quite naturally. But: digitization also has its downsides. The more hardware and software penetrate everyday life, the greater the demands on data and consumer protection. Aspects that companies and developers will have to face in the future. But how does our everyday life change in detail? What new features will come, and what should we consider when using them?

Where digitization begins depends very much on the individual perception of the individual. Digital media are particularly noticeable wherever people communicate with each other. Social media has shaped people's user experience over the Internet for years. Analyzes of user behavior show that a high proportion of Internet users set up their first social media profile before the age of 25. Forty-seven per cent of users have, according to major study digitization in 2020 by Dr Hubertus Porschen GmbH even had their first social media account before the age of 18.

In the following age groups, the proportion drops rapidly. This reveals that the number of Internet users is concentrated in the under-45 age group.

In what form are digital media used today? 

There are certain surprises in the answer. Due to the expansion of the network, which is being pushed ever further, the use of multimedia - at least according to expectations - should actually set the tone. In the study mentioned above, however, it emerges that many users first:

  • Messenger and
  • Chats

To fall back on. Obviously, Facebook is the undeniable leader in socials media.

Media use in the form of video platforms or photo networks, which include Instagram and YouTube, is still relevant for around half of the Internet users. It is interesting in the classification of the overall picture that the use of messenger seems to have the greatest relevance for target groups.

The strong use of digital media over the Internet can be viewed from different points of view. An important reason is likely to be the way users in different age groups communicate using digital media. The age group up to 30 years, in particular, prefers to make online contact - because the first step is seen as easier here. In the group of under 20-year-olds, the proportion of users who see the Internet and digital media in this way is even around two thirds.

Smart Home: The intelligent home

One of the areas that have made a huge leap forward in recent years is smart home technology. Here, not only are the leaps in development huge. The technology was able to gain in terms of distribution and acceptance. But: This area not only shows the potential of digitalization.

intelligent homw

An increasing number of data scandals and hacker attacks underline very clearly that digitization and its increasing penetration of everyday business and private life. Despite some recent negative examples - such as hijacked baby monitors - there seems to be no way around the smart home in the long term. Practical concepts currently rely primarily on digital assistance. That means: Smart Home is primarily used to efficiently manage everyday life and resources.

Virtual assistants and more security: applications in the smart home

The whole thing can be explained particularly well with a few examples. Digital assistants with voice control - such as Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant - are primarily designed to provide more convenience. The digital assistants can, for example.

  • Complete orders on demand
  • Announce the weather
  • Help with organizing appointments

At the same time, their users already have the option of coupling different smart home devices with one another. By doing this, you can manage the light in your own four walls or adjust the heating perfectly to the weather.

Mart Home can do much more. Interlinked intelligently, there is the possibility of building efficient building services structures or security systems. Here, for example, motion detectors, video systems and remote alarm systems interact directly - in order to forward a silent alarm to the owner's smartphone or security service.

However, technology can go a lot further. In the future, it will certainly to be possible for the kitchen to shop independently and for delivery services to bring the necessary groceries straight to the front door.

Smart home technology as an emergency detector in medicine?

Another conceivable development is the monitoring of important vital functions. For this purpose, smartwatches are coupled with smart home systems. Typical trackers for documenting running routes or for pulse monitoring are currently used by many. In the future, they could play an also larger role in the medical field. Among other things, patients with:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Coronary diseases
  • Diabetes etc.

Monitor and have early notice of changes in vital signs. Take the example of an irregular heartbeat: According to the DGK Heart Report 2017, the incidence of the disease has roughly doubled in 20 years. Undetected, the risk of serious complications such as myocardial infarction increases. Due to constant monitoring, it is not only possible for patients to quickly check the vital function. If medical technology detects changes, the family doctor or emergency service can be informed immediately.

Also Read: This is how the coronavirus affects the technology sector

Conclusion of contracts: More and more digital features

Many employees are already experiencing the effects of digitalization live at the workplace. In industry, individual components can be tracked across multiple production lines and factories. Through close monitoring and control via digital processes, supply chains can already be designed so efficiently that goods and products are delivered exactly when they are needed.

However, digitization is now permeating everyday life to an ever greater extent. Years ago, to conclude contracts, it was still necessary for consumers to take at least the last step - legitimation and personal identification - in post offices or directly in the company's branches. Today, such authentications play an increasingly minor role.

Digital paying system

Other solutions take over in the area of distance selling - for example:

  • Cell phone contracts
  • DSL contracts
  • The conclusion of loan contracts
  • Account openings

a much larger role. In this context, the video identification process comes to the fore very prominently. With its help, consumers can legitimize their identity directly from home. What is needed is usually only a cell phone or tablet with a webcam, a fast internet connection and, of course, an identity card or passport.

Contracts can now also be concluded using the new ID card. Its functions include a feature that can be used for digital signing and authentication. But: Consumers must have this function activated. In addition, special service providers also provide the option of signing a credit contract or electricity contract with an electronic signature. The process is quite simple :

The customer uses a Video Ident procedure to authenticate himself at a bank (the ID is held up in the camera).

  • Then a certificate is issued (all important data of the applicant are included).
  • The digital signature is obtained using a certificate.
  • The certificate is only valid for one predetermined process.

The increasing use of digital authentication technologies has simplified many processes around the conclusion of consumer contracts. It is no longer just about the cell phone contract. Today consumers can easily:

  • Open bank accounts
  • Conclude credit agreements
  • Apply for credit cards.

In the future, it would be conceivable that authentication would start with biometric information - such as the fingerprint or an iris scan. Nonetheless, it is not simply a concern of creating the technical framework. There are also legal requirements under which such forms of legitimation are possible.

Invest digital assistance with money: When the AI makes investor decisions

Digitization does not stop at the financial market sector either. The development of payment can be seen particularly clearly. Various payment solutions for shopping and money transfer on the Internet have emerged in recent years. Well-known examples are:

  • PayPal
  • Neteller
  • Skrill or
  • Apple Pay.

The focus is increasingly on mobile payment. But: For some years now, digitization has also penetrated the financial investment sector. Digital assistants are increasingly used here - also in the area of private investments. Under the buzzword Robo advisor, banks use programs to support investors in their decisions. The market has grown enormously in this area.

The software picks up defined framework conditions for investors - for example, to develop a suitable investment mix. For financial service providers, such Robo advisors have the advantage that small deposits can be managed cost-effectively. On the other hand, their importance has also grown as an assistant for professional financial advisors. The advantage that such instruments have is obvious. While human investment decisions are very strongly influenced by emotions, the decisions of the Robo Advisors are based solely on algorithms - i.e. mathematical foundations.

For companies, digital investment assistance offers a good opportunity to work more cost-effectively. Their use can be thought further in the future. With increasingly better and "smarter" AI systems, Robo Advisors are able to make more complex decisions. It is also becoming apparent that such systems can take on complex tasks more and more. In combination with paperless communication and document transfer, there is the possibility of streamlining processes in many financial areas and making them more efficient.

Also Read: The Leading 10 Modern Technology Companies in the world

The digital state: Do more and more online

In the meantime, not only companies are increasingly relying on digitization. The state has also recognized that technological progress can be used in public administration. Many changes are not visible to the individual citizen because they affect the internal processes of the administration and authorities. For example:

  • Digital archives
  • Electronic document dispatch
  • Central printing stations
  • Remote access for teleworking.

However, especially in connection with the submission of applications in electronic form or electronic vehicle registration, the growing degree of digitization in the administration is very clearly visible.

But: Digitization is reaching its limits, especially in administration. Sufficient protection of personal data is a major challenge: While the economy is often very liberal in dealing with the relevant guidelines such as the GDPR, the administration often questions these aspects and the risks particularly critically. Despite such hurdles, the "digital" state continues to develop. Examples of previous years are:

  • The electronic identity card
  • Digital patient records
  • Online tax returns
  • The digital vehicle registration.

Such examples show how strongly the federal and state governments are expanding digital infrastructures. But: hurdles and difficulties are also visible in the various areas. The digital tax returns illustrate the whole thing very well. Everything went on paper for decades; taxpayers always had to sign their tax returns.

In the meantime, it is sufficient to log into the ELSTER tax portal online. However, a special authentication program must be run through for its use - it works with personal keys that are assigned centrally. However, it can take some of the days for a taxable person to hold them in their hands - as they are sent by post.

Future Music: what can change in the future

What else can society expect when it comes to digitization? A question that brings visionaries to the scene - and skeptics. The latter already warn of households being spied on by a growing number of devices that tap personal data and send it to mega-corporations. There is fear in parts of society that the visions of George Orwell will still become real.

On the other hand, supporters and advocates of digitization see the possibilities of digitization. In this way, smart home devices can provide more security in everyday life of seniors. Family structures that have grown over centuries with multi-generation households have dissolved in the past. Today many older people live alone - which entails certain risks. In the event of a loss, there is a risk of complete immobility and a medical emergency. With a coupling of smart home technology and the connection to an emergency call system, this horrific scenario can be absorbed.

But many other areas will also benefit from digitization in the coming years and decades. Examples are:

  • Online medicine applications
  • Health apps
  • Autonomous driving
  • Digital operations

The latter is used to prepare human interventions. Using virtual organ and body models, doctors can prepare operations. Comprehensive preparation is particularly possible for difficult interventions. In a similar way, digitization can be used in the training of prospective doctors in the future - from the first semester. Instead of working directly on people as part of anatomy training, medical students can be taught about digital models.

This form of training is conceivable in many industries and professions. This means that automotive mechatronics engineers can already deal with digital models of motors on computers. In the future, it would be entirely possible for trainees to move through the engine thanks to the fusion of these models with virtual reality.

In addition to the many future visions and ideas, the digital industry and research centers will certainly likewise need to manage the concern of what the security of users can look like. The more digitization plays a role in everyday life, the greater the area of attack in the end. This becomes particularly clear when attempting manipulation via social media or sometimes spectacular hacker attacks.

Digital research: computing power from the cloud

Largely unnoticed by the general public, digitization has increasingly spread to science. At this point, it is less about using computing power in the modeling of certain processes or building networks. As is well known, the foundations of today's Internet are in the CERN particle research center.

Rather, digitization and the progressive networking of individual computers lead to a trend that allows scientific research to grow beyond the university campus. Already as part of the search for extraterrestrial life, Astro researchers have used the possibilities of the Internet to "tap" the computing capacity of some enthusiasts and to integrate them into the search for "ET".

The trick: users who wanted to support the research work made part of their computing capacity available for a program that evaluates astronomical data. This concept of swarm-based scientific data analysis is now not only used by space research. Science has taken up this concept in the global Sars-Cov2 pandemic 2020.

Special network systems for calculating/modelling the protein structures of the novel coronavirus use precisely this concept to bundle the computing power of modern CPUs and graphics types - to decrypt the virus faster and to get a vaccine and new therapeutics in a much shorter time than usual. These possibilities of the cloud and bundling of the swarm-based computing power will also become significantly more important in the future.

Conclusion: digitization continues to advance

Research, politics and companies have been dealing with digitization for years. What initially sounded visionary and hardly interested many consumers is becoming increasingly important. Digitalization already plays a major role in the professional and private sectors. Media consumption often takes place exclusively via digital media. And now, instead of letters, only emails are written. With regard to future trends, development continues.

Smart home applications are increasingly in demand. But even in sensitive areas such as financial investments or medicine, the focus is increasingly on state-of-the-art technology, digital assistance systems or virtual body models. It will be shown how dynamic further development is in the end. It may well happen that global crises such as the spread of the coronavirus will ultimately accelerate new solutions and technologies.


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