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Living with and surviving the stress of technology in 2023 and beyond



Tides By Jay Shedd

Technology is transforming the way we work and play. It’s reshaping industries and lifestyles. Every year brings us a new solution, upgrade, or shiny new gadget to marvel at.


The changes are mostly for the better, yet in other ways it has made daily life more challenging. As we look forward to another year of innovation, let’s make a new year’s resolution to be proactive in overcoming these challenges


I’ll start with the frustration I know we have all encountered. When tracking an order or contacting an off-island organization for assistance, how many times have you thought to yourself, “I wish I could just talk to a real person?”


While technology makes it easier to communicate, it can also make it harder as traditional forms, like in-person meetings and even voice calls, are replaced by more convenient forms, like instant messaging and emailing. Many large organizations, including the federal government, have even integrated automated chat and phone systems into their customer service models.


Chatbots powered by Artificial Intelligence can provide immediate answers for frequently asked questions, but the technology of today lacks the capability to resolve complex issues, accurately understand context, and authentically express empathy. Technology still needs to catch up. In the meantime, organizations should find a better balance between the demand for providing the immediate responses and solutions that are expected in a digital age with the ever-present need for human connection.


While an email or chat service might be enough for some inquiries, the option to speak directly with customer service personnel is essential for instances when simple answers do not satisfactorily resolve the consumer's issue. Organizations may want to consider outsourcing customer service if they do not have the resources to staff an internal customer service team.


Another technology woe that users face is juggling the many mobile apps that simultaneously make life easier and bring about more challenges. There are countless mobile apps that allow us to collaborate, communicate and interact with others. But what happens when we’re trying to collaborate, communicate and interact from different apps?


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This is most notable in the various options for transferring and managing money, including PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, Google Pay, and Apple Pay. Even traditional money transfer services, like Money Gram and Western Union, have apps. Yet, there is no way to transfer between the platforms if, say, one party has PayPal but the other has Venmo. The parties would have to decide which app to use, and the one that does not have the app must create a new account and download the app. When you’re in a bind, this back-and-forth is a major headache.


It would be easier if we could simply make transfers between the platforms. A lack of interoperability may be due to competition between the services and platforms. However, in my opinion, interoperability would make a platform more attractive to users.


An example of platform interoperability that puts aside the competition is the Microsoft Outlook app. Microsoft offers email service, yet Outlook is also one of the best and most popular aggregators for email services from other developers that compete in the same space. With the Outlook app, users can see messages from Gmail, iCloud, and more. Interoperability between certain platforms needs to improve.


In 2023 and beyond, security and privacy will continue to be a concern. Organizations and technology users alike will have to do their part to safeguard personal data. Users must continue to be vigilant and proactive in protecting their data.


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In addition to being wary of emails from unknown or suspicious addresses, technology users should take additional security steps, such as opting for two-factor authentication when available. With two-factor authentication, users must provide both a password and a code randomly generated by an authenticator app to gain access to a website or account.


A good place to start is by enabling two-factor authentication on Facebook which helps users avoid the heartbreak of a hack, especially if managing more than one page. Facebook accounts could become compromised by clicking on a link that takes users to a website that prompts them to log back into Facebook. This link could be received via a direct message or by exploring the app.


However, the website is a ruse to get the user’s password. Once they input the password on the fraudulent page, the hacker can access the Facebook account to change the password and email, so the rightful account owner is unable to log in.


By then, it is a lengthy process to retrieve the account. Facebook customer service can only be reached by email or direct message.


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And finally let’s make this year the year to take better care of our mobile phones. Technology is not indestructible. (At least not yet.) This includes the software as well as the physical components of our devices. Updating the device’s operating system and cleaning out digital clutter can help keep your mobile phone operating smoothly by clearing the cache and deleting cookies from the internet browser on a phone or tablet like you would on a computer. Clearing the cache can fix website loading or formatting issues and other problems. In addition, free up your phone’s storage by deleting unused mobile apps. The general recommendation is to take time every month to uninstall anything that is not part of the daily rotation.


Technology is just going to get more and more ingrained in our lives. For example, Apple has already announced that some residents of some states will be able to store digital versions of their driver’s licenses in their Apple Wallet, which will be an acceptable proof of identity for some organizations.


So, we should view these changes not as “challenges” but as “growing pains” as communities transition into a digital society. Organizations and individuals alike need to work together to adjust.


Jay R. Shedd is executive vice president of Citadel Pacific, the parent company of PTI Pacific Inc. which does business as IT&E, IP&E. He has more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, business development, sales and marketing.



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