By Mary Kerr

iphoneDo you know what century we are in? Some say we are in the 20th century while others say we’re in the 21st century. That is the least of my worries. I’m just trying to keep up with all gadgets available to us as individuals and business owners. Plus, if I want to keep in touch with my children, ages 22 and 24 who no longer live at home, I needed to get on board with all the new technology out there.

I’ll be 52 this year and always thought of myself as technically savvy. An avid email user since the beginning of time, I am totally surprised when I asked someone to email me and they say “I don’t use email”. How do you live? I then ask if I can Facebook them. Well, you would think I am a character from Star Trek and they are from Planet of the Apes. How do these people communicate with their friends and family? They proudly tell me…by phone. I guess they are still tethered to their land line, as I am sure they probably don’t own a cell phone.

Christmas 2014, I finally threw out my “dumb cell phone” and Palm Pilot which contained my personal phone book and calendar and got a “smart cell phone”. Yes, I broke down and spent $500 for an iPhone 5s! In hindsight, I should have gotten the iPhone 6 Plus with the bigger screen, but this was my first attempt at a phone that did more than make and receive calls. Everyone was talking about these things called “apps”. I wanted those too! The first thing I bought, well after my Otterbox Case so I wouldn’t break my phone when I dropped it…which was going to happen, was the book My iPhone for Seniors. Wow, I immediately found out that this phone is powerful! It is now my alarm clock, calendar, personal phone book, camera, GPS, weather station, notebook, and health regulator.

I wanted to start using these apps that everyone was talking about. So, off I went. My bank app was downloaded so I could transfer money between accounts and make deposits just by taking a picture of the check. Square was downloaded so I could accept credit cards safely from my customers. PicCollage and Red Stamp were pulled down so I could make awesome text reminders and design electronic business cards. Waze was installed so I could see where the cops are sitting on I-95 so I don’t get a ticket. Find My Car is so helpful for those days when the brain doesn’t want to cooperate. Walmart’s Savings Catcher is so helpful in giving me money for products that I could have gotten cheaper at another store. Oh and then there is Siri…she is the best! Just ask her a question and she provides an answer.

As the Office Manager at SolutionWorx and an Independent Consultant for Premier Designs, Inc., I am always chatting with people and sharing contact information. I have business cards for both business in my wallet at all times. I can whip these out and they provide my name, company name, email, phone number, and website. If I really want to look like I am on top of technology, I will ask if I can text someone my business card. This way you have their phone number in your phone and all you have to do is add their name to create a contact for future reference. With my jewelry business, I usually take the opportunity to text them a coupon at the same time. What a great way to get new business contacts and sales! Since most people prefer to chat via text, I have found ways to send them fancy reminders of their jewelry shows, or check in with them so they can answer on their schedule.

Facebook was originally used as a way to communicate with your friends and family in a personal way and LinkedIn was for business users. Well, now both can be used for business. I am a member of 43 Facebook groups. These groups range from networking groups, event forming groups, company groups, yard sale groups, daytime soap groups (since Mike won’t let me watch my show until I get home), and my elementary/high school and vocational school groups. I am now in the know. Upcoming events no longer are a surprise, buying and selling things is easier, sneak peeks of my daytime soap is helpful, I can even find out if our grade school class is having a reunion or if someone from high school has passed. There is a wealth of information available in these groups.

So, at what point in your life should you stop learning about new technology? NEVER! You have to keep up with the trends or you will be soon fall far behind. One day you won’t have the option to have those paper invoices mailed to you via USPS. Everything will be arriving electronically and you will have to know how to pay those bills using web apps from your phone, tablet, or a yet to be created next great gadget. I am not suggesting you need to be an expert on every new technology or fad out there. But as technology evolves, it becomes amazingly useful to our everyday lives.

Technology has been evolving throughout the twenty-four year history of SolutionWorx. Our goal is to help your company better leverage technology to improve business outcomes. From the old days of Novell Networks, to the cloud and the Internet of Things, SolutionWorx is here to help you be ready for and effectively realize the technology opportunities as they arise for your organization.

At SolutionWorx, we are always willing and ready to help you understand anything technology related. Please don’t hesitate to call our team at 703-961-1840 option 2.