Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Technology Has Improved The Way We Do Business In So Many Ways"

Many aspects of the way we do business has changed in recent years - fortunately for the better. The computer and other electronic devices have much to do with this. Even just a few years ago, it might have been hard to project just how much we rely on cell phones for calling, texting, recording notes, taking photos and videos, managing our contacts and calendars, and posting to social sites. It wasn't that long ago that we didn't have this capability at all, and now we literally couldn't function without them.

Then we add in our tablets, notebook computers, high capacity and speedy desktop computers, the cloud, and networking, and our world is far different than what we had available to us a couple of decades ago. The speed at which we are able to access files, transmit them, and share them with others is remarkable. We tend to take it for granted that we can relatively instant access to data no matter where we are. Whenever we are in a location with weak internet service or none at all, we really appreciate how much we rely on it.

The calculator once was a bulky mechanical device that did simple functions like adding mostly but also multiplication, division, and subtraction. There was no memory. Then came along some very basic electronic calculators that were relatively expensive for the functions they performed. Prices kept dropping, more features were added, and they became smaller. They are so common that school children use them to learn their arithmetic. They are so common and inexpensive that they routinely are given away as advertising promotional items. They are so common that we don't even need them and use the calculator function on our computers or cell phones instead - one less device to carry around.

Now, when we are doing a proposal for a client for a new kitchen, a flooring project, a bathroom makeover, a carport or patio enclosure, or a finished basement, we easily can compute the numbers we want to include without having to write them out longhand on a sheet of paper and then add them up manually, hoping not to make a mistake. We have a time savings and more accuracy. Plus, we can give our clients a nice computer generated proposal rather than one typed or one handwritten.

Then, when there is a change to the proposal before it is signed - addition of an item, removal of one of more items, editing the way something reads, changing the specs on equipment or finishes, repricing of something due to a change in quantity, or similar corrections - it's easy to make this changes on our computer without needing to retype the entire document or giving the client the original with sections of it lined through, written over, or with marginal notes.

Then we get to actual improvements we can suggest for our clients. There is something for a wide range of budgets. There are inexpensive ways to approach solutions and luxury ways - depending on what someone wants and what they want to pay for the changes. Nevertheless, the changes we have seen in building materials, finishes, styles, appliances, fixtures, lighting, flooring, cabinetry, countertops, and hardware, among many other items we might use or suggest to our clients is remarkable. They are more efficient, more sustainable, more durable, more user-friendly, more appropriate for people with physical limitations, and much more feature-rich than ever-before.

Technology has improved the way we do business in terms of they way we communicate and process information, but it has made possible so many more solutions we can offer our clients. We aren't limited to just a few choices. We have several. We also know that more are coming. In just another year, as well as five or ten years from now, we will even more products and solutions we can offer as technology and innovation continues to make advances in home furnishings, building products and materials to offer even more aging in place suggestions for our clients.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.