Are the Channels Shifting?

I consider myself quite tech savvy. I have an iPad, iPhone and am on social media etc, but after attending the NHC’s Northern Housing Summit this week, even I was surprised by the technology that is being used by people outside the sector and what is planned in the future.

Robot's hands typing on keyboard. 3D illustration

One of the themes of the ‘Innovate North’ summit was technology and how this can be applied to the housing sector.

I learned new words, Fintech (financial technology) and Blockchain (a digital ledger of financial transactions) and Channel Shift, which is a process to get customers to access/interact with services via channels which they are not familiar with.

It was the latter which is of most interest to me. It is estimated that up to 20% of the UK population still don’t have access to the internet in their homes and given the demographic of people living in our homes, i.e. people aged 50 and over, that certainly applies to many of our residents.

Now, I understand that this is changing and that the older population is catching up when it comes to technology, but at present, my Association, along with many others who have predominantly older residents living in their homes, would struggle if we insisted people must do everything online.

We do, of course, offer this option and numbers are increasing but I think will be a little while yet before we become a fully digital organisation.

Perhaps more disturbing, apart from learning that robots are taking over the world, was to hear someone suggest that in the future, people may not have any real friends because all their interaction will be done via their computer, tablet, phone, or whatever new device is being used then, so they won’t need to meet up in person to go for a beer, grab a coffee or catch a movie.

Technology is great but let’s hope that we don’t ever get to this stage.