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Viva la tech-volution

More and more people are making the migration from clunky, orthodox services to easily available online ones

india Updated: Aug 17, 2012 14:02 IST
Sumedha Deo

In the last few years, evolving technology has caused a major disruption in traditional fields such as journalism, retail and more recently, higher education. We take a look at five such areas where new technology is causing a historic revolution.

Shopping
Going to a store, trying out sizes and waiting in a queue to make your payment is passé. Shoppers now prefer to sit back and click their way through shopping lists as everything from clothes to electronics is available online and delivered to your doorstep. Such ease and discounts have drawn 28-year-old banker, Manish Agarwal to shopping websites. “Nothing cures my bad mood like a good discount,” he says. “Shopping online allows me to compare products across websites as well as browse through international portals.” However, he advises you to beware of sites that could rip you off by offering sub-standard products.

Reading
Kindles and e-book readers have now replaced books. Avid reader, Subham M thinks while physical books are “beautiful objects because of their mass and weight,” but it’s more convenient to store e-books.

“The wide selection of books and the swiftness of the delivery — 30 seconds between wanting to buy it and starting to read it — is what attracts me to e-books,” he says. Shubham reads via the Kindle app on his iPad and feels that the gratification is instantaneous.

However, he isn’t a complete convert yet. “I always carry both — a physical book and an e-reader. Both are indispensable,” he adds.

Travel
In the ’80s, knowing a good travel agent was like knowing a celebrity. They’d get you the best travel deals available at your beck and call. That is not true anymore, as travellers scour websites like Expedia, MakeMyTrip and Kayak for all their travel needs. Denzil D’Souza is a 56-year-old businessman whose work takes him to such far-flung places as Israel, Chile and even Libya.

“Earlier, when I had a travel agent, he’d charge me extra to book flights to such non-touristy locations. I’ve recently made the switch to ticketing websites and find the experience less painful,” he says. Denzil got a great deal on a home stay in Qatar that he “could never have made with a travel agent.”

News
Technology, perhaps, has largely affected the field of journalism. Newspapers and journals all over have started feeling the pinch of decamping readers.

SM Namboodiripad, a 32-year-old lawyer gets his daily dose of breaking news on his iPad. “I use the Flipboard app to read my news. It’s easy to browse and merges tons of sources, including all my social network feeds. Unlike a newspaper, I get my news as it breaks and can even share it with my friends,” he says.

Even though Namboodiripad misses the feel of a traditional newspaper, he won’t be ditching his iPad any time soon.

Learning
In India, many schools have under-qualified teachers, which leads to their students spending thousands of rupees on added classes. Now, websites that offer free courses from Ivy League professors are finding favour with students.

“I had the flexibility to watch lectures and complete assignments on my own time. Also, the content for an online course is easily available as long as you have a good Internet connection,” says Ashish Chaudhari, a 25-year-old software professional.

He’s taken courses on subjects as varied as cryptography and compilers on Coursera, a website started by two Stanford professors. Ashish hasn’t given up completely on
regular classroom courses though. “A lot of courses involve teamwork and face-to-face interaction with faculty and peers, which is also more effective,” he adds.

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