Despite our deep-rooted traditionalism in some areas, there are many ways in which Ireland is a land of evolution. Here are three technologies that have changed Ireland since 2000.
This is especially visible on a technological front, where we’ve happily embraced a range of technologies to improve our day to day lives.
Taking a look at three of these, we want to consider how far we’ve come, so we might better appreciate the long road travelled.
Increased self-service automation – shopping made easier
One of our favourite changes to the way that modern Ireland operates comes from the developments of automation and self-service checkouts.
Probably most indicative of these are the systems, which arrived in supermarkets like Tesco around 2010.
While most of us will openly admit to being fans of this technology now, looking back, we remember its arrival being somewhat of a rocky one. Slow software, improperly calibrated machines, and the frustrations of waiting for other users meant that, at first, this tech might have seemed overpromised.
Over time, however, all of these issues began to mitigate. The software was updated to be faster and to be more user-friendly. It became more stable, generating errors far less often. Users became more familiar with the machines, cutting access times drastically.
It wasn’t just about making shorter trips to stores; the appeal runs much deeper than that.
The ability to not have to talk to people if we don’t want to, and to be able to operate more at our own pace offers serious mental advantages. It helps take the edge off what is usually a stressful or at least somewhat annoying experience, with the tech ending up as more than the sum of its parts.
An online explosion – the growth of the internet
Next on our list of technologies that have changed Ireland is the complete reshaping of the business and entertainment world as made possible through higher speed internet. There are dozens of examples here, but the most visible are almost all found in video and interactive media.
For television and film, these have been best illustrated by the streaming services Netflix and Spotify.
Back in 2012, only around 8,000 Netflix accounts were active in Ireland. In 2020, this number has risen to more than 570,000.
While the statistics for Spotify are more difficult to ascertain, older reports from global firm THS in 2017 painted this and radio to be roughly even. Since then, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Spotify with the edge.
Similar ideals hold to more interactive entertainment as well, such as placing horse racing odds. Like these other systems, modern digital services offer vastly superior choice than their offline counterparts.
In this case, players can bet on races all over the world easily and from anywhere with an internet connection, something much more complicated or impossible on older analogue services. There is some comfort to be had, considering this could be done at home or on the go.
The mobile take-over – our new best friend
Playing the final part in this equation is Ireland’s acceptance of mobile systems and related tech.
Ireland is among the most developed in the western world in this regard, quickly adapting to the biggest and best that smartphones have to offer.
When smartphones appeared and were popularised by the iPhone, Ireland jumped on the trend, now existing as one of the most involved nations.
According to a report published by Deloitte in 2019, around 91% of Irish people currently use a smartphone. For reference, this holds for only around 81% of Americans.
The next big step in mobile tech is due to come from 5G, and this again appears to be an element that Ireland will be quick to adopt. As of the Deloitte report, around 21% of Irish people announced they would look to 5G as soon as it was available, again far above the international average.
While a gradual march of progress might make it difficult to appreciate, taking a step back to look at Ireland now can help us realise how far we’ve come.
From automated systems to better at-home and mobile technology, our current position is in many ways unrecognisable from how we were not long ago thanks to these technologies that have changed Ireland.
Whether you live here or are looking to take some time visiting, we’re in a better place than ever. We just need to sit back sometimes and remember to smell the roses.