August 28, 2017

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A Summer of Tech

By
Alex Burgos

Today my oldest school-age daughter returned to school, and that means summer is officially over.  

But what a memorable summer it was.  And one thing that was evident throughout it is the ever-increasing and impactful role technological innovations play in our lives.

For instance, just last week, my family moved into our new home.  As we have been unpacking boxes, including cooking and dining supplies, food delivery and takeout have been the norm.  Enter DoorDash and Postmates, which have been reliable go-to's for many of our family dinners.

With household projects that need to get done as quickly and effectively as possible at a reasonable price, we've turned to Thumbtack to post bids and let marketplace competition between independent contractors take it from there.

Technology has made its presence felt in many other ways.  After attending a friend's bachelor party earlier this summer, I used PayPal to pay friends for covering some upfront costs.  Not that long ago, I would have had to bring a checkbook or run to an ATM.

A few weeks ago, Instacart announced its arrival in Gainesville, Florida,​ where my beloved alma mater, the University of Florida, is located.  It made me think how much easier life would have been for me as a car-less undergrad living in the dorms – if only innovative companies like Instacart had been around back then. 

When we weren't driving around in our own cars this summer, we turned to Uber and Lyft for transportation.  These ride-sharing companies are changing the future of transportation.  But in the case of one troubled man in St. Petersburg, Florida,​ on the verge of committing suicide, one Uber driver saved his life.

We traveled a lot this summer, particularly out of Reagan National Airport's terminal B where, once you pass security, you'll find Microsoft ads touting their cloud computing technology's ability to help people improve their golf games.  More recently, as HBO's "Hard Knocks" has aired, you can see how tech and football have converged with the omnipresence of the Microsoft Surface tablet on Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter's desk.

One of those places we flew to for vacation was Florida's beaches, where Philips has developed sea turtle-friendly lighting that helps protect the state's turtles.

Then of course, no summer rundown would be complete without the technologies that have become so ubiquitous and used so routinely, that we don't think much about it.  My family and I used our Visa card to pay for our "priceless" summer experiences, and their technological innovation is on the forefront of protecting customer data against hackers and fraudsters.

Our summer memories have been routinely uploaded and shared on Facebook, where my oldest daughter and I have established a tradition of watching clips of all the amazing acts (Mandy Harvey and Darci Lynne are our favorites) on NBC's "America's Got Talent."  Google has helped us find the best things to do in the first place.  And through it all, my Apple iPhone (which celebrated its 10th anniversary this summer) has been indispensable.

Lastly, since it's back to school today, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge Amazon for helping us get our school supplies in order, in addition to everything else we've ordered via Prime throughout the summer – particularly for newborn baby needs.

It's been a good summer with the people I love, facilitated by the technologies that have changed our lives.  To keep America as the world's preeminent innovator and job creator in the twenty-first century economy, we need the right policies in place.  That's what TechNet will continue to fight for this fall.

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