How times have changed.

I can remember the first computer I purchased for our business back in the mid 1980s. We were so proud of the IBM AT which didn’t have an operating system and worked off of DOS with a 10 Meg Hard Drive.

I remember when we got our first fax machine and how distrustful I was of receiving a letter instantly that was sent to me from Vancouver or Toronto. “How is it possible?” I thought to myself.

None of us at that time understood the changes in technology that were starting to accelerate. We resisted that change.

I remember a business person in Kingston, Ontario calling me while he was driving in his car. I didn’t believe that he could be calling without a phone and in his car, but he told me about this new technology that he called “cellular”.

During the past 20 years there have been many changes in the technology of running a business.

Today we have no choice but to understand and use technology.

How times have changed! Here I am plunking away on my laptop. I cannot live without my computer, e-mail and the Internet. The old fax machine is just that: old technology.

And I don’t remember the last time a client tried to pay with a cheque at the front counter.

I went to visit a new medical clinic in town and was amazed that they had just about done away with paper. They have a special area where the computers are voice activated. The doctors go to this room and dictate their notes to the computer which instantly transcribes what they say and adds the new information to the patient’s file.

Amazing.

Computers in business now do our ordering, track clients, can send out e-mail marketing to our customers and do our books for us.

Technology tracks our inventory, acts as a security guard and even detects if someone is trying to take something without paying by beeping when they try to leave the store.

Businesses are making use of technology. The other day when I visited McDonald’s, I saw a machine pouring the fries into baskets for them. When we visit Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire or one of our grocery stores, we swipe our plastic and it instantly transfers money from us to them and we don’t even think about it.

This is all new technology that wasn’t here 20 years ago.

And the technology changes so fast: touch screens, voice activation, iPods, the Blackberry, cell phones that are cameras, calculators, go on the Internet or send messages by text.

Businesses are deeply committed to the technology they are using and the innovations produced by that technology. New debit machines, credit cards with special micro chips in them, scanners for cashing customers out at the till and for ordering and computers that do just about everything.

Here at the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, we have our e-mail Bulletin, we often get Board approvals by e-votes, we now have a BizNet where businesses can post notices questions or comments online and have a discussion without having to meet face to face.

And we have our new Service and Customer Satisfaction Course “online” based out of Yukon College. As well, we have a website www.whitehorsechamber.ca.

Indeed, technology is here in the world of business and will continue to impact how we do business in the future.

So from those early days of computers and faxes to where we are now is almost beyond understanding. What new innovations will be created? How will our shopping practices change and how will all of that influence how we do business?

We wait, and we will see.