The new technology age, if shaped in a responsive and responsible way, could catalyse a new cultural renaissance that will enable us to feel part of something much larger than ourselves — a true global civilisation.
— Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman World Economic Forum
Artificial Intelligence. Drones. Light speed global connectivity! The substantiation is clear; we are entering the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Everything around us is changing at a mounting speed, and we are bound to keep up with the pace, otherwise, we can expect to fall back massively.
A lesson through time will teach us that industrial revolutions of the past were majorly about liberating humankind from animal supremacy, making mass productions viable and bringing digital capabilities to the masses. The fourth is slightly different, the technologies are already existent, this era deals with fusing them together, establishing a bridge between the physical and digital worlds, impacting all forms of economies and industries in the process.
A very good example would be the emergence of digital applications, increasingly connecting each of us to others, as individuals or groups, developing a collective frame to society, fostering new friendships and building new interest groups, transcending traditional boundaries of interaction in unbelievable ways.
There are always two sides to the coin; here, we are hoping to explore the good side of the escalating digital connectivity — the wonderful world of apps.
Social Media and Connectivity Services
There are perhaps not many people in the world left who have not heard or used these sites to connect with friends or strangers. Even a close-knit farming community, living in the remotest parts of Bangladesh, knows how to engage with their customers, contact the middlemen, build relationships, and even sell directly to the retailers through WhatsApp, Viber, and Imo. Thanks to the emergence of these services, millions have been able to connect to 'almost everyone' directly, even though they were thousands of miles apart, like their children's first walk, to their graduations, to watching their siblings win an award. While the list is now far and many, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, WeChat, Tinder, and Flickr have forged the trail and changed the landscape of connectivity.
There are many ride hailing apps all over the world, but when speaking from the Bangladeshi context, special mentions must go to Uber and Pathao for helping to change the transport aspect of our country. The best thing about Uber, an international app, is that it automatically adapts to the local scenario, effectuating a zero-hassle policy. For example, a rider using the app in Dhaka is able to get an Uber in Abu Dhabi or Bosnia — all with the same app. Other prominent alternatives to Uber and Pathao in Bangladesh are OBHAI, Shohoz Ride, Garivara, JoBike, Amarbike and Taxiwala.
The existent ride-hailing services ensure that people from middle-income backgrounds are not compelled to buy a brand-new car, plus the mobility around town and in the outskirts become so much easier. The easy to download apps are available on most Android and iPhone devices, and can be accessed from anywhere as long as there is internet connectivity.
Food Delivery Apps
It's already 8:30PM in the evening and you are bogged down with work, doing overtime at the office. Somehow, you know that this workload of yours will cause you to pull an all-nighter, again. Does it mean you go without dinner?
Not anymore! With just one tap on your smartphone, you could order just about any kind of food you want, be it sushi or pizza, may be even kachchi. You name it, and it will be delivered to your doorstep within 30 to 40 minutes.
Some notable names when it comes to food delivery apps in Bangladesh are Foodpanda, HungryNaki, Pathao Food, Sheba Food, Uber Eats, Food Mart, Shohoz etc.
You almost certainly do not have the time to commute to a gym, especially because you are the mother of two. Or, maybe you just hate the commute and rather spend some family time at home than work on those abdominal muscles. Whatever it is, the digital world values this specific need of yours with apps like calorie counters, fitness and exercise apps, helping to reduce those difficult fats without having to move an inch out of the house.
Calorie counter apps initially calculates your current weight, height, and other factors to calculate your ideal BMI (Body Mass Index) and compares it to your target, developing a diet and exercise schedule that helps reduce your weight steadily, while keeping you energetic and hydrated. So, the result is that there are no more crash diets, but more conscious dieting, with the help of the digital fitness guru — an arrangement that actually works. Fitness and exercise apps like Bangla Gym Guide, Home Workout, 30 Day Fitness Challenge, 7 Minute Workout, Runtastic, Google Fit, and JEFIT Workout Tracker are amazing, because it shows you exactly how to do the workouts with interactive videos. It's almost as if you have a personal trainer at home.
Healthcare Apps and Services
One time, my two-year-old was pulling his ears and crying at the top of his lungs at an ungodly hour. I could not imagine leaving the other child at home, all alone to fend for himself, as I took the younger one to the doctor, since the Mr was away on a business trip. So, the best option that came to my mind was calling an online doctor. So, I browsed the internet, found an online site – Call a doctor BD. They immediately sent a doctor with the appropriate testing devices to check the child's ears. Once the infection had been diagnosed, he provided the appropriate treatment.
This prompt action is true for other cases as well, such as geriatric care, vaccination, medicine purchase, and doctor requests. Few websites and apps related to healthcare are Doctors from Bangladesh, bdhealthsolution.com, Shohoj.com, HelloDoctor Pro, Bd Drug Directory, Medicine Directory, DIMS, or Pharmacy BD.
Making Life Easier
You must be shuddering at the thought of buying train tickets before any general holiday. Because this would occasionally mean standing behind a serpentine queue for the longest possible stretch of time, being pushed and shoved, only to realise later that all the tickets have been sold out in advance and you have to repeat this experience yet another day. No longer is such hassle necessary, for there are now online apps like Shohoz.com that help you do all that and more, from the convenience of your home while drinking tea and watching Netflix.
Sheba.xyz is another app that needs special mention. From basic services like doing the laundry to painting the walls or getting your body massaged, they have services for just about everything, making life just that much easier.
Sheba.xyz is also popular for its corporate services like provisions of digital security, lift management, generator set-up, etc. All you need to do is just install the app, and state the service required.
If you are someone who is always on the run, then there are plenty of task management apps out there to keep track of all your daily chores. Apps like Google Keep, Microsoft To Do, 2Do, etc. are just some of the more popular examples out there.
If you need to do more on the go than just tasks, like write or check documents, or input data for spreadsheets, then modern smartphone apps have your back here as well, as nearly all the features you would find in full-blown PC office suites are now available on smartphones, with apps like Microsoft Office Suite, WPS Office, Polaris Office etc. Thanks to apps like these, the world can literally be on the tip of your fingers.
The world of grocery shopping has evolved just as much as all other sectors of the digital life, and if you are one of those people who simply cannot find time in your schedule to do the weekly shopping, then your prayers have been answered via apps and services such as Chaldal (chaldal.com), Meena Bazar (meenaclick.com), and Daraz (daraz.com.bd). One interesting addition is that once you become their regular, you get special prices and remarkable value offers.
Imagine going to the remotest part of China, not knowing a word of Chinese and end up getting stuck there. What do you do? How do you tell the locals that you want some food, or that you want to go to a train station? Well, worry no longer, because Google Translator is at your service; it will convert your Bengali and English directives into Chinese, or any language for that matter, and vice versa. There you go! What else do you need? Travelling just got more hassle-free.
What did your travel agencies do up until now? How did they book your hotels for you? They either bought the rooms in a bundle, got a discount, and charged you full price, or they ordered through apps and still charged you full price!
When it comes down to apps, why not cut out the middleman and do it all yourself, and customise each trip as you prefer. After all, who knows better about your trip than you? So, if you were looking for a hotel up on the mountains, with an infinity pool that looked out onto the sea, you can book just that for your next trip with the help of services like TripAdvisor, and booking.com. Alternatively, if you prefer sharing a home with the locals of wherever you visit, Airbnb can be a wonderful way to connect guests with homeowners renting out houses/rooms, kind of like Uber for homes, if you will.
Cloud storage is very important in this day and age, as it allows one to back up their documents and files from anywhere in the world, uploading them onto a secure online server, allowing one to collectively work on projects, while maintaining a safe backup of important files that are easily accessible wherever there is an internet connection or mobile service. The best part, because all the work and storage is done online, it leaves your device storage alone, leaving you more space. Quite a number of cloud storage apps are available, with the two most popular being Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Apple's iCloud.
Remote access is nothing new, but what is new is the ease with which you can do it, allowing you to work or troubleshoot issues despite not being anywhere near the workstation. Some of the more popular examples are Team Viewer, Remote Utilities, and AeroAdmin.
These apps are godsend, and come handy in the most pressing situations. You want to repay your friend without writing a cheque or send some cash to your niece on her 16th birthday, or maybe pay your utilities bill right from your office desk — these apps will facilitate those transactions without you ever having to lift a pen. Some notable examples are Bkash, iPay, Nexus Pay, Rocket, Easy.com.bd, Upay, GPAY.
Calendars, diaries, post its, notepad
If you are the forgetful sort, then Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook Calendar, Apple Calendar, Thunderbird Lightning Calendar, TimeTree, Cozi, My Study Life, etc. have probably been keeping you sane until now. And for those who still haven't started using them in earnest, once you get the knack of it, there's simply no going back, and there's also no chance that you'd miss the dates of your second cousin's niece's wedding, due in six months' time.
Photo correction apps, painting apps, movie editing apps — these are all meant for the artist in you. If you always felt like Picasso and never got to prove yourself in a big way, then this is your time and opportunity to show your prowess. Thanks to apps like Snapseed, Adobe Photoshop Mix, Pixlr, Adobe Video Clip, KineMaster, WeVideo, etc. now you can try out your hand at art, in your own convenient time, without having to bother anyone at all.
There are tons of valuable apps that people of all ages can go through in order to finally grasp that theorem they never understood in class or finally read a Shakespeare and be able to dissect it without anyone bothering, so wasting time on online games is no excuse anymore.
Apps to try in this section would be Robi 10 Minute School, YouTube Kids, Rosetta Stone, Coursera, Udemy, Byju's etc. Some of these provide online educational content absolutely free, while others charge a minimal subscription free for exclusive content, but to that, we say, you can't put a price on knowledge.
Music, Movie and Game Apps
If you are like most of the savvy 'app users' of the world, then you are also expected to be keen on discovering new artists in the field of music and love listening to a wide variety of radio stations on your mobile device. All these and more can be done by downloading apps like iHeartRadio, Deezer, Pandora Music, Jango Radio, etc.
If music isn't your thing, then maybe movies are! In that case, apps like Google Movies, and Netflix are just what you need.
Last but not least, games, and let's be honest here, we are never too old for it. And with modern smartphones powerful enough to compete with cheap laptops, the games available for it are just astounding. Whatever genre you are into; you'll probably find something that suits your fancy. If you like to take things easy, however, and just want to kill time, then games like CandyCrush, Sonic Jump, Subway Surfer, Pubg and a lot more are just what the medic ordered.
Keep this in mind, everything listed here are nothing but a drop of water in the huge ocean that is the app store. There are countless other that we use in our daily lives to get our work done.
A word to the wise; just remember to not clog up your device with apps you'll probably never use and you are set.