As of today (1st October 2014), the paper vehicle tax disc no longer needs to be displayed on your vehicle. If you have a paper disc with months left, you can remove it from your car’s front screen, and destroy it. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t still have that tax on your car, and that you won’t need to keep taxing it.
Rather, instead of needing to display a physical tax disc, and needing to send away for your disc, everything is now officially online and digital. As with most modern things, the physical has been replaced with new digital technology.
You have been able to apply online for your new tax, as well as many other vehicle related commodities, for a while now. Although, what you didn’t know, is that the DVLA have been testing out a way for police and road monitors to know whether your car is taxed without having to check the disc, for a while also, and it’s finally in place.
Another way that digital technology has improved the way you can tax your vehicle is that they also now allow you to pay for your tax through a direct debit. This means that you won’t even have to think about renewing your tax, as you can set up a system where it just renews automatically.
The new vehicle tax changes are just another example of how digital technology continues to make improvements, and changes in our lives. Digital technology has been constantly expanding over the years, and has therefore made way for many digital replacements for physical things.
We have compiled a list of the most considerable changes, to show how digital technology has replaced many physical commodities that are no longer around or even necessary. And, for some of these replacements, it does seem a little sad!
1 – Vinyl Records / Cassette Tapes / CDs
The way we listen to music has changed so rapidly, in what is actually only a short length of time. Nowadays, basically every physical way has been replaced by digital formats. Almost all music is digitally acquired in MP3 formats, and people simply keep their music stored mainly on their laptops and/or phones.
Our phones have improved so much to allow for more space, meaning people are using their phones to store and listen to their music on the go. We will even go so far to say that MP3 players or iPods will soon be made pretty obsolete, just like basically every other physical music player has.
2 – Phoneboxes
Phoneboxes are definitely a thing of the past. Whereas they used to be on every street corner, and one of the main ways of direct speaking contact, they are difficult to be found recently. One of the main places you find phoneboxes nowadays, in the whole of the UK, is in London, and this is mainly for novelty purposes with their iconic, bright red design.
However, even trying to recall where to find your nearest phonebox is difficult – think about it, when was the last time you ever needed it? With most people owning phones, and mobiles being so easily available at very cheap prices, it is uncommon for someone to be in a situation to require a phonebox now.
3 – Chalkboards and Overhead Projectors
There are so many things that we all remember from our schools growing up, that are now almost entirely obsolete. The main two are undoubtedly chalkboards and overhead projectors. Chalkboards started being replaced first, making way for the whiteboards and marker pens. Then, overhead projectors soon followed, with most whiteboards being replaced by smart boards, and boards where you can easily connect up a laptop and show your PowerPoint presentation instead.
Then, we all went to university, and could even skip attending physical lectures for watching online, interactive, lectures instead. Whoa.
4 – Maps
Remember the time when you needed to keep the A-Z Great Britain Road Map in your car at all times? And, for road trips, the front seat passenger had the great map responsibility to at least know which way round to hold the map? Though ever since the first car GPS system came along, traditional maps and road maps have become a thing of the past.
Technology has only improved since then – and now you can get your TomTom with a USB connection to your computer, allowing you to recharge and update the maps on your GPS constantly. Also, a few (expensive) cars can now even come with the GPS already inputted. Not to mention the fact that you can simply use your Google Maps phone App to find your way around, however you’re travelling.
5 – Analogue Terrestrial TV
Previously, every TV worked on an analogue transmission. This simply meant that you didn’t need a digital transmission or connection in order to watch TV. Then everything went digital, and with most people using Sky or Freeview already, they switched off analogue transmission. The digital switchover actually started in some parts of the UK in 2007, and ended in October 2012, after switching analogue off for the entire country. Nowadays, new TVs all come with a way of watching the main channels through digital transmission, and there have even been wide improvements for digital TV viewing and functions.
6 – VHS / DVDs / Blu-Rays
Over the years, the way people watch and own films and series have changed just as drastically as with music. Every physical method has been slowly replaced by solely digital formats. It is possible for people to purchase and store films or TV series as digital files on their laptops or even phones.
However, even this has evolved. Many people now own subscriptions to various digital streaming platforms, over owning traditional films or TV series. For example, subscribing to Netflix is a cost-effective way of having many films and series available to watch online, through any Smart TV or through a games console that has online capabilities.
7 – Paper Bills
This is quite similar to the new vehicle tax changes, as there is no denying that receiving physical, paper bills through the post has become a thing of the past. Now, everything is online, and it is possible to send you important documents via your email address.
Also, it is easier than ever to apply for things online, through a digital application system. This is mainly because digital applications and bills save a considerably large amount of money, and reduces the waste of unnecessary paper.
8 – Floppy Disks
Remember floppy disks?! They were the ultimate way to store your important computer files, and transfer them from computer to computer! They weren’t actually that capable as far as space, however, and they weren’t exactly the most durable of items. So maybe it was about time for them to become phased out by external hard drives and USB sticks.
9 – Cameras
We aren’t claiming that all cameras are a thing of the past, although we are firm believers in our iPhone camera quality (except perhaps the front facing one), but certainly cameras with film are sadly no more. Gone are the days of having to travel to Boots to get your camera film processed, and having to wait actual days to see the results. Now, if you own a camera, they are probably digital with a great memory storage capability, amongst other pros.
Also, if you want to see your pictures, you literally can see them straight after you’ve taken the image. Most people don’t even bother printing the images out to make physical copies anymore, and simply use their laptops, phones, online storage systems or social media platforms as a safe storage system.
10 – Phonebooks / Yellow Pages / Encyclopedias
Yes, we’re talking about those great big books that sometimes used to get reluctantly shoved through your mailbox. If you needed to find a business, or someone’s number or address, you had to scroll through a few hefty pages. Also, if you ever needed to know something, it required a search through an encyclopedia, meaning the search was often never truly worth it.
Nowadays, of course, all of those giant books are available in online varieties. Google searches have replaced the phonebook, the Yellow Pages has gone online, and Wikipedia was invented so that you can now find out any (even pointless!) information you want at the easy click of a few buttons.
So, how do you feel about our top 10 most significant digital changes?
Are there any more you can think of that have considerably impacted us?
Reading that list, we can definitely say one thing: the increase and expansion of digital technology and online methods has certainly saved a lot of trees. And chalkboard scratching.
Don’t forget – here at Bright Yellow Creative, we are down with all things digital! Check out how we can impact your business’ online and digital presence through our services here.