Diamond Dave

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Technology on tour – love it or loathe it? Practical Motorhome's expert Diamond Dave considers how far we've come and what the future might hold

Communication really is at the heart of society.

It can be as simple as talking to the person next to you, or to someone on the other side of the planet.

Thanks to technology we can do both with almost the same ease.

Thirty-odd years ago, if I’d said that you could stand in a field and talk to someone in a field on the other side of the world, you’d have thought me delusional.

Yet today, most of us have a smartphone that will not only enable this, but also give us full access to the internet.

The progress is staggering

Here I am looking at some of the new technology that you might encounter in your motorhome.

Way back in 1997, my father bought his first PC (although he had worked with computers since the 1950s).

It was a monster of its time, with a 100MHz (100 million cycles per second) Pentium processor.

Because he did video work, he specified a then staggeringly expensive 16MB of RAM, which cost more than £1200.

You’ve got the power

I’ve just upgraded my mobile phone, and the new one sports an octa-core (eight processors embedded on one chip) processor running at 2.5GHz (2.5 billion cycles per second for each core) – it also has 8GB of base memory, and 128GB of RAM.

The new phone features a 20MP camera that is capable of slow-motion video in high definition, to such a quality level that 10 years ago you’d have needed a multi-thousand-pound video camera to match it.

Allied to this is 4G data connectivity, which means that, where it is available, I can access the internet at speeds close to those of my home broadband.

All this in a hand-held device that can even act as a highly accurate sat-nav unit!

Online on tour

The sheer volume of information that the internet holds is beyond comprehension to most of us ordinary mortals, yet we all use it on an everyday basis, mostly without even thinking about it.

Facebook? Internet-based. Want to find a campsite for the weekend? Look on the internet. Most large clubs will have a website, while the bigger ones will let you browse and filter various sites, and let you book your pitch online.

There is a multitude of ways to get online, too. Most modern mobile phones can access the web directly via phone networks, but they also provide Wi-Fi connection, too.

The latter enables access when you’re at home or out and about – this might be via your domestic internet router, or a network provided by a pub or campsite.

There’s also a piece of equipment available that has become known as a Mi-Fi.

This is a small electronic device that connects to the mobile phone network of your choice, then acts as a router, providing a Wi-Fi connection for your devices.

It could help you stay connected wherever your motorhome takes you!

A radio revolution

Communication also covers radio and TV, of course.

Radio is moving forwards with the advent of DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast), although not as quickly as television has with DVB (Digital Video Broadcast) – much of the Western world has now switched over to DVB.

This has allowed for a wider selection of channels, but has also enabled higher-quality broadcasts with HD (High Definition) – on some services you can even get UHD (Ultra High Definition).

Satellite systems

Both TV and radio are now available via satellite as well as ground-based systems (terrestrial broadcasts). That makes listening to Ken Bruce and watching Coronation Street much easier in the UK, because a satellite system doesn’t need to be retuned when you move to a new area.

Many TV and radio stations are now available online, too, so you can watch Corrie or listen to Ken pretty much anywhere in the world.

Thanks to DAB radio we now have more stations available than ever, and with far better quality.

There are stations dedicated to just about every genre and era of music – some specialise in talk, while others focus on sport… Whatever your preference, there’s almost certainly a station that will serve you well.

More TV channels than ever

Digital TV now also provides us with many more channels – the choice is somewhat mind-boggling. And don’t forget Practical Motorhome TV!

Over the past few decades we’ve truly seen a revolution in communications.

The equipment required has become smaller, lighter, more powerful, less power-hungry and even cheaper, while the information available has grown exponentially.

What next?

I can only guess that the equipment will continue to get lighter, cheaper and more powerful, while the sheer volume of information and connectivity will continue to increase and improve.

A keen motorcaravanner, Practical Motorhome's technical expert Diamond Dave runs his own leisure vehicle workshop. Find out more at Dave Newell Leisure Vehicle Services.
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