Philip Fisher’s Christmas tech wishlistby
Unleashing his seasonal yearnings, AccountingWEB’s long-standing gadget correspondent unveils technological goodies to entice discerning accountants this year.
People pick up on developments at very different rates. For example, while most of us have taken on board developments like the latest mobile phones, laptops, voice-activated home controls and e-readers along with oversized TVs and film streaming, these could still be eye openers for some, particularly conservative accountants.
With that perspective in mind, here is a relatively wide-ranging selection of technological developments that might just tick your box or that of a friend or relation needing an Xmas gift.
True wireless earphones
There’s still a strong case in favour of wired headphones and earphones, given that they often offer higher sound quality and no breakdowns in communication when Bluetooth connections drop.
However, manufacturers have gone overboard in developing what had become known as true wireless earphones, where you literally get a pair of small things to jam into your ears that connect ethereally with your phone, or ideally a high-res music player.
With so much choice available, determining which is best would require a massive testing exercise –which usually comes down to taste. I have always been a fan of Shure as a brand and they currently offer no fewer than six models in the price range from £179-£899, though as with everything in an increasingly competitive tech market deals will almost certainly be available for those who like shopping around.
A confession may be necessary here. When I told a friend about buying an Oral B Genius X electric toothbrush in a Black Friday sale, she laughed out loud.
In fact, this proved to be £90 very well spent. With the difficulty of seeing dentists at the moment, oral hygiene has become a serious concern and this product is a revelation.
Using a phone app, it responds to your brushing style, typically confirming after around 2½ minutes that the job has been done. If you slack, it bullies you to do better. If you excel it offers praise, but the overall result is cleaner teeth and, one hopes, fewer dental visits.
Self-cleaning water bottle
The same friend laughed almost as loudly, if more incredulously, at the suggestion of a water bottle that cleans itself.
The impetus for purchasing this item was time spent at home, although they would be great for the office and certain models are designed for travel.
Having got good use out of what is now a manky plastic bottle that had begun to smell strange however much cleaning effort was put in, the attraction of a much more hygienic bottle which will be healthy forever became overwhelming.
With prices starting at just under £80, Larq offers an array of bottles that look sexy, self-clean with a light show every couple of hours, and use what the manufacturers call PureVis technology to “eliminate up to 99.9999% of bio-contaminants such as E. Coli and Salmonella from your water and bottle”. It does this using UV-C light technology by destroying the DNA of harmful contaminants.
One model has slightly higher capacities, while another also acts as a vacuum, keeping water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12.
Anyone looking for a cheap goody to stick into the Christmas stocking could do worse than the latest Rocketbook Flip notebook that retails at £35. It looks like a traditional spiral notebook, but comes with sensitised, wipe-clean pages and a compatible app that scans the notes into your phone or computer for future reference.
Electric cars and bikes
Someone needs to save the planet and most of us are too busy and quite frankly too much in love with things that kill it to do the decent thing.
One technological compromise that might please you at the same time as making a worthwhile contribution is the electric car. Depending on budget, there is something available for almost all accountants. Tesla is leading the way among senior partners and star tax lecturers, but competition is growing in the market almost daily.
On a smaller scale, electric bikes (and scooters) or conversion kits have a lot to offer. However, being realistic, they are not as good for the planet as using your own leg power.
For the mega-rich
For decades, we have been envying clients who sport Rolls-Royces, luxury yachts and private planes. However, that is all a little passé when the ultimate gadget for billionaires has now become a space rocket.
While this might be out of the reach even of Big Four partners, where tech entrepreneurs go one year, we usually follow a decade or so later. Time will tell.
In the meantime, the closest that most of us can get outer space is via virtual reality (VR). To date, this has been more gimmicky than exciting. To use a parallel, it is comparable with those videogames that older readers will remember from the 1970s and 1980s, where the highlight was a primitive game of tennis or firing away at space invaders.
In principle, VR or “augmented reality” could become the way forward, particularly if holidays remain impractical. In that light, the idea of sitting on a virtual beach or trekking through the Amazon from the comfort of your own living room could be worth putting up with technology that still feels underdeveloped.
To enhance the experience, perhaps some might consider spending a small fortune on a swimming pool or Jacuzzi, which could mean that we can switch between working from home and holidaying from home in a few steps.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
The other new kid on the block that will almost certainly take off with a vengeance is the non-fungible token or NFT. For the uninitiated, these are unique “artworks”, sold on the Internet. If this all sounds silly, it probably is but even so, aficionados are already paying eye-watering amounts to purchase irresistible items, generally based around famous names and hype.
Have you bought that Banksy NFT for your loved one yet? (NB – make sure to keep an eye out for fakes).
Has Philip missed any essentials off his list this year? Feel free to add your own obscure technological objects of desire by commenting below.