Digitisation is transforming all areas of daily life, from how we shop to what we do at work to pay for the goods we buy. The pressure to replace old forms of communication and exchange, which are expensive to produce, handle, store and retrieve, with small footprint digital alternatives is immense. From all sides, businesses and individuals are being exhorted, sometimes forced, to change the way they have always done things. Mostly we are happy to oblige. The benefis of digitisation are such that we would be crazy not to. Yet, still the old way of doing things persist. In moments of uncertainty, we cling to what we know, the comfort factor of the tangible. In offies people still print to proof read because they feel more confient and in control holding and reading a printed page. They still print important documents because they like the reassurance of a paper copy.
Our relationship with money is much the same. Debit and credit cards are wonderfully convenient and no one would choose to do without them. Yet, in 2015 cash accounted for almost half (45%) of all transactions, according to a new report from Payments UK (UK Payment Markets 2016). As you can read on page 26, when everything went pear-shaped in 2008, the amount of cash in circulation increased. Contactless payments mean that cash is no longer the most convenient payment method for small value purchases (the Payments Councils predicts that by 2025 cash will be used in only 27% of transactions). But it is trusted, and money under the mattress or in the cookie jar is a reassuring presence.
Much of our confience in money is down to the work of the central banks and security printers in devising new methods to thwart the counterfeiters (see page 26). Similarly, our tolerance of paper in the workplace endures in no small part to the efforts of printer and vendors and software providers. New technologies, from business inkjets to authentication and auditing software, help keep the cost and environmental impact of printing in check so that organisations can treat employees’ love of the printed page with a degree of indulgence.
James Goulding, Editor