Video technology: a lockdown feature to celebrate

Lots of people have embraced video conferencing during lockdown - and with good reason. Picture: Get

Lots of people have embraced video conferencing during lockdown - and with good reason. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

People have embraced video conferencing as the technology has delivered enormous benefits, says Peter Sharkey.

Decorate small back bedroom: tick.

Complete several ‘forgotten’ DIY jobs: tick.

Fit new fence to side of house: tick.

Create sensible gardening schedule: tick.

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How’s your ‘Things To Do’ during lockdown list coming along?

Amongst the remaining tasks chez Sharkey, decluttering features high on our list. Decluttering can be a liberating exercise, not least because it makes you consider why you believed keeping hold of items such as your Sharp colour-co-ordinated cassette recorder (in sunshine yellow) was such a brilliant idea.

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When, I wonder, will we declutter those items we saw fit to retain in 2020…

I mention this because research published this week by Currys PC World revealed that while Brits have embraced decluttering over the past few months, we’re not prepared to ditch everything; indeed, it would appear that as we sort through old photographs, papers, toys and other paraphernalia, we’re much more inclined to become nostalgic for the ‘good old days’.

The research concluded that residents of Norwich are the UK’s most nostalgic (Newcastle’s citizens are apparently the least likely to hold onto the past) and that when we play those long-forgotten vinyl albums or tapes discovered at the back of the attic, the resultant music triggers strong feelings of nostalgia in more than half (55%) of British adults.

No surprises there, but as your decluttering project gathers pace, it might be worth keeping an eye open for potentially valuable items.

For example, many of the original mobile phones are now considered ‘classics’. The Motorola DynaTac, for instance, has appreciated in value by 147% since 1983; the original iPhone has also soared in worth; a 2003 version is now worth almost three times its original value.

According to Currys PC World, a number of folks are prepared to spend good money on ‘vintage technology’ – quite a discovery after you’ve finally familiarised yourself with various forms of video conferencing, including the ubiquitous Zoom.

Once the preserve of seemingly sane people desperate to distribute images of what they ate for breakfast, video-based technology including Zoom and WhatsApp have come into their own over the past four months.

We’ve adapted easily to working from home, interacting with colleagues via Facetime. We’ve embraced telemedicine as though we’ve used it for years (“the Zoom doctor will see you now”), while receiving legal advice through video links established via Skype has become second nature.

In many instances, technology has provided a new level of comfort and reassurance to people who may have been unsure about a product or service, a development startlingly evident in the equity release sector.

Where once appointments between people interested in releasing equity from their homes and a professional adviser were conducted face-to-face, today it’s much more likely that these meeting will be conducted ‘virtually’ using a form of video link such as WhatsApp or Zoom.

“The great thing about a video link is that homeowners can arrange for other family members, wherever they may be, to ‘sit in’ on the discussion about equity release.

This gives everyone present an opportunity to ask questions and to satisfy themselves that equity release is something they want to do,” says one experienced adviser.

Another tells of an initial meeting arranged to discuss equity release which involved a home-owning couple in their seventies and three of their four children. The couple live in Norfolk, their adult children are based in Berlin, London and Edinburgh. “It couldn’t have been more thorough,” reflects the adviser, who adds: “Everyone asked questions . I think the presence of other family members reassured the homeowners because a few days later they confirmed they would like to proceed.”

If this malicious pandemic has a silver lining, it’s that widely-usable technology has quickly integrated itself into everyday life, making it easier for people to remained shielded and to adhere to lockdown meeting rules. Wider family involvement in the equity release decision-making process is another positive.

There was a time when being able to see the person with whom you were speaking ‘live’ on a phone or computer screen was the stuff of science fiction – or at the very least a feature on Tomorrow’s World. No longer.

Not much good has come from the pandemic, but technology has successfully satisfied the human desire to converse with each other face-to-face, suggesting that Zoom, Skype and the rest are here to stay.

If you’re considering equity release and would like to arrange a video conference call (on Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp etc) with an adviser please get in touch. My email address is

Drop Peter Sharkey a line!

Readers can email Peter Sharkey (and his team of equity release experts) to ask any equity release-related questions. Contact Peter by emailing:

As many readers have already discovered, there’s a wealth of information to be discovered at: . In addition, there are hundreds of blogs and articles dealing with the subject on the Moneymapp website, including Peter Sharkey’s weekly blog, rated among the UK’s very best. Read more at:

You may still email any queries or questions regarding equity release to:

Please note that neither or Peter Sharkey can advise readers on whether equity release is suitable for them. However, both and Peter can introduce readers to professional advisers who will explain the process and its implications for your estate and entitlement to means-tested state benefits.

For more financial advice, check out Peter Sharkey’s regular column, The Week In Numbers.

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