We now live in a world where technology has infiltrated into the fabric of everyday life. From on-demand delivery services to robotic surgery, it seems we are heading towards a future that is blazing with endless possibilities.
Technological advancements, regardless of the benefits they bring, have mostly been deemed cold and impersonal. Technology might have made life easier, but how has it made life better? How can chips and computers infuse personality and warmth, or replace a human touch? These are some of the questions that continually arise as digital innovations proliferate in our workspaces and personal lives. It takes true visionaries to cross the chasm, fusing insights with know-how to bridge the divide between what technology can do and how technology can contribute positively to society. A cohesive society functions better. Technology can be the perfect tool in lending a helping hand to communities that are falling behind. It can give policies a boost in terms of implementation. On a macro level, technology has indeed dissolved borders, opened up the world, and offered us possibilities we have never dreamed of. As a society, we want to see technology help to create genuine engagements and combat real problems. By doing so, we can elevate the society and strengthen the tapestry that holds everyone together. What we have now is a mere glimmer, from social networking sites created to foster a sense of belonging, to devices that allow video calls that instantly connect people, regardless of distance or location. There is still room for technology to spark more meaning changes. While digital innovation has paved the way for us to achieve so much in life, it might be time to venture into areas overlooked by technology. Religion is one such area. We can harness the connecting power and ease of communication brought by technological advancement to rejuvenate the way faith organisations engage with their communities. Enhancing the quality of interaction between religious groups and their followers is just like adding a new splash of colour to a faded canvas. Fostering a stronger bond will give followers a sense of belonging, and can also improve one’s quality of life. With a modern platform fuelled by digital innovation, faith organisations are empowered to go forth and unite communities, they are able to play a vital part and a bigger role in moulding a cohesive society. This is one of the main driving forces for us at WyzeUp to create Namaha, an app and a platform that seeks to transform the way faith and religious organisations connect with their followers. Generally, an inertia exists in the religious sphere, especially when it comes to digitalising the operations of faith organisations. While some religions are more opened to adopting technology, others are lagging due to a lack of accessibility. We wanted to initially focus on Hinduism before progressing to other faiths. We believe technology can be an equalising force for places of worship, like Hindu temples, to step up and become more relatable to devotees. Tech-savvy millennials are growing up and perhaps want to devote more time to their faith. The elderly in society are getting older, hence requiring a more convenient way to practice their religion. At the same time, agnostic individuals who are curious to find out more should also be given an interactive outlet to discover their spiritual needs. There is a growing demand to help faith organisations become more accessible. For Hindus, a temple is a sanctuary, the umbilical cord that links the outer world to one’s inner world. Devotees visit temples to experience divinity, nourish the soul, and improve the inner self. We respect cultures and traditions and understand the importance of religious rites and ceremonies. We are not looking to change this synergy between faith organisations and devotees. We aspire to make the relationship better, giving Hindu temples an opportunity to stay up-to-date and better engage with their followers. Our goal is never to reconstruct the inner workings of a temple. We merely aim to add on to the existing infrastructure digitally. From assisting with a visit to the temple to creating a virtual tour, the process can be easily improved by technology. For devotees who are unable to physically set foot in a temple and yet still wish to participate in certain practices, a digital platform can enable that. Take the puja for example. Puja is an essential prayer ritual that can be done at the home, but also at one’s home. For devotees who are traveling overseas or short on time or those who are sick or too old to visit a temple, a mobile app can facilitate this important ritual. Digital engagement is similar to the scenario of a crowded temple. When the temple is filled up, devotees are unable to enter, but they can still pray from outside the temple. Likewise for a modern tech-driven platform like Namaha. We close the gap for devotees seeking to connect with their faith, without losing the intimacy or significance. WyzeUp is a social enterprise that focuses on building digital communities. Nestled within our goal of helping organisations transform, is the focus on preserving time-tested traditions. It is a fine balance, but it is one that we can achieve by mindfully leveraging technology.