As Freeplay is committed to helping to build a better, more secure future for the 1.5 billion people around the world who live without access to a regular power supply, much of our time and energy is spent looking forward, finding new ways to deliver our products into the hands of those who need them most and looking at how our latest technologies can be further improved.
But occasionally, we receive a reminder of where we have come from and the progress we have made over the years. Innovation is in this company’s DNA and, whilst our products have evolved in the light of technological breakthroughs, many of the issues we aim to address have remained with us for a very long time.
One example came to our attention when we were contacted recently by one of our US customers. In the late 1990s, he prepared for the then much-anticipated ‘Millennium Bug’, which, we were led to believe, threatened to bring us all to a standstill as 1999 changed to 2000, by stocking up with Freeplay radios and lanterns. In doing so, he showed that it is not just governments and international agencies who are involved in emergency preparedness, but also individuals. As we now know, the predicted Millennium Bug disaster didn’t happen, but 12 years later, hurricanes brought down power supplies in our customer’s neighbourhood and the Freeplay products he bought in readiness for a different kind of crisis came into their own.
We can never be certain about what the future might hold, but learning from the past and hoping for the best whilst being prepared for the worst is by far the best way forward.