Much has changed in a week: Europe is now in lockdown and any one daring to cough is likely to get lynched. But with the challenge of being remote, strange things are happing. With many having to work from home and, soon, with all the kids off school, the role of mobile has never been so important and central.
This week – for we are looking to give you weekly updates from now on, since we can’t meet face-to-face – much of the news is dominated by how telecoms technology is stepping up to the plate to keep the world connected.
VPNs have made a surprising early surge – with Italian embracing them with alacrity and UK start up offering its free. WhatsApp, meanwhile, is setting itself up as a central point for information and has donated £1m to fighting fake news.
Elsewhere, the move to create apps to help with everything from tracking corona contact to keeping people up to date is just the start of where we go with this.
The key thing is that our lives are all going to become much more digital in the next couple of months as we seek to work and entertain ourselves – and the kids – online and on mobile. Never before has the developments and innovations of our industry been so key to, if not the actual survival of humanity, then for the sanity of humanity.
A look at the online grocery retail sector has offered an interesting insight into just what this means. Most mainstream grocers worldwide have an online delivery set up. Here in the UK, these have already been stretched to beyond breaking point and have seem most retailers drafting in more staff to cope.
It won’t be long before the rest of retail, as well as the online entertainment and communications world is put under similar strain. Are we all ready? This is the question that you all need to be asking. Can we keep things running, especially if we have a larger than usual number of staff off sick?
Stress testing now is vital to keeping the services that people are going to really depend on going.
It is also going to be interesting to see which new services and consumer habits emerge over the coming weeks and who will service those.
Then there is the recovery. Already in China, shops and venues are opening and people are going back to ‘normal’. Sales in stores are slowly picking up again: what will this mean for the online world – will it be back to what it was pre-Corona, or have things changed and a new world will emerge.
I don’t have any answers, we have to watch this play out, but while it is a scary time, there may be some cause for hope. We just have to adjust for a couple of months and see where we get to – and, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Stay well.
>>> For more in-depth news, why not check out Telemedia Magazine – Issue 56 Focused on Making Interactive Media Pay and published in print quarterly.