I first noticed how quickly my attitude to technology changed when my mother informed me two days after the block started that she had downloaded Skype.
She’s not exactly an early adopter – in fact, until now she has decidedly refused to call anyone on video.
Lockdown has robbed many of us of the luxury of choice. If you want to see your relatives, it must appear on the screen.
As we overcome the social clumsiness of the “zoom boom” – when you mute the microphone, when you stop talking – we find that video chat works for the most part.
Regardless of whether it’s family reunions, bar tests, office meetings or even pet appointments with the vet, we can meet quickly without being in the same room – and there is a good chance that it will stay that way.
Twitter has already told employees that they will never have to go back to the office, and Cambridge University says their lectures will stay online until summer 2021.
This week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that up to 50% of the workforce could work from home in the next 5 to 10 years.
Technology giant leader Andrew Bosworth has shared a fascinating video about what a mixed reality workspace – a combination of the real world and digital images – could look like.
While we’re thinking about charging remote work and productivity, we’ve been working on mixed reality concepts that build on existing technologies like pass-through so people can switch between the real and virtual worlds. Pic.twitter.com/cJCEXDxC7b
– Boz (@boztank), May 21, 2020
On the whole, the internet infrastructure has coped pretty well with everyone – at least for those who have access to more robust services.
Some experts have long called for the grid to be recognized as a public utility, along with electricity, water, and gas – and the necessary regulation that goes with it – and maybe it has finally earned its spurs.
Cloudflare Internet security firm John Graham-Cumming said the company now sees three daily spikes for internet traffic around the world – first thing in the morning, noon, and early evening – and they’re bigger than ever.
“If you consider the Internet a utility, you can think of another utility that could support 50% growth [in traffic]?” he said.
“The network was a reliable buddy in all of this.”
And the technology companies have certainly recognized their opportunity.
According to Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, digital transformation has evolved by two years in two months to be entertained, connected and to keep track of what happened during the pandemic.
We can already see that investments and goodwill are behind technical alternatives when it comes to finding new ways: Could this be the moment when drone deliveries finally start (excuse the pun), make e-scooters easier and virtual ones Gyms our post-lockdown bodies through their steps, via a headset, comfortably from home?
History will eventually show whether the lock was the beginning of a new era or just a slip before things came back to the way they were.
In order for the technology to really prove to be a pioneer, it must become part of the furniture: consistent, reliable and therefore completely inconspicuous.
And as anyone who has had an unexpected breakdown in a frustrating moment in the past few weeks will tell you, we’re not quite there yet.