The Internet helps in the crisis over many difficulties. Had not so much been missed in the past, things could go even better.
Ready for a little thought experiment? Assume that the corona pandemic did not hit the world in 2020 but in 1990. How would that have affected the world of work, communication? At that time, the Internet was still something for a few technology freaks and scientists. And today? Today, data traffic increases unusually strongly at the beginning of office hours. Because many cannot go to the office because of the virus, they connect via video conference. Even the Chancellor works from home via the network.
30 years ago, the only thing that could have been sent faxes and, of course, phone calls. But how tedious that would have been! There are clearly good reasons to come together for work in offices. The hunter-gatherer who is still in us lived in hordes. Not only the meetings, the conferences, but also and above all the little chat at the coffee machine or in the canteen, the short conversation in the hallway – they are the ones that satisfy this archaic need for contact with other people.
Fax machines existed 30 years ago, but no video conferencing
In times of the pandemic, however, many are thrown back on themselves or their closest family. What a blessing that the Internet and the many services in it now make it possible in a situation like this to keep in touch better than ever before. How lucky that not everyone, but still many companies, can continue to work, even though all or almost all of their employees are not in an office building, but everyone in his or her apartment.
So it’s good that the network exists, but it could have gone even better. Many companies were not or hardly prepared for a situation like this. Anyone who only has to start getting laptops for employees and organizing secure access to the company network is struggling because many others are currently in the same situation. Or the school system: Paralyzed by a clumsy bureaucracy, by the tug of war that small-scale education brings with it, schools lag far behind what would be possible. Almost everything is missing: the technical equipment, but also the didactic concepts. It is time to improvise, and the hope is that, under the pressure of events, ideas will be born that go beyond the virus break.
Of course, what is not only lacking in schools is the provision of broadband connections. With accesses that are fast enough for today’s requirements. This is a problem in some quarters of large cities, but especially in the country. The Internet was once linked to the hope that it could help to resolve the contrast between city and country. Because you no longer have to be in the city to work.
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But it is not just a matter of technology. If in some organizations it is not quite possible to switch to distributed work, this is also due to the fact that there are no learned structures about who communicates with which tools and how. They are not only important for a global crisis like the current one, but also to offer flexibility to employees. Not everyone likes to work at home, but many do at least temporarily, only some companies have resisted it. The fact that offices and authorities are closed to the public in many places would not be so bad if there were better opportunities to make use of the services provided there via the Internet.
So it’s a good thing that we at least have what is already going on, and that’s not a little. It is also a good thing that the recently heavily criticized large US Internet companies are trying to always show reliable information about the pandemic at the top when users search for it. Scientists who are now looking for medication and vaccination against Covid-19 will also benefit from the networking.
It is a good thing that it is no longer 1990.