To what extent does technology facilitate social distancing?
If until very recently dependence on technology was a real problem and one looked at technology progress as a threat to interpersonal interaction and happiness, today, in the midst of a global pandemic, it is seen as a great benefit. Without it, social distancing would mean total isolation.
Notwithstanding the importance of moderation and the fact that the excessive use of technology has its drawbacks, it is a fact that today’s technology allows social distancing to be facilitated. From work to education, leisure and socialization, there are many tools and ways to overcome it.
Use of technology at work
It is known that one of the main advantages of incorporating technology into everyday work is the improvement of communication. Meetings no longer depend on travel and physical space. Employees from different places in the world can speak in real time. In addition, and with the amount of project planning softwares on the market, there’s an increase in information circulation, it becomes easier to analyze metrics and results more quickly, facilitating decision making, avoiding errors, storing data safely and reducing task execution on time. If you are working remotely, SISQUAL has gathered 10 tips to keep you efficient and motivated.
Technology and health go hand in hand in pandemic control
During a time when the success of preventive measures depends primarily on the effectiveness of prophylactic isolation, telehealth emerges as an important alternative or complement in patient care. It has been used on a scale never seen before, allowing patients to connect with medical professionals without having to leave home. In Portugal, for example, the Ministry of Health announced in April the availability of a new telehealth platform, “RSE Live”, in several hospital units in order to “strengthen the capacity to provide health care” to the population, guaranteeing “quality in follow-up medical appointments” during the pandemic.
The fact that we’re maintaining social distancing does not mean we have to deprive ourselves of culture. Artists, museums, institutions and galleries around the world have started a reinvention process in which technology emerges as their main ally to make their content reach us. Many museums around the world have made virtual tours available online, such as the British Museum in London, the Guggenheim Museum in New York or the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
During quarantine times there was also a rising phenomenon: lives. Musicians also had to reinvent themselves and find new ways to reach their audiences. The Live Aid “One World: Together at home”, organized by Lady Gaga that brought together some of the world’s greatest musicians, raised millions to support health professionals. But it’s Brazil that leads the lives audiences: Marília Mendonça, a Brazilian singer, songwriter and instrumentalist, reached 3.3 million viewers on April 8, followed by Jorge & Mateus, with 3.2 million four days earlier.
However, lives are not entirely related to the entertainment business: the number of webinars during quarantine increased exponentially, those who were just content consumers reinvented themselves as creators: professionals and gurus within their areas of expertise hold webinars on certain topics and even companies, from a perspective of making their reality and/or products known, began to incorporate this tool in their marketing strategies. Even SISQUAL organized a Webinar on Internationalization on April.
And of course, film broadcasting services can bring the magic of cinema into our home. It has even become possible to have a watch party. A Google Chrome extension called “Netflix Party” allows users to watch their favorite movies or series with other users online at the same time.
The pandemic gave retail the need for reinvention, those who were not prepared for distance selling, with e-commerce, had to adapt and embrace the technology.
In the de-confinement phase, there are some changes that shopkeepers will have to take into account when opening their shops in order to ensure the safety conditions of workers and customers, including the control of people inside the shops. Publicly accessible spaces, retail outlets, department stores and shopping complexes should be limited to one third of their capacity. Thus, people counters appear as the ideal solution, which SISQUAL already has in its product portfolio: the Footfall. Besides solving a problem effectively, it is also a very useful tool to optimize access to stores, build a history for future use, management and marketing.
Long-term changes in everyone’s daily life
In conclusion, the Internet and technology had already broken down several barriers imposed by distance, facilitating communication with those who live far away. However, more than ever, in a time of pandemic, it came to strengthen its role. The changes that have occurred especially during this period, such as the adoption of remote work and access to telehealth services, may be lasting. According to Jared Spataro, corporate vice president of Microsoft 365, “We will never work in the same way again.” Nevertheless, we believe that the path to “new normality” will be taken at several levels beyond this one.