I know this won’t be everyone’s view but from my perspective, I would say that digital communication software like Zoom and Teams has been one of the few positives from the pandemic.
As I write this, Zoom has reported quarterly revenues of more than $1 billion for the first time – but shareholders are getting twitchy as share prices fall because of waning demand.
I guess as more people return to their respective places of work and the furlough scheme comes to an end, that’s only to be expected but I do think digital communication generally is a really good thing. Long before Zoom and the pandemic there was (and still is) Facetime. I have a 17 year old daughter who lives about 230 miles from me and if it wasn’t for this marvel of modern technology, communication between us would have relied on the good old dog and bone. Not ideal.
In business, the industry is definitely coming back to life in terms of physical events and that’s a good thing because our world is largely face to face which thrives on physical contact. When you’re shelling out loads of money on a new machine tool for example, seeing things up close and personal and establishing a good relationship with the supplier is an absolute no-brainer. It’s the very foundation on which our industry is built.
From a humble editor’s point of view though, my work remains a mixture of virtual and physical stuff and I hope it stays that way. At the end of the day, my job is to produce and aggregate content for our various platforms and at the moment that’s via a combination of meeting people in person, attending virtual events and carrying out interviews through Zoom and Teams.
Both methods work to be honest. In fact, if anything, I would say digital conversations are actually more focused which suits me better for constructing articles. Sometimes though, there’s just no substitute for seeing new technology in the flesh. Like most things in life, it’s all about getting the balance right.
So virtual communication is here to stay but in some areas it remains controversial. I was listening to the radio on the way into work recently and the thorny subject of not being able to get in to see a GP raised its ugly head again.
The pandemic has undoubtedly been a catalyst here but it masks deeper underlying problems such as a lack of GPs and NHS funding overall. This in an area where the balance I mentioned earlier has to be right. Virtual appointments are fine in some circumstances but they simply can’t become the norm – that’s a slippery slope we certainly don’t want to go down.