We have seen amazing progress in terms of digital transformation based on the pandemic. Indeed there was no choice. Those lucky enough to have jobs that lasted through the pandemic had to work from home. Those in school could only be taught remotely. Many of us for the first time took advantage of food delivery beyond just pizza. Everything had a digital component. The pandemic, or at least the worldwide reaction and regulations associated with it, could not have been possible without technology. In the Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 influenza pandemic, and lasting from 1918 to 1920, infecting 500 million people – about a third of the world’s population at the time – there was no option to just stay at home and not work. Yes, people tried to isolate but there was no option to work from home. Schools were closed, not taught remotely. Also, the pandemic basically had to run its course; the idea that a vaccine could be discovered and developed in a year to eighteen months was inconceivable. So we do, as bleak as it has been, have some blessings to count. This pandemic, and our digital response to it, has highlighted something else. What I call a fourth utility. All of us in the United States and in most countries enjoy water, power, and gas. These three have been the mainstay of city and community development. We all consider these absolute necessities and are gravely concerned about power outages and water issues as we saw in the winter storms that blew through Texas last year freezing the wind turbines and bursting pipes in many homes. I am contending that there has become, because of the digital age, a fourth utility – connectivity. I believe at some point a Wi-Fi outage, a 5G failure may be as concerning as a power outage.
I quote from an article by our CEO Antonio Neri “Students huddled in parking lots trying to connect to Wi-Fi to download their homework. Older adults without computers or smart phones to book vaccination appointments online. Governments unable to provide access to services by mobile app to citizens who need it most. These are not imaginary scenarios; they are reality for billions of people around the globe.
As the world became even more digital – practically overnight – as a result of COVID-19, the divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” worsened. The pandemic brought this critical issue to the forefront of global conversations on recovery efforts as stories like these were told and retold around the world.”
Antonio continues with the article to discuss what HPE has done to address these things during the pandemic along with other organizations. But his article does beg the question of how one can operate in this new digital world without a cell phone, smart apps, geo-location, and other items but all of these things hinge on connectivity.
The utilities, water, power, gas, and now connectivity are the new necessities to a reasonable and comfortable, and safe life. It seems to me that these areas would be ripe for NonStop technology which can provide constant, consistent, and importantly, secure computing. Does anyone in the reading audience know of specific applications that should be running on NonStop? Please email me at [email protected]. These applications can’t be non-stop without NonStop.