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Life During Quarantine: The Technology Gap

“This guy never booked a time please follow up with him after you review the attached requirements.”

“It’s exhausting dealing with clients and their stupid personal life nonsense I have to hear about and pretend I care just want to tell them to give us money”.

“Now I understand why salespeople are so broken down and have health issues… I hate customers/people. I completely empathize with you. They suck and they destroy your will to live.”

“Can you send a birthday card for me, I forgot, all this human nonsense”

This quote is from a technology provider who emailed the client with a calendar to book a time. The response comes with the understanding that if a client is not at our same technology level, we would rather not engage. Really?  Myself as a self-proclaimed interpreter of tech – English-tech, understand if I want to make a sale and communicate with our client, I must be flexible. I also answered that I love being human it brings great joy! Depending on if you are the CEO of a brick-and-mortar business, or work exclusively online, it would make for smoother sailing if there was some cooperation. Teach the clients the tech they need, and you may be surprised that not only will they be your long-time customer, but it may just spark a friendship.

Here are ways the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated 10 key technology trends:

  1. Digital payments
  2. Telehealth
  3. Robotics and robot deliveries
  4. Online shopping
  5. Remote work
  6. Distance Learning
  7. Online Entertainment
  8. Supply Chain 4.0
  9. 3D printing
  10. 5G networks and Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/10-technology-trends-coronavirus-covid19-pandemic-robotics-telehealth/

In March of 2020 with the onslaught of the COVID-19 the lives of working adults changed exponentially, and so did the lives of children. The virus disrupted life as we know it, the effects of which we are only beginning to realize. It would not be unusual for adults and children to feel an impact on their sense of wellbeing throughout this time. Lack of support, trauma, unhelpful thinking styles, chronic illness/disability, and substance use compromises wellbeing in adults. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a growing reliance on the use of technology to learn, live, and stay connected. One difficulty has been on medicine and children. Pediatric health care providers are unable to provide telehealth for all children due to differences in licensing laws by state and gaps in insurance policy coverage. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, physician groups have lobbied Federal and State Governments to relax the rules on telehealth to provide care to more children across state lines and in rural areas of the country.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7161478/

When it comes to how things affect the people in the world, I always look to the UN., With the pandemic exposing massive disparities in access to health, education and employment across the world, countries must urgently usher in a socially just transition towards sustainable development — first and foremost by enacting policies that close the digital divide, United Nations officials emphasized today, as the Commission for Social Development opened its fifty-ninth session.  “We are living in a time which is testing all paradigms,” said María del Carmen Squeff (Argentina), Commission Chair, following her election to the role.  There is a moral imperative to prioritize the world’s forgotten.  Stressing that COVID-19 has laid bare the problems of poverty, inequity, and unfair conditions between and within countries, she said “it is our responsibility to follow up on the objectives of Copenhagen Declaration and Program of Action” — adopted at the 1995 World Summit for Social Development to fight poverty, achieve full employment and foster social inclusion.

The Commission held, via video-teleconference, a high-level panel discussion on the priority theme “Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all”.  Moderated by Maria Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, it featured a keynote presentation by Peter Major, Chair of the twenty-fourth session of the United Nations Commission for Science and Technology for Development.

https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/soc4890.doc.htm

As much as technology has flourished during the pandemic, the results have been mixed depending on what part of the equation you are on. COVID-19 has reaffirmed the need to bridge the gaps in Internet access. The digital divide exists across borders, fields, and generations, impacting virtually every aspect of life. Within the digital realm, the pandemic has increased the digital divide — the uneven distribution in the access to and use of digital technologies whether based on age, geographical or geopolitical factors, social factors, or economic factors. During the pandemic, the impact of the digital divide is evident on both macro levels, such as school systems struggling to ensure all students have equitable digital access and opportunities for virtual schooling and on the micro-levels where grandchildren are teaching their grandparents how to use Zoom and Facetime to stay in touch during quarantine.

The digital divide is not a new issue but is one that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. It’s important to act to pursue digital inclusion and equity. The digital divide influences mental health significantly since they feel divided, unprivileged, and lonely. It is important to enhance digital and media literacy in unprivileged parts of the world to decrease the digital divide. It’s especially important to increase digital literacy and digital access of older adults, persons with disabilities, and unprivileged groups, as the digital divide leads to the spread of disinformation, which has a great impact on politics and voting. Young people often know more about technology, and this leads to a digital divide with older adults. In a lot of regions of the world, populations are still unconnected. Around 3 million people around the world were still unconnected to broadband as of 2019 and these people need to be connected to achieve universal access to broadband connectivity. Unconnected populations often live in remote, rural locations not easily accessible by traditional networks. The major barrier is the cost of access, the high cost to connect is excluding billions from the digital revolution. Nearly half of the world’s population is still offline, most of which are women from developing countries.

We need global investments to achieve universal access. Connecting the world to broadband Internet is predominantly an infrastructure investment challenge. But infrastructure alone is not sufficient, which means complementary initiatives are needed to connect people already covered by broadband networks. These include programs to increase and support device affordability, affordability of data and services, and digital skills programs and content, with a special focus on closing the digital gender gap. COVID-19 has exposed the inequalities in Internet access and affordability across the globe. Stakeholders should take urgent actions to bring as many people online as possible during this global emergency.

https://gdc.unicef.org/resource/bridging-gap-digital-divide-times-covid-19

Young people often know more about technology, and this leads to a digital divide with older adults. In a lot of regions of the world, populations are still unconnected. Around 3 million people around the world were still unconnected to broadband as of 2019 and these people need to be connected to achieve universal access to broadband connectivity. Unconnected populations often live in remote, rural locations not easily accessible by traditional networks. The major barrier is the cost of access, the high cost to connect is excluding billions from the digital revolution. Nearly half of the world’s population is still offline, most of which are women from developing countries.

We need global investments to achieve universal access. Connecting the world to broadband Internet is predominantly an infrastructure investment challenge. But infrastructure alone is not sufficient, which means complementary initiatives are needed to connect people already covered by broadband networks. These include programs to increase and support device affordability, affordability of data and services, and digital skills programs and content, with a special focus on closing the digital gender gap. COVID-19 has exposed the inequalities in Internet access and affordability across the globe. Stakeholders should take urgent actions to bring as many people online as possible during this global emergency.

https://www.ericsson.com/en/blog/2021/1/seniors-and-technology-during-covid

It’s the young that use technology the most, right? Pretty much. But, whilst that’s generally true, we certainly shouldn’t forget about our elders. They’re far more tech-savvy than you think. Because of this, our seniors are going to have more of an impact on e-commerce and mobile tech industries than you could imagine.

https://listonic.com/senior-and-tech-savvy/

Although there are currently a greater number of older people in America than ever before in history, aging is seen in our society as a state of decline—the downward side of the curve of life. Despite attempts by AARP and some “pro-aging” advocates that should be applauded, the years following age 50 or perhaps 60 are commonly considered the period between the end of one’s real, active life and death, making it a kind of existential purgatory. Older people are generally deemed weaker, less attractive versions of their younger selves, a terrible and simply untrue expression of identity. It is easy to see how older people are often viewed as little more than slow-walking, bad-driving, hard-of-hearing, Matlock-watching citizens. Studies show that negative attitudes toward older people are present in young children, and these feelings are difficult to change by the time they become tweens.

Cynthia Kosciuczyk, MBAhttps://www.eyeuniversal.com/
Some time ago I took the less-traveled roads which led to many careers. Each of these contributed to my unique mix of expertise: science research, teaching, food, art, and textiles. Owning and operating my own businesses (a bakery, a gallery, and a consulting business) thrust me into the driver seat of learning many diverse roles from customer service to public relations and resulted in my unique management style. Participating in the creation of startups and my own businesses and technology endeavors such as www.Eyeuniversal.com My quest for knowledge and seeking out the best has turned me into a networking enthusiast. A lifelong passion for textiles and Persian rugs taught me an array of professional skills which make the spectrum of research, writing and community events enjoyable interrelated tasks. Networking in the art and music areas, community projects and events has resulted in a multitude of business opportunities. My experiences include Management, Entrepreneurship, Sales, Design, Descriptive Writing, Business Strategy, Color, and Textiles. Each and every facet of my work and life come together like pieces of a puzzle. I strive to be a phenomenal net-worker and problem solver who continues to learn and grow.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for reading! I think that is a possibility. Everything is requesting mobile apps, even my door locks I need my phone. The assumption is that every one is on line in the world. In the way that phone lines then mobile phones became standard, there should be a minimum level of web access. We will be leaving people out if we assume all are connected . Thank You

  2. Great piece, Cynthia. What is your opinion on making the internet & broadband access available to all, like a utility only at no charge? In other words, mandating that its distribution is free so the benefits accrue to all, and economies explode with possibilities? It seems that internet access could be the biggest equalizer of all time if it is spread across the globe and available to everyone with even the simplest devices. Thanks for the very informative piece.

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