On this important day of commemoration and recognition, Stuart Carson, Sales & Marketing Director at Northern Ireland’s largest independent telecoms company, says we should also reflect on how technology is helping to bring us together again in this new crisis we face.
This day, on 8 May 1945, saw the UK celebrate the beginning of the end of World War 2.
People took to the streets and celebrated the valiant efforts of the country and the sacrifices their service men and women had made.
Now, 75 years on, governments around the world are calling on the public to do their bit once again, and, in return, people from right across the country are together again in another major public show of appreciation.
While Victory in Europe (VE) Day will be dramatically different this year as public gatherings remain cancelled as social distancing remains in place, millions of people are already well used to showing their collective appreciation for our frontline workers from their front doors and windows.
Though these events are different, there are some interesting similarities and some lessons to be learned.
So what’s different between now and then?
Since 1945, technology has changed the world. And like never before, it has been keeping people together yet apart.
The end of World War 2 saw a rapid advancement of electronics and communications. The war efforts advanced these technologies on a whole new scale, with the development of advanced computing solutions such as the ‘Bombe Machine’ which broke the enigma code, the pocket-sized trajectory calculators used on the battlefield to the invention of sonar.
Today, we are fortunate to already have the technology readily available to keep all of us continually connected during this Covid-19 crisis.
Global tech giant Microsoft recently reported a 775 percent increase in its Teams’ calls and meetings, equating to 44 million users daily and a three-fold increase in the use of its Virtual Desktop Application.
Within the UK telecoms sector itself, businesses and individuals continue to benefit from the government’s nationwide broadband roll-out, enabling millions more of us to work directly from home when we need to most. Never before has this multi-billion-pound investment in the country’s digital infrastructure been so critical and timely.
Meanwhile, the private sector continues to answer the call of government to help keep this crisis at bay, with NI Plc leading the way in a new collective show of strength.
On the 9th April, the long-silenced Harland & Wolff siren sounded for the first time in over 20 years to thank our healthcare professionals. However, this week, it will also act as a reminder of when H&W helped aid the UK and wider European war effort – not only by building and repairing ships but by manufacturing thousands of parts for tanks and artillery as part of major European war effort.
NI Plc rose rapidly to meet the challenges presented by this current crisis.
Our manufacturing sector was quick to answer the national call for PPE and other essential equipment. Who would have thought that companies such as BlocBlinds and Copeland Distillery could adapt their skills to manufacture essential items to help meet the challenge head on, or Invent NI would readapt itself to bring the skills of several businesses and industries together to answer the nation’s call for ventilators needed to help save lives.
In much the same way as they did in WW2, governments are now asking us to make massive changes to the way we live and work. Thankfully, now we can cut out those barriers to social isolation previously experienced by many through video calls, messaging services, or by making a simple call.
As we commemorate and reflect on this important milestone in our history, it’s also time to look at what we have achieved and appreciate just how far we have come, and how technology has brought us closer like never before.
Technology and communications will also be central to our business and economic recovery.
In these changed times, businesses large and small are being urged to consider how they have performed and adapted, and how they can make themselves more resilient for the future.
NI Plc can and must be at the forefront in retaining and creating new jobs while seizing opportunities through technological expertise and ability and adapting to meet the needs of the global economy.
Our history will always be part of our future.