In 2019, I could have written a great blog about how information technology helps us, individually and as a society. Since then, we’ve had the opportunity to put information technology to the test, on a global scale.
Where would we have been over the last 18 or so months, if information technology had not evolved? Modern information technology was what kept society running. In every area of our lives, whether personal, at work, education, or entertainment, information technology was there for us.
How Does Information Technology Help Us In This Pandemic?
Let’s start with a look at our personal lives, and how we benefit from information technology there. At the height of the pandemic, information technology became even more prevalent in our personal lives. We couldn’t visit our parents, children, or friends in person, so we relied heavily on technology to keep us connected. Whether we used Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or another application, we set up video calls with our loved ones to stay in touch, to share holidays and special occasions, and even more somber occasions. Churches live-streamed their worship services. Entertainers live-streamed concerts from their homes. Gyms had live Zoom workouts. In the beginning, when we didn’t feel safe going to the grocery store, we utilized shopping services like Instacart to have someone shop for us, or grocery store apps to place a grocery order for pickup through their drive-through. When we couldn’t eat indoors at restaurants, DoorDash, GrubHub and UberEats became our go-to when we didn’t want to cook another meal. We had time on our hands, so we researched new hobbies! Some people learned new languages, or how to play an instrument, or online cooking classes.
Benefits of Information Technology
We use the internet to compare pricing for anything we are interested in buying, to find the best deal. We do our banking online. Now that travel is starting to open up again, we’re Googling our travel options. Where do we want to go, when’s the best time, who has the best prices, how are the reviews for that hotel? Maybe this weekend we’ll binge a series on one of our favorite streaming services. There are plenty more examples, but the point is that just about everything in our personal lives is impacted by information technology. Even my thermostat is on the Wi-Fi network and accessible through an app on my phone. If I wake up too warm in the middle of the night, rather than go out to the living room to adjust the thermostat, I can open the app on my phone or tablet and turn on the AC.
How Information Technology helps education
Before the pandemic, information technology enabled students to access various new educational opportunities, interacting with children and programs from around the world. They had access to online discussion groups, subject matter specialists, and hands-on activities that may not have been available in their own school district. With all of this information available, students have the opportunity to develop their critical thinking skills, evaluate information, and determine if it’s accurate and valid. And while there are improvements to be made, information technology is what enabled students to continue their schooling during the pandemic. (There are many arguments pro and con on this subject; my purpose is not to further an argument for either side, but simply to point out how information technology was utilized during this very difficult time.)
How information technology helps in business
Many people had questions at the beginning about how they were going to be able to continue working, or employers wondered how they could keep their employees accountable. For the majority of our clients, the change to working from home was fairly seamless. A fair number use Microsoft 365 for their business, all they needed, to keep working, was a computer and a working internet connection. They log in during the morning, access their email in Outlook, work on their files or projects that are stored in SharePoint Online or OneDrive, and communicate with their teammates using Teams for audio and visual calling. Some were looking for software that could assist them with larger-scale events, which they found with varying levels of success. Even clients who were not entirely in the cloud made a fairly smooth transition, as information technology could provide secure virtual private network (VPN) connections to their environments. The ability of the workers to continue working allowed companies to continue to do their business thereby allowing the employees (and their families) to continue to pay their mortgages or rent and keep food on the table.
How does information technology help society
And because we were working from home, we were able to help our children with their online schoolwork. Because of information technology, we were able to maintain and even deepen our familial relationships, either because you were forced to spend 24 hours a day together, or because you were frequently reaching out to the other households to make sure they had everything they needed, by texting, instant messaging on Facebook or other apps.
Contact us to discuss further how information technology can help you and your organization.
Additional resources about the benefits of Information Technology: