CoronaVirus: Changing The Way We Live?
We have had a public email system since
1969 courtesy of Compuserve, but hardly anybody used it. I
only joined the fun in the early eighties, and it was very
creaky. It gained momentum with the improvements that came
with the world wide web, and image based browsers, but it is
only in the last twenty years that it has really caught on.
It is also only in this century that we have had an explosion
of web based facilities.
The world changes sometimes when there is new technology that
captures the imagination of a generation, or it changes due to
the force of catastrophe.
There were so many new technologies that were germinating
during the latter half of the nineteenth century, but most of
them didn't take off until after the first world war amongst
the ruins. Obviously the latest catastrophe is not anywhere
near on that scale, but things are beginning to change right
We have had the ability to network without leaving home for
some time, but people are social animals and they seem to like
getting on the bus or the train and struggling to work so they
can carry on in a social atmosphere. I have never bought into
that way of living, except very briefly when I was the
director of a company that operated from Central London. Even
then, I could journey in mid morning, and go home after the
rush hour, so it wasn't the madness that most Londoners put up
However, working from home using online technology is going to
become the norm for the next couple of months. Will that
change the way we operate from then on?
I note that property auctioneers are keeping the auctions
running, but instead of hiring rooms in hotels, they are
turning to online bidding.
I have been working online since the eighties when I used to
do my trading through bulletin boards using the Public Data
Network, which was the UK's answer to virtual networking. I
wonder if that way of working is about to take a surge in
popularity. If it does, real estate values are going to start
I have wondered for some time why office blocks are filled
with people. Those folks are usually working on computers, so
why are they working in offices? They could all work from
home. Why not? So long as the internet is fully functioning
they are connected. They don't have to use public transport at
vast expense just to get to use the office computer when they
could quite easily use their own to access the company
network. Think of the massive costs saved in travel and office
Might I suggest that investing in office space is not going to
be a great investment in the future. Public transport and
hotels might take a hit as well.
Something else is maybe about to hit the hotel business, and
that is the next generation of Apple's I-Phone, which will
feature augmented reality facilities. Travel companies might
well find they can make rather a lot of money through travel
3-D simulations rather than selling plane tickets and hotel
The world she is changing, and this wretched Covid-19 virus
thing may well be about to force us into new directions.
Next week I will try and rough out a calendar for this
new-look world. Where will we be in six months time? In a
years time? Two years time? Five years time?
I must be mad. So many people try to foretell the future. They
usually end up looking silly. But I'm going to have a go.