With March just around the corner, we’ll soon be entering our third month of the third national lockdown. So, it’s no surprise that people across the UK are hoping this stint of staying at home will be the final push before things start returning to normal.
As homeschooling continues and the government rolls out vaccines throughout the country, how are people coping? Can we expect any progress in the technology sector during such a trying time?
Dealing with constant change
Technology has been central to how we’ve adapted to this new way of life. Nearly every aspect of our previously analogue lives has found a way to become digitised — whether that looks like large events for 100+ attendees taking place over Zoom or entire schools shifting their learning online.
Arguably, children and their parents have faced the most drastic change. The new ‘blended learning’ experience is something children have never had to balance before, and the closure of schools means millions of parents worldwide have once again had to pick up the role of teacher. Although the number of online educational resources has grown, the unmitigated reliance on technology has made home learning impossible for many families, particularly those without a strong Wi-Fi connection or access to devices.
For those able to attend online lessons, Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams and Zoom have been integral to keeping the learning going. However, this software was not designed to cater to such an enormous volume of users and often throw up technical issues.
This said, a considerable number of curricular and co-curricular resources are now available, such as BrainPop’s animated videos on maths, science and English, Tynker’s coding lessons and Creative Bug’s diverse craft lessons.
Finding fun from home
Much of the joy of visiting a library comes from the atmosphere of the building itself. Now, libraries have had to upend their traditional operations and adapt to restrictions. For example, Surrey libraries are offering a new ‘Ready Reads’ service, where library teams handpick a selection of books for you based on your interests.
Since everyone went crazy for homemade sourdough bread during the first lockdown in March 2020, the trend of trying new recipes hasn’t subsided. People are still attending ‘cook-along’ webinars on Zoom, trying out exotic cocktail recipes and investing in high-tech cooking appliances to bring a little joy into every day.
And for those working from home, the little decorating snags around the house have become much more noticeable when you’re around them all day. This lockdown has seen a considerable rise in interior design as there’s less to do outdoors and more time to perfect your space.
Supporting charities and mental health
Charities have been quick to adapt and take their initiatives online, too. Digital platforms such as JustGiving and GoFundMe existed long before the pandemic as a convenient way to donate money to fundraisers around the world. Now, new platforms are emerging to facilitate donations and create a much-needed sense of community. Ema provides a visual representation of campaigns and their donations through interactive imagery. Givey is a platform that focuses exclusively on smaller charities and aims to reach new audiences through the power of mobile and social media.
Many charities have also begun to look closer at mental health and the impact the pandemic is having. Thankfully, the availability of online mental health resources has grown substantially since the start of the year. You can now find podcasts, apps, therapy and whole communities online, which all exist to help those struggling with mental health. Charities like Mind offer lists of materials plus valuable advice for those seeking help. The Department For Education has also released a comprehensive statement around mental health, suggesting dozens of apps, online toolkits, helplines and guidance for children and young people to use.
One of the most notable milestones of 2021 has been the official rollout of the Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines. As of Monday the 22nd of February, nearly 18 million people in the UK had received one of the vaccines. These nationwide vaccinations will be vital to fast-tracking the country out of lockdown and ensuring we can resume a more normal way of life.
How has manufacturing fared?
Without technology, the newly enlarged work-from-home fleet wouldn’t exist. New pieces of tech have also continued emerging, as the global pandemic hasn’t stopped the world’s tech whizzes from innovating.
For one, European project iRel40 has been established to enhance the performance of electronics through miniaturisation. The project’s ultimate goal is to improve the reliability of electronic components and systems by ‘reducing failure rates along the entire value chain’ — including wafer, chip, package, PCB and final assembly.
What’s more, smart tech has taken yet another step forward as scientists have released details of ‘animate’ materials that change and adapt to their environment. One application is in self-healing materials, where the technology can autonomously repair cracks in concrete roads or mend cracked phone screens without replacing the glass. These microscopic machines could also be injected into the bloodstream to deliver drugs to tumours, for example — eliminating the need to damage the rest of the body as current forms of cancer treatment do.
Innovation has also seen digital whiteboards such as Miro and Mural surge in popularity for those working from home. This software allows remote workers to collaborate visually and brainstorm on a whiteboard as you would in the office. The recent introduction of the new app Focusmate has been a well-received response to people being unproductive and struggling to stay motivated while working alone from home. This new app connects you to a ‘digital buddy’ from anywhere around the world and keeps workers accountable for their day while alleviating any feelings of loneliness.
We’re still here to help you with any electronics manufacturing services you need during COVID-19. Get in touch today, and a member of our friendly team would be delighted to assist you.