COVID-19 has been surreal to many of us. Over the course of a few days, businesses were shut down, nonessential workers were required to work from home and people were asked to self quarantine in an effort to control the virus.
This created a need for organizations, businesses and people around the world in almost every industry to reinvent and adapt to one of the most challenging times since the Second World War.
The difference between then and now is the advancement of science and technology. Unfortunately, COVID-19 represents a tremendous economic shock and burden. According to experts, recovery is what will be required over the next 18–24 months to get output back to its pre-crisis level.
There is however some positive aspect and learnings that have developed as a result of the pandemic; technology has enabled hundreds of millions of people to remain connected, productive and healthy.
For the better part of a decade, Digital Transformation has been the core driver of organizational change. The transition from legacy IT to cloud computing; the expansion of retail and banking into the mobile space; the rise of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and smart automation; and the growth of the IoT were, among other massively transformative technologies, at the heart of a generational forward evolutionary leap. And it is therefore not surprising that these very technologies have enabled businesses, governments, healthcare systems, students, and workers to adapt to the turmoil of disruption caused by the pandemic.
The ability for us to adapt so quickly under these unprecedented conditions only underscores the critical need for governments to continue to invest in digital technology, innovation and a connected infrastructure.
As part of the plan for recovery, the Oakville Chamber believes that governments at all levels will need to enhance digital connections amongst business, employees, citizens and government to create an attractive climate for business investment and job creation for economic growth.
An increasingly digital economy will require major investments in sophisticated networks, cybersecurity and electronics. It will also force businesses to adopt new technologies and business models to interact with customers, clients and employees.
In collaboration with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and its Roadmap to Recovery we will urge the federal government to commit to adopting technology and innovative measures to ensure a smart and lasting recovery.
Locally, the Oakville Chamber will continue to press the Town of Oakville to forge ahead with its development of both a Mobility Strategy as well as a Digital Strategy. This is critical as part of our Town’s economic recovery. Now, is the time to embrace technology and the economic benefits that ensue.