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Now is not the time to tip the needle

May 20, 2024 by Alistair Enser

On Friday, as the nation commemorated VE day and remembered those that sacrificed so much to protect our freedom, my thoughts were also distracted by our current crisis. It is not wasted on me that 75 years ago we saw nearly 500,000 lives lost in the UK as a result of the hideous conflict. That is the very same total that was predicted as a possible outcome for Corona here.

Today the threat is very different; it is invisible, but the reaction has parallels. The cost in terms of deaths and economic impact, while significantly less than the predictions, is still far too high. The country has rallied, the public have dug deep and, for the most part, followed the social distancing guidelines – often at great cost to their mental wellbeing and financial stability.

Where next?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson talked on Sunday 10th of the next steps in easing lockdown in a highly trailed speech that perhapsmailto:https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-52611466 didn’t provide the type of release from lockdown that some had hoped for. What was new was a five-level risk system built around keeping the reproduction rate of the virus below 1, where it will eventually disappear.

He also asked those that could return to work to do so, but this doesn’t seem to be a significant departure from previous guidance, and certainly raises questions of how and in what format, in terms of safe working practices. At Reliance High-Tech, we will continue to operate remotely where we can. While I recognise that the economy must be opened up again, this involves the very careful balance of risk and return. We have been fortunate at Reliance High-Tech to have robust plans in place for remote working and continue to provide a seamless service to customers. We will also continue to support and guide our field-based teams in terms of transportation and PPE to enable them to safely support our customers, while protecting themselves.

Lessons to be learned

It would be too easy to fall back into old routines, something that the Government is clearly worried about, and which explains its unwillingness to provide a definitive date for the reopening of the economy. Responsible behaviour and safe social distancing cannot be dropped at this vital point in the battle against the pandemic.

The exciting thing for me is seeing how we can learn from the way businesses and individuals alike have overcome the challenges of the last few months. Perhaps the most important lesson is that technology is our friend. As VE Day shows, allies are important in a time of crisis.

Boris Johnson talked about gathering data and shining the light of science on this “invisible killer”. He talked about technology, resilience and innovation. In today’s technological age we have the power to much more effectively track and trace than ever before. We can potentially identify ‘hot spots’ or high-risk areas and take pre-emptive action to contain the virus.

Trust in technology

Communication is almost instantaneous to anywhere in the street, the town, the country or the world. Many businesses and individuals have benefitted during the crisis from this new way of being together, yet apart; just look at the number of online training videos, ingenious and amusing TikTok videos, conference meetings, home-made quizzes, or other activities being employed to keep us productive, healthy, happy and safe.

The powerful force of technology runs through the DNA of Reliance High-Tech. As a tech business, we continue to look at the market, listening to our customers’ concerns, and whether it is managing a pandemic, or a security risk, we look at how we can manage the situation, using our skills and experience bridged by technology as an enabler.

As we start to follow the latest government plans, it will be tempting to return to our old daily routines. We have a chance to learn from the past, and the present. We have a chance to reflect on the ‘what if?’, and to emerge stronger and fitter than ever before. I mentioned in a previous blog that perhaps we need to better balance ‘just in time’ with ‘just in case’. I am certain technology will play an increasing role in this transformation.

Stay safe.