For decades, tech enthusiasts have forecast a greater reliance and usage of Technology by society and governments. By forcing us to stay indoors as much as possible, Covid-19 has undoubtedly accelerated the fruition of this forecast.
Like never before, the roll out of technologies like EHR and real-time locating systems is helping governments to instantly identify problem areas, thereby increasing efficiency.
Many governments have been forced to fast-track complex digital technology decisions that were previously bottlenecked by concerns about possible negative long-term impacts on digital rights and other spheres of local governance. During the post-COVID-19 recovery phase, these digital technologies will undoubtedly be at the core of ensuring that citizens return to their daily lives in a safe and orderly manner and that services are provided more efficiently.
The accelerated availing of tablets, e-learning software and connectivity has created an environment wherein students are able to source information from multiple sources across the world and collaborate with other students in the same classroom, same school and even with other classrooms around the world.
The students also develop practical skills that will be useful beyond the classroom. These include: creating presentations, the ability to differentiate reliable from unreliable sources on the Internet, and early vigilance to online attacks.
The high contagious nature of Covid-19 meant that Health departments had to quickly deploy digital technologies to facilitate planning, surveillance, testing, quarantine and clinical management in order to manage the potential disease burden.
The fear of contracting the corona virus at health facilities has made patience more open to using Health Apps. Where possible, health care services are being accessed remotely. It is no longer necessary to sit in Doctors waiting rooms for hours simply to get a script.People are more willing to have their data saved on servers (in the cloud), resulting in governments having unprecedented access to large amounts of their citizen's health data. These large amounts of data will be useful in managing future individual ailments and future pandemics.
Africa has the lowest internet penetration rate in the world. The problem this presents is that the effectiveness of technology is almost always dependent on networks and internet access. We are now at a point where it is becoming more and more impossible for government to provide services to their citizens if the citizens themselves are not connected. In the case of Covid-19, it is impossible for a government to implement and realistically expect proper social distancing from their citizens. They can’t shop online if they are not connected, they can’t work from home if they are not connected and their children cant learn online if they are not connected.
It is therefore in the interest of all spheres of government that the vast majority of their citizens have reliable internet access. Technology infrastructure roll-out is now as mandatory as water and electricity.
It is clear that this is only the beginning of what's in store for greater use of technology by governments. The disease has opened the door to breakthrough service delivery opportunities. An array of possibilities awaits governments and their citizens within the technology world. Citizens are expectant and governments finally have the necessary political will, acceleration is inevitable.