The global pandemic caused by the rapid spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has caused worldwide fatalities and significant changes in the workplace. For many, it has even caused the workplace to go away. For many industries, such as the RF/microwave industry, government stay-at-home directives have given us a new way to view the workplace: it can be anywhere. Because of the potential health hazards of having many gathered in a confined place, such as the IEEE International Microwave Symposium (IMS), many such technical events will likely be cancelled in 2020, at least until more can be learned about the COVID-19 coronavirus. But is this such a bad thing?
The Internet is rapidly becoming a “communications portal” for many, the place to go for a quick answer. In the past, that might have been done by reaching for a favorite textbook and calling a favorite phone number. But as engineers and other users grow up with wireless personal communications devices, they also grow up with the Internet. For them, “real-time” communications are no longer face to face but by means of those personal communications devices and a wireless communications network, such as 4G LTE or soon 5G.
Although communications via such electronic devices is no replacement for the subtleties and complexities of meeting an associate face to face at a trade show, adapting to evolving workplaces in many industries has made it possible to maintain continuity on engineering projects and among contract teams working remotely. Without the Internet (and learning how to use it), many businesses would have been hit much harder by the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the many “stay at home” orders related to minimizing the spread of the disease.
For many high-frequency analog and high-speed digital electronics companies, engineers have learned to work remotely, even with their own test labs at home, and help their companies by developing engineering innovations from a distance. Within the RF/microwave industry, some of these same engineers are learning to overcome the backlash of COVID-19 and the various “stay-at-home” directives and are spending this “recovery time” creatively and productively.
Fortunately, the Internet is a powerful resource, providing access to blogs, white papers, research articles, and other forms of information. Of course, not all the content on the Internet is in the same language or readable. Almost every electronics company can look at their contributions to the Internet, on their website, and ask how they help users of their products. Traditionally, companies provide engineering support via telephone numbers. But in the age of COVID-19, there may be no one at those phones to return a call, and the Internet may represent a more realistic way to communicate. By working with companies such as Leger Communications, which specialize in communicating complex messages, the Internet and your company’s website can be made more efficient and effective.
The interaction between a modern communications company like Leger Communications and your engineering firm is almost totally remote, but it can be quite effective and can be the way that your company delivers its most important messages during these trying medical times. While it may lack the simple joys of the “high-fives” and handshakes during an IEEE IMS, the end results can be more effective, bringing customer to your website (if not your door).