Living Up to Our Digital “Avatar” August 10, 2021 Shilpa Choudhury | Marketing Manager | Hughes India false The pandemic has significantly impacted our daily lives and transformed the world around us. From people and society to business enterprises, digital technologies have enabled many of us to align with our daily routine - remain connected, inspire hope, and most importantly, sustain our livelihoods. With most individuals keeping at home, trying to align personal and professional commitments - the boundaries of work and home appeared to have disappeared in the regime of the day. However, as we routed through this incredible journey, many of us knowingly or unknowingly have adorned and discovered a 'digital avatar' of ourselves in this daily grind. From young students attending online classes from home to parents and elders working from home, connectivity was no more just desirable but an essential requirement for our individuals and family. While everyone had their initial set of challenges, work from home (WFH) with digital collaboration tools became more effective in the long run. Of course, "digital fatigue," as many put it, came along as its aftereffects. With workspaces shut and no physical meetings, "water cooler moments", that kind of chance interaction that occurred when people bumped into each other on the way to meetings was dearly missed. However, many engaged online with an increased exchange on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram to keep connected and experience the virtual water cooler moments. Apart from significant lifestyle changes, we have realized that be it the personal sphere or otherwise, the very essence of everything being connected has emerged now and that this change is everlasting. Moreover, the pandemic has helped us make discoveries - giving us a chance to reclaim ourselves. If we look at the business environment, there's a growing interest in re-skilling and upskilling as we discover the changes around us. Many executives have turned to pick up a hobby like painting or gardening, and with little help from YouTube, they are acing at it. However, the experience was in complete contrast for the million-odd population who found themselves on the other side of the fence. The rural population is yet to be entirely brought into the digital revolution fold. As the digital divide expanded, the gap was sharply reflected during the pandemic, with many losing jobs and fleeing the cities in the absence of any alternative. India has for long struggled to provide connectivity to every household. "Digital India" has undoubtedly made immense progress, but we are still far from reaching the goal of connecting every Indian. One of the key reasons being the reliance on terrestrial connectivity. Unlike the developed economies where a mix of technologies, including terrestrial, satellite broadband, is readily available, India was faced with an extensive challenge to manage the growing demand and connect millions of households in rural and urban areas. If we could draw a close parallel with Latin America, where new age (Ka & HTS band) Satellite Broadband technology has paved the way for faster remote connectivity. Wifi Hotspots along with satellite backhauling are providing connectivity impetus to the far-flung areas. We hope to see a similar revolution in India soon with the VSAT terminals and high throughput satellite broadbandat home. VHTS in the future will put the mini-dish antennas atop our roofs, delivering mind-boggling bandwidths. So, connectivity has found its proper place, and we realize that it is required for almost everything. Be it for rapid vaccine rollouts or information dissemination; it keeps us connected and we could continue to balance our personal and professional outlook. Somewhere, there is an unwavering optimist in all of us, who is more determined than ever to conquer it all, even after the pandemic brought along with it the many trials and tribulations. A change is mandated and is here to stay. From work and education to our daily lifestyle, we have experienced and accepted the vital support that digital technologies provide to our transformational efforts. The pandemic has only accentuated the need for this transformation, and now it's up to us to make the best of living up to our digital "Avatar."