22. VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR … 4.0
In 1980 The Buggles came up with the one-hit single, Video Killed the Radio Star, a kind of lament for the old and the heralding of the new. The lyric "rewritten by machine and new technology" was not only a sign of the times but a foretaste of the digital age to come. Yet nobody could have predicted, despite all the 'science fiction' books and movies about apocalyptic pandemics, how Covid-19 (and its variants) could have precipitated the positive impact of the digital revolution and the speed with which it has come to dominate our lives as the new normal. Zooming with your relatives, Teams meetings with customers and colleagues, online ordering of food and goods delivered to one's doorstep. A saviour amid impending disaster. And alienator of physical contact.
Divide and prosper
Covid has precipitated a trend that has been ongoing since digital crushed analogue. Businesses have been able to adapt quickly, and necessarily, to this new landscape. The tools were there - the electric screwdriver had already superseded the manual version, as it were. New business models, new revenue sources, new relationships. Survive and prosper. And the business revenue models that had already been in place were simply skyrocketed into the stratosphere, making trillionaires from billionaires. And, at the same time, widening the ever-growing gap with the world's poor. Divide and prosper. In the vaccination rollout it is already pretty clear that the rich will come first and the poor a distant last. Not much Zooming in the favelas, shanty towns and slums around the world.
But with that monkey off my back, let me return to familiar privileged surroundings and the new normal that is taking root. It is known that many mid to long-term prisoners, when released, recommit and end up back in prison. Not because they are recidivists as such but because they cannot adjust to 'life outside'. Will we be able to readjust to life outside the digital world, after the series of Covid lockdowns? Will the new normal become the norm? Will we have to relearn what it is to have physical contact, how to shake hands, hug and kiss, to re-engage in social settings? Or will the ease and convenience that the digital world affords us become so embedded in our beings that we use it as a provider of choice? How often do we even get on the phone to someone these days? It has fallen behind in the communication pecking order to WhatsApping and emailing or to Teaming and Skyping. Our digital toolbox is so comprehensive that virtual world contact is simply less of a hassle than real world contact.
And it seems to be the way of the world. Recently CPLS experienced the impact of this drive towards online 'anonymous' contact in a tender issued by one of our own (soon to be ex-) clients. The core competence prerequisite of the use of a digital online order portal proved to be the 'cut-off'. The fact that CPLS had worked for two decades through personal contact and the ability to deliver quality at speed (our slogan) was not even considered - in other words, the digital guillotine proved to be the death knell for CPLS. Video Killed the Radio Star ... 4.0. Fortunately, our other clients are more than happy to be able to have 'direct' contact with a real person at the other end of the line, digital or otherwise, and know that they can rely on quality at speed.