Published 04/15/2020 by Marin Cionca
The Day After COVID-19 Pandemic – Hope or Fear?
There is a lot of talk about the COVID-19 pandemic and what its effects will be on our businesses, the economy, and the society as a whole. Expert and non-expert opinions span over a wide range. Simply categorized, these opinions are either pessimistic or optimistic. In a sense, they are similar to the opinions regarding the stock market. There are always the bulls and the bears. Which lead should you follow? I heard for example that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that due to the Corona virus crisis, the global economy will go through a recession in 2020 of a magnitude not seen in 100 years. As an example of the bull view, I heard Mark Cuban saying that the United States has an opportunity to develop America 2.0 after the COVID-19 crisis. I for one am with the optimistic crowd. Here is why.
From my vantage point of a small business owner of a boutique IP law practice, I see first-hand the American ingenuity promptly and steadily at work. I see inventors developing new products and technologies related to COVID-19. They range from consumer products to prevent the spread of the virus or keep our food safe, to diagnostic or treatment methods for COVID-19 virus. We are already writing and filing patent applications for such inventions. I can only imagine the magnitude of these efforts on a national scale. New testing devices and methods are announced weekly by various biotechnology companies. New vaccine and therapeutics are in the works. Clinical trials are in progress.
Furthermore, switching to another technical field, I am certain that many new technologies are being developed related to work-from-home (WFH). I and my team, as I am sure so did you, too often experienced slow speed Internet due to everybody working from home at the same time, while the networks in the neighborhood are not capable of handling the high network traffic. I was told by my Internet service provider that the network infrastructure in the neighborhood was simply not built for the current network traffic. If the working-from-home will continue after the crisis, which I think it will, networks will have to be upgraded to be faster, leaner and more secure. So, naturally, this will lead to new technologies in the field of Internet speed, security and reliability. I can imagine for example a powerful work from home system and supporting network infrastructure that will make online meetings and collaborations very closely mimicking in person meetings and collaborations. For example, a multi-camera system instead of a single-camera system that will be capable of making participants almost feel that they are in the same room. Obviously, a very robust Internet connection will be needed to support such an improved WFH system.
Many other technologies are likely to be born out of this crisis. While some sectors of the economy will be negatively affected, overall, because of new technologies that are being developed, I believe the economy is likely to come out better and stronger. For example, I dare to predict that office space prices and rents will go down at least in short-run because the working-from-home will say with us long after the COVID-19 crisis is over. That is because more and more businesses that were forced by the crisis to experience the working from home will take a second look at WFH. They will learn about pros and cons and some will adopt the system, at least in part, for the long-run. Have you noticed how understanding and accommodating clients are when you tell them you are working from home? This acceptability is likely to have lasting effects. This will lead forward-looking businesses to invest in more reliable, more efficient and more secure WFH technologies.
To conclude, any crisis provides a set of challenges and opportunities. It always matters how we respond. What’s after the crisis depends on how we react. We have an opportunity to develop new technologies that will keep us safer, more prepared to respond quickly to a similar crisis, implement technologies in our businesses that would help us be more efficient and also better prepared for similar crises . I think that we are on track to do just that, so, there is hope!
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Marin Cionca, Esq.
Registered Patent Attorney
USPTO Reg. No. 63899
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