One thing we can agree with is that 2021 brings great hope for the future that we will be able to slowly put aside the pandemic and return to our "normal lives." 2020 has been an extremely hard year for all of us and we have learned many lessons about our own resilience and the resilience of others. We also found ourselves, even those who were not adopters, to be increasingly reliant on telecommunications – whether it was to work, go to school, socialize and receive entertainment, receive health care, interact with our local government or one of many other functions that telecommunications can provide.
The pandemic changed the way we do so many things. This has included film-making. For instance, at the start of the year, our production team had plans for in-person interviews and working together to progress the editing process of our film. Instead, we were faced with the burdens that the pandemic has placed on everyone. The need to social distance and provide a safe working environment. This was perhaps even more important working with our experts, as many of them are in more vulnerable age groups.
Accordingly, it was August before we could even envisage going back to the studio, where we found a very safe environment. But even in this case, we found some of our experts needed to be filmed remotely. At first, we tried zoom and other platforms, which did not fulfill all our requirements, and led us to some by a handful of competitors’ kits that were designed for use at home. Of course, setting up these kits were not simple, and we are thankful for our experts who spent time with us to ensure we could get the shot we wanted.
But there is a broader lesson that we learned about telecommunications in 2020. Thirty-five years ago, the telecommunications technology we have come to rely on during the pandemic was not even a possibility. It is only because of the brave folks who led the way to create competition in the telecommunications industry and the innovation of those entrants, that the services we required during the pandemic (and likely going forward) were available. This includes the internet and mobile services many of us rely on in our daily lives for even the most mundane activities, such as ordering groceries online.
When Wire Was King: The Transformation of Telecommunications, tells the story of how we got to where we are today and the issues we have to address to ensure that in the future we have the services we need. The telecommunications marketplace today is far from perfect; for example, we still have a digital divide in this country that needs to be solved, and issues like privacy and cyber security must be addressed. However, without the forethought and action of a number of innovators, technologists, policy makers, and economists, we would not be where we are today.
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2021!
Jennifer A. Manner
Executive Producer and Director