Our agendas globally have many to-do items, above and beyond even the pandemic. But each one has been highlighted by it. In June, experts counseled that diversity and inclusion still matter even in this crisis. Unfortunately, big-tech hiring practices showed “very little has changed” despite at least six years of effort. Across the region, the needs of other groups as disparate as LGBTI communities and Asia’s aging population still struggle for attention.
But we saw positives too in sectoral calls to action and, over the months, visible role models are perhaps emerging to show the way. We welcomed personal stories of mentors and guides, those at the beginning of corporate life in dynamic sectors, as well as senior managers and entrepreneurs. In the U.S., FCC podcasts have highlighted the challenges women face in senior tech roles across the industry.
A Wider Rethink?
Perhaps we see opportunity in a time of crisis, and possibly a wider rethink in a time of great change. In June, the search was on for new lessons and themes in the corporate domain. Many called out superficial incentives that pass for employee recognition. Leadership “micro-habits” are under scrutiny as never before, as are broken business models. Some changes, particularly remote working practices and shifts in online behavior, may prove permanent.
Back in telecom, we scrutinized bandwidth markets and the outlook for the price erosion/soaring capacity equation. Hawaiki announced a major upgrade on its system, and New Caledonia and New Zealand will also see new subsea cable builds. We looked at the economic impact of OTTs. The U.S. satellite sector variously mused on its continuing C-band spectrum debacle, pondered the future of telco backhaul, and likewise debated bandwidth pricing.
A global, digital win may be emerging. We now need a digital response and digital recovery, said experts, but corporate Asia may be challenged. One telco CEO in the Pacific said he wanted national leadership to leverage the new digital momentum generated in the crisis to move forward. Some said telcos were now critical to the global economy… if they can seize the opportunity and manage tricky digital transformation. We tried to predict outcomes from past experience.
We saw examples of what might be. Climate change, termed “the other global crisis” on that to-do list, could be addressed through a digital green recovery, and digital fintech could financially empower millions, said commentators. The upcoming AI era might trigger changes in workplace norms and blended cyber and physical reality. It was not the only reality on offer. For those returning to the office, another to-do item: authoritative commentators advised better, and yes, more inclusive attitudes in our present, non-blended one.