Reflections on the Pandemic


Chris Fludger, Infinera, Germany; Roland Ryf, Nokia Bell Labs, USA; Dimitra Simeonidou, Bristol University, UK


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an enormous loss of life and livelihood, disruption to work, education and leisure. Physical separation and restrictions on travel have resulted in a stronger than ever dependency on digital devices and connectivity to provide schooling, healthcare, remote-working and entertainment. We experienced virtual conferences, rapid-growth in e-commerce, video-conferences, virtual sports and cultural events. School children were encouraged to spend more time in front of their monitors and tablets. Some changes can be celebrated as a success of our technology and infrastructure, in other aspects we are seeing long term consequences and challenges in our society and economy.

Although the impact has been experienced differently across the world,  it has commonly highlighted the need for resiliency and digital inclusion, giving persistent internet access across the global population.

This special session looks back on the way the pandemic has changed the demands on our networks, creating different traffic demands, challenges and opportunities.  

We will also be looking forward, towards a post-pandemic world. What changes are here to stay? Should communications networks plan for future lock-downs? What innovations and technology drivers are being proposed?  How do we bridge the digital divide?

Experts from across regions including industry, academia, operators, engineers and futurists will discuss the global impact of COVID-19, and network infrastructure actions for a post-pandemic world.