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Americans Focus on Digital Sustainability Courtesy of Coronavirus

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The coronavirus pandemic has forced the larger American population to shift almost everything to the online domain — elementary schools, colleges, workplaces, shopping, dining, entertainment and even funeral — to reduce exposure to this deadly disease. With the virus wreaking worldwide devastation, claiming countless innocent lives and spooking financial markets, governments and local administration authorities are left with no other option but to enforce absolute lockdown to contain the spread as much as possible.

As people are forced to seek refuge in the safety of their homes, digital sustainability has become the norm of the day. The coronavirus outbreak has redefined the broader definition of sustainability with the very existence of human life at stake and it is no longer confined to the realms of the biosphere. Rather it has invaded the digital domain and left us at the mercy of Mother Nature.  

Amid such testing times, let us skim through various sectors, through which the virus has transgressed our daily lives.

Online Education

With the sudden restrictions, schools and colleges are scrambling to make online education available to the masses. The educational institutions are pulling their resources to offer distance learning to students while teachers are posting online videos to impart knowledge. Telecom service providers are offering free access to innovative learning tools from various e-learning platforms like Chegg, Bookful and Quizlet. The $600-billion higher education industry has also embraced online education to advocate social distancing. Various universities are even crafting customized online programs for special coaching to make up for the lost classes. They are increasingly collaborating with educational technology firms like 2U, Inc. (TWOU - Free Report) to offer graduate and undergraduate degree programs for various streams.

Work From Home

More and more companies are offering the work-from-home option to employees to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Several firms are providing a secure and connected workplace setup through quick onboarding and enablement services to support the seamless continuity of businesses and enable employees to fulfill their professional obligations. With more cities going under lockdowns and the administration asking people to opt for home quarantine, the remotely working trend is likely to be in vogue till the pandemic subsides. This has led to a skyrocketing demand for firms like Dropbox, Inc. (DBX - Free Report) that provides a platform to allow individuals, teams and organizations to collaborate through its website or application or even work offline when they cannot access Wi-fi or Internet by opting for the “available offline” option.

Shopping & Dining

With demand for essential food and healthcare items skyrocketing, grocery stores, pharmacies, food delivery services, security services, e-commerce warehouses and logistics are hiring in response to the coronavirus-sparked demand. Moreover, with the availability of various food delivery apps, the basic paradigm of a restaurant or a food-serving location has been completely redefined and customers have gained access to sumptuous menus with the online ordering and delivery system at their disposal. More and more customers are now ordering food to be delivered right at their doorstep, thereby adhering to the safety guidelines of the government, while treating themselves with mouth-watering delicacies. With the availability of new apps and smartphones, restaurants are collaborating with various food delivery chains to make it easier for customers to place orders. Restaurants, which have difficulties delivering food on their own, are gradually signing up with companies like Grubhub Inc. (GRUB - Free Report) to reach customers and build a new sales channel.

Entertainment

Digital content providers like Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ - Free Report) are offering customers a bouquet of additional premium TV benefits at no additional costs, as part of the “More at Home...on Us” program. It is providing free access to exclusive content from a myriad of informative channels like BBC America, Fox News and CNN, in addition to 30-day free access of premium entertainment options ranging from Epix to SHOWTIME starting April. AT&T Inc. (T - Free Report) is also offering additional TV shows and video content for free as more and more people are spending their time in the confinement of their houses. The company is further focusing on streaming services like AT&T TV and the soon-to-be-launched HBO Max.

Funeral Services

With countless innocent victims falling prey to the coronavirus, governments are increasingly advocating safety measures for funerals to minimize the risk of exposure. This, in turn, has reshaped many aspects of one of the saddest moments in life, from the modalities of handling infected dead bodies to meeting the spiritual and emotional needs of those left behind. Funerals are largely associated with people gathering together to pay homage to the deceased, while consoling each other with hugs and kisses. However, the threat of the coronavirus infection has now pushed these traditions to the backbench, with various states even banning funerals and memorial services until the end of the month. This is likely to be extended for an indefinite period. The entire logistics for funeral planning is now being completed over phone or video chats due to state lockdowns. This is why firms like Carriage Services, Inc. (CSV - Free Report) are gaining precedence with their profound experience and expertise in this field.

Endnote

The world is on a war footing to develop an antidote for this deadly disease. Until the vaccine is discovered, home isolation appears to be the sole weapon to buy time against this virus. Consequently, humans are solely depending on the digital platform to stay connected and perform their daily chores. In the meantime, let us all unite against this invisible enemy and help President Trump proclaim again, “It’s been going a while time, but we win. We win.”  

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