By Sonia Chopra
Technology is ever-changing. Digital communication technologies connecting people across the globe has become easier and faster. Platforms such as Zoom, Room, Google hangouts, Microsoft teams, WebEx, and many others are buzzing virtual world spaces to connect and share. Social media platforms such as Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, FaceTime, and all other high-end applications on smartphones have also showed us how technology has changed the world.
With technological advancements, internet connectivity and bandwidth have also improved. From a time when people faced problems in sending and receiving messages via mobile phones due to internet speed, even internet technology has come of age. Even people in rural areas are now connected with the world through smartphones. When the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown halted work and life, technology came across as a big relief as people were in a position to do many things virtually. Official and business meetings were held using various online platforms, education happened online, and so did other utility services.
Adverse situations that reshape the world and cause turning points that bring about many vital new lessons. The social sector welcomed and adopted virtual and remote working models to an extent. As the lockdown relaxed, face-to-face conversations and on-ground activities resumed on a smaller scale.
As the pandemic accelerated, India witnessed one of the highest adoptions of digital technologies and solutions by health and human services (HHS) organizations among the countries surveyed, according to a new survey from EY and Imperial College London’s Institute for Global Health Innovation. Fifty-one percent of respondents in India had increased their use of digital technologies and data solutions since the outbreak of the pandemic. (Mint Newspaper, March 18, 2021)
Virtual platforms for facilitating webinars, conferences, trainings, and workshops are likely here to stay. Information technology solutions help send bulk invites of webinars and ensure the emails reach the right people at the right time. Robust contacts/customer database software has replaced the use of spreadsheets to maintain data. Organizations are switching to customer relationship management software for efficient record management and to nurture relationships with the customers/stakeholders. Some popular software include ZOHO CRM, Vtiger CRM, HubspotCRM, and many more.
S M Sehgal Foundation has been using Zoho CRM for four years. In the pandemic, the software helped to send mass emails to database contacts. Its built-in email templates are convenient for sending our event schedules. An important outcome is that CRM technology provides the analytics that help to constantly refine email communication with organization contacts. CRM software provides a complete picture of how email communications fair and also integrates social media platforms, which can be linked to CRM to generate leads for the organization.
A world without information technology is hard to imagine today. New media has become a go-to place to express oneself and build a brand around an individual, organization, or a cause. The digital era has simplified life in every aspect—from keeping people connected, to storing data, making information available, and enhancing security of data to end-end encryption. Technology has made this all possible, and its value and reach expand with each passing day.
(Sonia Chopra is program lead-Outreach for Development at S M Sehgal Foundation)
The Digital India Program was conceptualized on nine pillars and, in the rural context, the key areas include e-governance and e-Kranti etc. Read more
Education is one of the key contributors in social development and keeping pace with technological advancements can go a long way in bridging the urban-rural divide. Rural education has placed emphasis on enrolments, reducing dropout rates in school, and adequacy of physical infrastructure and tends to ignore the other soft aspects of digital awareness and skill development.
Digital communication technologies refer to communication that makes use of technology such as email, phone, video conferencing, chats and messaging, and others.