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2020: The Year of the Internet

2020

2020 is an unprecedented year to say the least, from the near World War III nearly started to the year that saw that earth’s lung, the Amazon experience a horrific wildfire. Nothing however could be compared to the introduction of the Corona Virus also known as COVID-19. This saw a complete worldwide paradigm shift and along with it, the death and devastation to many. People became more dependent on the Internet to access many of their daily activities. The 2020 year plunged persons into utilizing the Internet to carry out tasks such as banking features, education and to a great extent, for major entertainment events.

The education system was forced to take the classroom into the online space as a means of reducing the spread of the virus. The education system was forced to utilize platforms such as: Google Classroom, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Blackboard Collaborate. Even though some schools have started to reopen, Jamaican parents are slow in returning their children to the physical classrooms, many of which has been retrofitted to COVID-19 standards.  Schools such as the University of the West Indies will primarily be online (or distance learning) for the remainder of the school year. This dependency on the Internet has caused telecommunication providers to up their system in an attempt to cater to the intense need of the population. Also, many persons have seen the need to introduce the Internet into their homes and offices and also purchase smart devices to move along with the paradigm shift.

The financial sector as also shifted as there has been a reduction in the number of documents needed to open an account. Many banks such as Sagicor and the National Commercial Bank have limited the documents needed for a National ID, TRN and the minimum financial equipment. Banks such as Scotia Bank have also gone digital and many physical locations will turn digital locations in 2021. One such bank is Falmouth Trelawny. Customers are now required to conduct majority of their transactions either online or using the Automated Banking Machines (ABM). This digital switch is as a result of the pandemic and now more than ever citizens are forced to become familiar with the technology and the Internet.

The entertainment sector is also not excluded from this shift as we have seen where the ‘dancehall’ has gone virtual. Parties have now been moved to Instagram and Zoom and this has become the mode of operation for persons within the entertainment industry. Large events such as Reggae Sumfest and even Reggae Sunsplash were forced to move into the digital arena. In 2021 the return of the Jazz and Blues Festival (formerly known as Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival) will also be seen online as large events are no longer safe.

Everyone can honestly agree 2020 has been “the year of the Internet” but it is seen that 2020 has allowed many to become more dependent on the Internet and therefore allowing people to see and appreciate its importance. The Internet in 2020 established a significant place in the world, as many persons and sectors are now dependent on the Internet for survival and to carry out daily activities. 

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