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Communication in the time of corona

Minna Lappalainen, Director, Brand Management, Marketing and Communications at CSC & EOSC-Nordic WP6 leader

The corona pandemic is forcing us to stop many activities as society has slowed down. The world has changed totally in a short time, and people not only need to try to prevent the spread of the virus but also have to adapt to new customs to work and live.

How can we help the society? 

Due to the exceptional situation, teleworking is the only option for many organizations in research and education. As the needs for services supporting remote work is growing, NORDUnet and the Nordic NRENs are monitoring services to help their customers during this tough time. For example, the capacity of the video conferencing service Zoom has been already significantly increased, so we have plenty of it in the Nordics and still room to grow. 

We are used to travel and meet personally. Now when coronavirus prevents people from gathering together, many events and conferences have been canceled or postponed due to social distancing recommendations. Despite these cancellations, we have to remain open-minded towards new and innovative ideas to create events in online environments. 

Combining physical and digital content wherever possible, events can be creatively rearranged to bring people together during these challenging times. Zoom’s webinar function is ideal for large events with up to 500 participants. An event can be replaced by a webinar or a live video, and its addition as a part of an official program offers a possibility to meet and hang out in digital meeting lounges for natural networking.

As people are spending more time at home and working remotely, we are going to see growth in time spent on the internet. We can develop added value and bring hope through relevant communication in this situation. Research is at the heart of our changing society. The research community is working together to find ways to fight against and prevent these crises. We need research infrastructures and open data, databases, information which is interoperable and machine-readable, supercomputers and scientific computing, and data networks to enable cross-border research cooperation.

As communicators, our role is to bring forward encouraging stories about this all, and in this way increase the interest and awareness of the research community’s work and its impact on the society. As an example, see how Tommi Nyrönen from CSC explains the role of an IT center that provides computing and data in the fight against coronavirus in this video “Against SARS-CoV-2 with data & compute“.  CSC is also providing a fast track to computing resources and expert advice for researchers such as in this Aalto University research project.

We all are still connected

The results from the 2020 World Happiness Report were just published a few days ago. Despite the Nordic countries rounding out four of the five happiest places to live – you might question this right now, who can be happy during a global pandemic? The things that we just a moment ago thought were important and worth pursuing, seem secondary. 

This situation, however, offers also the possibility to have a revolution in our way of working and living. We can enjoy the benefits of staying home when regular communication, particularly the use of video conferencing, can ensure that knowledge is transferred, tasks are coordinated while reducing social and professional isolation.

In this situation, we also have to remember our Nordic approach to appreciate the simple things that bring hygge in our life. We can find comfort that we are in this together: Having the confidence that people trust each other and take care of each other; having confidence in transparency and the information provided us is true in this exceptional situation.