Editorial: The Joys of Lockdown


Editorial: The Joys of Lockdown

The Joys of Lockdown

Tim Cole: Editor Smart Industry 2018

Tim Cole is the editor of Smart Industry – the IoT Business Magazine. His latest book,
“Wild Wild West – What the History of the American Wild West Teaches Us About the Future of the Digital Society” has just
been published in German by Vahlen/Beck.

This edition of Smart Industry has been produced under unusual circumstances. But then again, not. As freelance journalists, most of our contributors are used to working from home, on the road, or from the nearest Starbuck’s café. They live in places like Silicon Valley, Upstate New York, Berlin, London, New Zealand, or like me high up in the Austrian Alps. IoT is a hot-button topic everywhere and having experts based all over the world makes it easier to follow what’s happening and to talk with the people at the cutting edge of technology.

Lockdown, in other words, is our way of life. Others struggle with social isolation and need time to get used to communicating via Zoom, Teams, or Webex. We have been using these and other tools for years, and we can tell you from experience: they do their job very well.

And let’s not forget good old e-mail! I fire off maybe a hundred such electronic missives a day, and our contributors are used to responding quickly, sometimes within a minute or two, others as soon as they wake up and check their inboxes in a completely different time zone.

The digital worker is free of the constraints of time and geography, and that is a huge step to-ward taking control of one’s working environment – and one’s life. I shudder to think of ever having to go back to a cubicle in some soulless office building an hour’s drive away. When I look out the window I see snowcapped mountains and lush green forests, the air is cleaner than in Munich, where I lived for a quarter of a century, and the quiet must be heard (or rather, not heard) to be believed.

Not everyone gets to live in paradise but the lockdown experience has shown many of us that we can take control of how, when, and where we work, thanks to digital technology.

It also gives us new ways to reach out. At Smart Industry, for instance, we have used the period of enforced deceleration to explore new formats and methods of connecting to our audience. In May, we launched a series of podcasts, called We Talk IoT. Once a month, I spend time talking with our contributing authors about how IoT is transforming the world and I connect with experts from various fields such as cognitive computing, autonomous driving, industrial simulation, or predictive analysis. I do it all without leaving my home office, thanks to a handy little online service called Zencastr and a little help from our friends at NetProducer, a digital production company with team members based as far apart as Salzburg in Austria and Cologne in Germany. You can listen to the Smart Industry podcast wherever you get your podcasts, for instance at Spotify, Apple Music, or Sound-Cloud. Just go to www.smart-industry.net/podcast to find out more. In addition, we have created a newsletter, Smart Industry Insights, that you can receive for free by signing up at www.smart-industry.net/subscription.

Did you also know you can read this edition of Smart Industry digitally on your computer, tablet, or smartphone? We provide readers with a special epaper edition that allows you to flip though the pages of our magazine just as you would with the paper version.
Every crisis is a challenge – and an opportunity! As we emerge from lockdown, things won’t be the same. But, as many of us are discovering for the first time – or are made aware of once again – the myriad rewarding possibilities that living in the digital age offers us just might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship – and a whole new way of life.


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