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Enormous Value From the Network

Marconi Society Coronavirus and Our Connected World

By Tom Leighton

Tom Leighton is a pioneer in creating the content delivery network services industry which now delivers trillions of content requests over the Internet each day. He is the co-founder and CEO of Akamai Networks and the recipient of the Marconi Prize, the IEEE Computer Society Charles Babbage Award and is a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

As businesses and consumers around the world adjust their routines amid the various COVID-19 restrictions, the Internet is being used at a scale that the world has never experienced. In addition to millions of people who are now working from home, students all over the world are going online to continue their studies, governments are increasingly leveraging the Internet to communicate with their citizens, vast amounts of commerce have moved online, houses of worship are streaming their services to keep their communities connected, and entertainers are engaging with their audiences online to provide an escape from the isolation many people and families are starting to feel.

It remains to be seen what will happen once we emerge from the pandemic, but it may be that our lifestyle is permanently changed to be much more online than ever before. The shift is already placing enormous traffic burdens on the Internet, and communication technologies will once again need to play a leading role in enabling our future.