What a difference a year makes!
Last spring, we were deep into sheltering in place as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded. None of us knew exactly what to expect or how long the restrictions would last. We were scrambling to figure out what the “new normal” would look like. The hope of a vaccine was in the distant future, as the historic average time to develop a vaccine was well over ten years. We struggled as our leaders made a political debacle of the scientific community (I’m being generous with this statement!).
Welcome to 2021, and with the turn of the year, several very effective vaccines. As recently as last fall, it was unclear when we might have a vaccine. Now more than 25% of the U.S. population has been vaccinated, including yours truly! Two doses of the Pfizer vaccine have me ready to get back on the road. It is amazing how your outlook changes once you have been vaccinated! Virtually overnight, I started to gain a more positive outlook and recaptured my desire to get out and engage with humans again! Sorry, Zoom!
We still have a long way to go, but at the current pace, we should be in a great place by this summer. I encourage anyone who has not been vaccinated to get one. Fighting this pandemic is a team effort and everyone needs to step up.
It is still unclear what long-term impact the pandemic will have on business. There are more signs that people are returning to their offices. However, business travel is still very limited and forecasted to be restricted well into 2021, if not for the entire year. We are still contemplating holding in-person standards meetings in 2021, maybe by September. It does seem clear that we will not hold as many in-person meetings each year, perhaps two at the most in the years going forward.
I recently announced that Dean Holman, formerly of Mercury Systems, has joined the VITA staff as assistant executive director. Dean and I have been working to bring him up to speed on the daily operation of VITA. We are also looking at several improvements to provide an even better experience for VITA members and others interested in VITA technologies. I am excited to have someone of Dean’s caliber on the VITA staff.
Our industry lost a legendary figure recently: Warren Andrews passed this winter. Warren combined his engineering, marketing, and journalistic skills to identify and analyze leading-edge technologies and trends. His participation in the embedded computing industry in all of his roles inspired many to greater heights. His many articles and market analyses provided insight into this emerging part of the computer industry. He was a close friend and mentor who had a profound influence on me and the choices I made in my career. He will be missed.
After a lot of urging and moral support, we decided to hold a virtual Embedded Tech Trends event in January. Skills learned in countless Zoom meetings throughout 2020 were put to good use! More details on the event can be found in the review article “Embedded Tech Trends 2021 Wrap-up,” found on page 12.
This year – 2021 – marks the 40th anniversary of the introduction of VMEbus. The wheels are spinning for ideas on possible ways to celebrate this great milestone. I am gathering ideas and materials to post on the VITA website and to run in the fall 2021 issue of VITA Technologies. If you have suggestions, please reach out to me.
Stay healthy, stay safe.