We’ve just passed the one year anniversary of the World Health Organization officially declaring the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. But despite the difficulties this past year has presented, we have to take a moment to appreciate just how much worse it could have been without the technology now available to many of us.

Starting with the advancements in medical research, particularly surrounding RNA, we’ve seen how innovations have led to development of a COVID vaccine in record time. Technology has kept people better informed about the pandemic, and improved our response to it—from testing to better patient outcomes. It’s made the distribution and scheduling of vaccines faster and easier. Companies, including one of our clients, have developed technologies that can sterilize surfaces, foods, and even entire hospital rooms. Virtual checkups and patient gateways or portals have allowed medical facilities to continue treating patients as safely as possible throughout the pandemic.

Technology has allowed employees to work and meet remotely, supply chains to adjust quickly to constant disruptions, and business and innovation to continue unimpeded. For many, including small businesses and those in the creative fields, technology has allowed them to quickly adapt to a new reality and keep hopes and dreams alive.

On a personal level, family and friends have been able to get together virtually and share moments big and small. This has been especially beneficial to those separated from loved ones, isolated in hospitals or nursing homes. It’s allowed the elderly or those disabled to maintain contact with the outside world and get the essentials they need safely. People have been able to access entertainment of all kinds, and been able to take lessons and new things.

Twenty years ago I was sitting in meetings with some of my clients, discussing the kinds of technology that exist today. Back then it was more talk and less reality. Things have come a long way since then. And frankly, not all of it has been positive. Some of it has been downright troubling and will need to be dealt with. But at this time we find ourselves in, it’s important to get a 360 degree view of how technology affects our lives. And that includes taking a moment to imagine how different this past year would have been without technology.