Companies are just beginning

to recognize the incredible impact a bird flu pandemic and the resulting panic would have on world

business activity.

Fortunately, increasing

reliance on teleconferencing and telecommuting would greatly reduce the impact

on those businesses which are prepared to take full advantage of their IT departments.

I don’t want to scare anyone

unnecessarily but the fact is that H5N1 is LIKELY to become the next big

pandemic and organizations such as theInternational

Monetary Fund are now warning businesses that they should be prepared for

short term economic disaster.

 The World Health Organization is now

predicting that human deaths from bird flu (if it migrates to people)

cound be in the millions worldwide which will trigger a real panic.

What IT can do is prepare to

support more telecommuting, put remote support procedures into effect, and

encourage upper management to pay attention to the danger if a pandemic hits

and 50 percent or more of the workforce are absent.

Remember that Governments and airlines

already have quarantine plans in place to stop all movement and, if an airplane

lands in most countries with someone who has the flu onboard, all passengers

will be kept isolated for 7-10 days.

That means that your

executives and sales staff may be isolated even if they aren’t sick and


needs to prepare them to operate entirely electronically from any

isolation location.

That means, among other things, that they will need VoIP from laptops,

perhaps satellite phones, as well as simple things such as carrying the

power supply for a laptop even on short

trips when they would normally just rely on the battery.

Although the TV networks are

just now beginning to discover the danger, I have been covering it for more

than a year and you can always turn to my free research page for current

information on this and other topics.

 BTW, I am recommending to my

clients that they lay in a supply of N95-category dust/flu masks for their

workers. Using those and frequent hand washing will greatly reduce the chance

of catching or spreading bird flu or any flu.

The biggest danger may be from public panic which

could disrupt business activities even if bird flu turns out to be

mostly a false alarm.