Trends in Technology
The coronavirus pandemic is a serious all-hands-on-deck situation that has swept all over the world. With over 7 million confirmed cases worldwide as of June 2020 and almost 2 million cases in the United States alone, the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled economies and global health infrastructure.
The pandemic poses new challenges every day for everyone, from epidemiologists and healthcare professionals to policymakers and your average businessman. It is forcing everyone to find new ways to work together and come up with creative solutions to flatten the curve and restore the global economy.
It is only natural that the crisis has encouraged major tech companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook to step up and harness their unique abilities to swiftly solve problems and scale solutions.
The commitment to apply innovative technological solutions during the pandemic can not only help save lives but also restore the economy rapidly.
The tech giants and start-ups are already looking into applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and developing online solutions that can not only improve the healthcare system but allow people to live better lives during the pandemic. The internet has become a critical factor in helping people cope with the effects of the pandemic and resulting lockdown.
Let’s look at the key technological trends that are reshaping society and changing the way we work, learn, entertain, and interact during the pandemic:
Online Shopping and Contact-less Deliveries:
Online marketplace platforms have experienced a major boost in growth and the number of consumers since the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown. Online shopping has turned into a must-have necessity from a nice-to-have convenient luxury. The surge in the number of people choosing to order online has left companies scrambling to upgrade their websites and offer innovative e-commerce solutions to their clients. The need for IT solutions and infrastructure has seen exponential growth, unlike any other in history in a matter of months!
Digital and Contactless Payments:
Paper money contains more germs and viral bacteria than your average toilet. The World Health Organization is encouraging people to shift to contactless payments to keep the virus from spreading further. Digital payments ensure safety from cash that might be contaminated and offer faster and convenient transfer of funds.
As a result, the demand for digital payment methods has increased with people preferring to pay via credit and debit cards, e-wallets, PayPal, Amazon Pay, Apply, Pay, and Google Pay, to name a few. However, major e-commerce companies have had to upgrade their IT security solutions to ensure the safety of their clients’ sensitive information.
Remote patient monitoring is the latest technological upgrade that is helping healthcare providers speed up testing people for infections and made it easier to trace and isolate potential carriers. Biometric data and behavioral patterns are being analyzed to detect positive COVID-19 cases and ensuring social distancing.
Telehealth has also seen a surge of popularity as healthcare providers are offering online diagnoses and consultations. This allows patients to get necessary medical help without having to risk being infected by going to hospitals and clinics. Tech companies are coming up with solutions for respiratory monitoring, wearable sensors, digital stethoscopes, and remote monitoring to allow patients to engage with their doctors and receive initial medical attention.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes that have occurred because of the coronavirus pandemic is the trend of remote working. Previously, the work from home option was a luxury afforded to a few, with many organizations citing logistical issues to deny their employees the opportunity. However, with the social distancing protocols in place, companies have deployed the latest technological solutions to enable their employees to work remotely. Technologies such as voice over internet protocols (VoIPs), virtual private networks (VPNs), cloud solutions, virtual meeting apps, and various work collaboration tools are in high demand among all types of businesses.
The coronavirus pandemic has severely disrupted the global education systems. An estimated 70% of the world’s student population has been affected by the pandemic as countries have implemented closure of educational institutions. Many educational institutions have started looking onto technologies that can enable distant learning to allow students to continue their education from their homes. Apps such as Zoom and Google Classroom have made it easier for students to overcome quarantine measures and stay connected with their teachers during the mandatory stay-at-home orders.
While in-person interactions have significantly decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the human need to party and entertain each other has not been stifled. Online streaming and cloud raves have gained traction all over the world. The use of apps such as TikTok and Facebook has increased drastically as people are uploading content online and sharing their lives through various social platforms.
Many companies have taken advantage of the situation by investing heavily in online marketing to promote their products and services to the increasing number of social media users. Museums are offering virtual tours, and movies are being released on Netflix and other online streaming websites.
Supply Chain Upgrades:
The global supply chain has been disrupted since the COVID-19 pandemic. Many factories have been forced to shut down since the quarantine and social distancing SOPs have been put in place. The demand for personal protective equipment and food has soared. However, many countries have implemented export banns on those products at different levels.
As a result, tech companies are looking into the Internet-of-Things, cloud computing, Blockchain, and Big Data to create a more resilient supply chain system that won’t be vulnerable to future pandemics. Companies are also investing in upgrading their cloud storage to ensure their IT systems can be managed as efficiently as possible. They are also looking into innovative cloud solutions that will enhance data accuracy and data sharing. The demand for the latest cloud backup and disaster recovery solutions has also gone up as businesses are looking for efficient data storage and protection of sensitive data.
While technological advancement is increasing at an unprecedented rate during the pandemic, one thing is for certain; the way we do business, interact with other people, and conduct our daily tasks has changed forever. Even after the pandemic has been dealt with, people will come out of the crisis more reliant on technology than ever before!