Technology Trends prevailing during Covid-19 pandemic showed the importance of and the challenges associated with techs like digital payments, telehealth, and robotics.
Explore the latest research, strategic trends, and analysis
- The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated ten key technology trends, including telehealth, digital payments, robotics.
- These technologies might help reduce the spread of the coronavirus when they assist businesses to stay open.
- Technology can help make society resilient in the face of the pandemic.
- During this pandemic, technologies have been playing a crucial role in keeping our society functional in a time of lockdowns and quarantines.
- Technologies might have a long-lasting impact beyond COVID-19.
- Google and Apple are working together on technology for coronavirus contact tracing.
The Importance of Digital Readiness
COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of digitalization and readiness, which allows business and life to continuing as usual during pandemics. Necessary infrastructure has to build and support a digitized world and stay up to date with the latest technology. It must be essential for any country or business to remain competitive after COVID-19 world and take a human-centered and human-inclusive approach towards technology.
An estimated 200 million people will lose jobs due to COVID-19. The financial burden falls on the most vulnerable in society. Pandemics and Digitization have accelerated changes to posts that are available to humans. How to decrease and work on the impact on the larger workforce and the most susceptible is the issue across industries and many countries that deserves not only attention but also a timely and human-centered solution.
Here are technology trends that can help build a resilient society, as well as consider their effects on how all do business, how everybody trades, how each person works, how the world produces goods, how people learn, how we seek medical services, and how we entertain ourselves.
Robot Deliveries and Online Shopping
During 2002 SARS outbreak led to the tremendous growth of B2B and B2C online platforms in China. COVID-19 has transformed online shopping as a must-have around the world. Many bars in Beijing have continued to offer happy hours for online delivery. Online shopping requires to be supported by the logistics system. In-person delivery is not virus-proof. Chinese e-commerce giants are ramping up their development of robot deliveries. Before delivery services become prevalent, delivery companies must establish clear protocols to enhance the sanitary condition of delivered goods.
Cash may carry the virus. Therefore,central banks in China, the US, and South Korea have implemented measures to ensure banknotes are clean before they are circulated. Contactless digital payments through e-wallets and cards are the payment method to prevent the spread of the virus. Digital payments enable people to make online payments of goods, services, purchases, utility payments, receive a stimulus, and funds faster.
Companies have been telling their employees to work from home. Remote working is enabled by technologies, like virtual private networks (VPNs), voice over internet protocols (VoIP), virtual meetings, cloud technology, work collaboration tools. Even facial recognition technologies enable a person to appear before a virtual background to preserve the home’s privacy. It helps prevent the spread of viruses; remote work also saves commute time and provides more flexibility. Remote work imposes challenges to employers and employees.
Information privacy, security, and timely tech support can be significant issues, as revealed by recent class actions filed against Zoom. Remote work can also complicate labor law issues, such as those associated with providing a safe work environment and income tax issues. Employees may experience loneliness and a lack of work-life balance. If remote work becomes common after the COVID-19 pandemic, employers might decide to lessen the lease costs and hire them from regions with lesser charges. Laws and regulations should be updated to accommodate remote work – and psychological studies need to be conducted to understand remote work on people. Employees rank collaboration and communication, loneliness, and inability to unplug their top struggles when working from home.
Learning from Home
One hundred ninety-one countries announced and implemented, school and university closures, which has impacted 1.58 billion students. Educational institutions have started offering courses online to ensure quarantine measures did not disrupt education. Technologies in distant learning are similar to those for remote work and include virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence-enabled robot teachers. It has concerns about distance learning include the possibility the technologies could create a broader divide in terms of income level and digital readiness. Distance learning can create economic pressure on parents who need to stay home to watch children and may face decreased productivity at work.
Telehealth has been an effective way to contain the spread of COVID-19. It provides essential primary care. Wearable personal IoT devices help track vital signs. Chatbots make initial diagnoses based on symptoms identified by patients.
Quarantine measures have reduced in-person interactions significantly. Human creativity is bringing the party online. Online streaming and Cloud raves and of many concerts and programs, dramas, the musical orchestra have gained around the world. Chinese film production companies have released films online. Museums and international heritage sites are offering virtual tours. A surge has been seen in online gaming traffic since the outbreak.
The corona pandemic has created disruptions to the supply chain globally. Some factories are entirely shut down with distancing and quarantine orders. Demand for food and personal protective equipment has soared. Many countries have implemented levels of export bans on some items. Heavy reliance on paper-based records, lack of diversity and flexibility, and a lack of visibility on data have made existing supply chain systems vulnerable to any pandemic.
3D printing technology has been used to decrease shocks to the supply chain and export bans on PPE. 3D printing is offering flexibility in production. The printer can produce different products based on different design files and materials, and simple parts can be made on-site quickly. It is done without requiring a lengthy procurement process and a long wait for arrivals.
Still, massive production faces a few obstacles. Patents protect intellectual property issues involved in producing parts. The creation of goods, like surgical masks, needs regulatory approvals, which can take a long time to obtain. Unsolved problems include how design files must be protected under patent regimes, impact on trade volumes, the place of origin, and product liability associated with 3D printed products.
Robotics and Drones
Corona makes the world realize how heavily we rely on human interactions to make things work. Labor-intensive businesses, such as retail, food, manufacturing, and logistics, are the worst hit. COVID-19 provided a strong push to roll out the usage of robots and research. Robots are used to disinfect areas and to deliver food to quarantine. Drones have walked dogs and produced items.
While some reports predict many manufacturing jobs will be replaced by robots in the future, at the same time, new posts will be created. Policies should be in place to provide sufficient training and social welfare to the labor force to embrace the change.
5G and Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
All the technology, as mentioned above, trends rely on high-speed, stable, and affordable internet. 5G has been demonstrating its importance in remote monitoring and healthcare consultation. 5G is delayed in Europe when technology is needed the most. 5G will increase the cost of data plans and compatible devices. Addressing the issues to ensure inclusive access to the internet would continue to be a challenge until the 5G network grows globally.