COVID-19 caught the world by surprise. Initially thought of as benign, it turned out to be fatal and caused nations to go into recession. The coronavirus forced people to innovate and turn toward technology to address several woes brought on by widespread lockdowns. Most have adapted aided by technology, which we expect to live on post-COVID-19.
Technology Use amid the Pandemic
Today, many healthcare institutions rely on robots to provide care for people infected with COVID-19. Innovations like autonomous robot cleaners are also utilized to disinfect highly infectious areas.
Several businesses also resorted to using artificial intelligence (AI) to continually provide their consumers goods and services despite operating on skeletal workforces. For one, Amazon Go Grocery is a connected supermarket that uses deep learning, computer vision, and sensor fusion to limit face-to-face transactions during grocery runs.
While these innovations all stemmed from curtailing the spread of COVID-19, we may see them in use in a post-coronavirus future.
What Will the Post-Coronavirus Future Look Like?
We compiled five predictions for a post-COVID-19 world below.
More Robust Digital Infrastructure
COVID-19 led to the physical closure of almost all businesses and schools worldwide. Employees were forced to start working from home but couldn’t do so without communicating with colleagues. That’s why most organizations had to resort to digital solutions to stay connected. After battling several hurdles, many are now realizing that they can continue to operate remotely—something that we may see even in a post-coronavirus future.
For that to be possible, though, telecommunication service providers need to strengthen their digital networks. Cloud capacities need upgrades as well to serve the needs of more users.
Increased Used of Telehealth Consultations
Telemedicine is not a new concept. The technology emerged in the 1950s, mostly in rural areas where access to medical care proved challenging. While it offers convenience, it did not become mainstream as most doctors and patients still preferred face-to-face consultations.
Now, we’re seeing a whole new different story unfold. In-person care is currently limited to those who require it in a global attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Telemedicine allows doctors and patients to communicate without leaving their premises effectively. And because of the convenience it provides, we may also see more people flock toward the technology in a post-coronavirus future.
Centralized Food Distribution
We know that AI is already widely used in the food industry. Suppliers rely on Internet of Things (IoT) sensors for supply chain management. Manufacturers, meanwhile, use robots for food packaging. These technologies have streamlined food distribution, as we’ve seen during the pandemic. Because of their proven benefits, many may continue to rely on AI and IoT long after the lockdowns are lifted.
It may not even be surprising to see a post-coronavirus future where people have goods delivered or pick them up after ordering from automated systems. Who knows? Maybe today’s shopping malls will become large food hubs instead.
Safety over Privacy
Before the pandemic, many people frowned upon being tracked by technological applications due to privacy concerns. Now, people are slowly embracing the concept as they prioritize safety over privacy. In fact, many countries, including Germany, Australia, South Korea, China, Italy, and India, are using COVID-19 apps for contact tracing, which would have been considered intrusive in the past.
Here’s how contact tracing works:
In a post-coronavirus future, tracking apps could become a necessity. They may evolve into apps that people can use to automate goods and service procurement. Or monitor large gatherings that may pose security issues.
Brick-and-mortar stores have long been on the brink of death, and it seems that the coronavirus gave them one final blow. More and more people are now relying on online stores for their needs. Aside from the convenience that e-commerce offers, people feel safer from COVID-19 if they have their groceries and other necessities delivered to their doorsteps instead of going out.
In a post-coronavirus future, shopping malls and groceries may become a thing of the past, and online stores will become the new normal.
In a post-coronavirus future, technology is bound to become the main driver of the economy. Expect more people to work from home, schools to offer online classes, more and more online shops, and businesses to rely on big data and ML to cope with the changing times.