5 Emerging Technologies Driven by the Coronavirus

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world, governments, businesses and organisations from all sectors looked towards technology as a solution to the many challenges they were facing. Technology provided a way to deliver better care to those affected, as well as helping to ensure that businesses could continue to operate.

Due to the widespread implementation of technological solutions, numerous technology trends have arisen and are anticipated to become commonplace within the industry upon the conclusion of the pandemic. Numerous technological advancements have been made during the COVID-19 crisis, and will remain relevant post the epidemic. In order to provide an overview of the most significant developments, I have chosen to focus on five of them.

1. Artificial Intelligence and Other Technologies in the Medical Field

It is clear that the Coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare, particularly in terms of the accelerated use of technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Prior to the outbreak, the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare facilities had already been showing increasing interest in AI, however, the pandemic has undoubtedly expedited its implementation across the globe. Consequently, it is important to understand how this has been integrated into healthcare systems in order to improve patient care and outcomes.

There are numerous examples from the real world which demonstrate the effectiveness of artificial intelligence systems. For example, a number of AI systems were able to predict the outbreak of the viral pandemic by analysing large amounts of data from different sources, discovering a link that signalled the onset of the virus and its potential for spreading.

Moreover, Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems are being employed to analyse the pathogen and develop a vaccine. Although these algorithms are not yet advanced enough to provide a complete solution, they have been useful in data processing, which may help researchers to identify potential vaccine candidates or other valuable insights.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a dramatic surge in the popularity of telehealth technologies, which allow for remote diagnosis and treatment of patients. This trend shows no signs of abating even as countries begin to ease lockdown restrictions. As people have had to remain at home, they have become increasingly aware of the fact that they can receive medical assessments through their smartphones, and so have been less inclined to visit a clinic.

2. How New Technologies Are Changing the Meaning of Shipping

The retail sector has seen a significant transformation in recent years, with the introduction of delivery applications and business software for management purposes. This has been further emphasised over the past year, with the quarantine leading to a significant increase in online sales and the popularity of app-based delivery services for essential items such as groceries, clothing, and medication. Beyond this, the distribution industry has seen a number of technological advances during the pandemic, further solidifying the importance of technology in the retail sector.

At the outset, we observed the emergence of autonomous and contactless shipping in response to the dramatic increase in online sales. With the need to protect all links in the supply chain, businesses had to find a solution and opted for these new delivery methods. The low level of interaction between drivers and customers meant that contactless delivery quickly gained favour.

Despite the challenging situation posed by the current health crisis, advancements in technology have allowed for the development of autonomous cars and drones for secure package delivery. It is expected that these new modes of delivery will continue to gain popularity even after the effects of the pandemic have subsided, due to the fact that they offer a more hygienic and reliable service. Consequently, both businesses and consumers will be placing a greater emphasis on this area, in order to ensure that goods are delivered in a safe and timely manner.

3. The Widespread Use of Remote-Accessible Tools

As the Coronavirus pandemic threatened public health, governments around the world implemented stay-at-home orders. This posed a major challenge for businesses of all sizes in a variety of industries, as they were forced to close their doors with no indication of when they may be able to reopen. In response to this predicament, many businesses began to embrace the concept of working from home, something which had previously been met with reluctance.

As the pandemic continued, businesses increasingly investigated the possibility of making the transition to a permanent remote working model. This necessitated the incorporation of a variety of tools and technologies, both traditional and modern. Popular new programmes such as Zoom experienced a surge in user numbers, while existing applications such as Slack and the Google Suite also saw a considerable spike in user numbers.

It is without doubt that the end of the pandemic will be followed by a surge of competition amongst corporate software providers seeking to establish themselves as the new standard for telecommuting. The most significant development in the wake of the crisis, however, is the widespread acceptance of remote working practices by many businesses. A number of organisations, from retailers to banks, have already been making use of the remote capabilities available to them, and it is during this time of need that these resources have become increasingly utilised, offering viable alternatives to traditional methods.

4. Virtual Reality

The effects of the stay-at-home orders were certainly felt in the workplace, yet they also provided an opportunity to explore ways to pass the time and keep ourselves occupied. Of course, some of us resorted to more traditional activities such as watching television or having a nap, however, a significant number of people chose to embrace a new trend – the advent of virtual reality – during the pandemic.

In light of the restrictions preventing physical entry, museums were among the earliest organisations to take advantage of virtual opportunities. The British Museum, Guggenheim and Rijksmuseum, among many others, have all launched digital counterparts, providing an entertaining distraction for those stuck at home. This has been extended to other attractions such as zoos, monuments and amusement parks, allowing people to explore these places virtually and familiarise themselves with the experience before taking the plunge and visiting in person. As a result, ‘virtual travel’ has become increasingly popular.

The saga has continued and an array of events, ranging from seminars to concerts, have started to take place online. Consequently, fans of a particular band or artist can now use their smartphones and computers to virtually attend a concert, listen to a presentation by one of their idols or experience an exclusive performance. Fortnite even provided the opportunity for artists such as Travis Scott and Diplo to promote their latest albums directly within the game, thus video gaming also played a significant role.

It is evident that the effects of the current epidemic will continue to be felt long after it has ended. There is a variety of events and activities that offer an array of unique experiences, which people have grown accustomed to, and these will almost certainly become increasingly popular forms of entertainment around the world in the aftermath of the epidemic.

5. The Rise of Monitoring Software

Finally, it is of paramount importance to consider the most contentious new development in technology: the utilisation of pandemic-tracking programmes. A number of countries have been advocating for the adoption of smartphone applications with monitoring capabilities in order to gain a better understanding of the population’s activities and thus halt the further spread of the illness.

In order to effectively track the locations of their citizens and contain any possible outbreak, several governments (such as Russia and China) have requested that their people voluntarily download the relevant programmes. If we wish to emulate the efforts of these nations without the associated authoritarian implications of imposing such an application on the public, then we can certainly learn from the examples of those countries which have encouraged their citizens to do so of their own accord.

The results of the study were varied, with more effective results being seen in countries with authoritarian governments when data from multiple sources, including the utilisation of facial recognition cameras in public areas, was combined with app-based surveillance. If tracking is more successful where citizens’ privacy is less respected, then it would appear that the technology is most beneficial in those areas where it is the most contentious.

In spite of the controversy surrounding it, the use of facial recognition and tracking software for security purposes is likely to remain, due to its potential to help combat crime in disadvantaged areas and to aid in the prevention of terrorism.

The Post-Pandemic World Is Already Being Transformed by Technology

The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic provided a unique opportunity to test a range of new technological solutions. With the unprecedented challenges posed by the virus, we sought the assistance of existing technologies to help us overcome them, ultimately accelerating the development of various niche and exploratory technologies.

It is clear that technologies have been a cornerstone in navigating through the pandemic, and it is only logical to assume that they will continue to be integral in the post-pandemic world. The value that these technologies have provided during this difficult time shows that they are already playing an important role in the development of a new normal. In fact, they are already making an impact in creating a world that will be vastly different to the one we know today, a technologically advanced planet.

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