The effects of COVID-19 on the global population have been far-reaching. The pandemic has had an impact on all facets of life, from professional to educational to personal. Whilst much of the impact has been negative (for example, the need for social distancing and wearing face masks), there may be some positive outcomes.
As the world continues to navigate the current pandemic, the technology sector has been particularly successful in introducing new ideas and solutions. It is important to consider which of these innovations will remain beneficial even after the pandemic subsides. Here are some points to consider.
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Telehealth solutions such as Doxy.me, WebEx for Healthcare, and many more have been a great asset during the pandemic, enabling healthcare practitioners and patients to communicate safely. However, it is important to note that the use of telehealth was growing even before COVID-19. The American Medical Association (AMA) conducted research into national insurance claims and found that between 2023 and 2023, there was a 53% increase in the use of telehealth.
Patients and doctors can both benefit from the use of telehealth, as many medical issues can be addressed without the need for an in-person appointment. Furthermore, telehealth offers flexibility which can be advantageous to those in rural areas who may not have access to traditional healthcare services.
The pandemic has highlighted the potential for telemedicine to be an effective alternative to traditional in-person medical care in many cases, and in some scenarios it may even be preferable.
Synthetic Intelligence (AI)
The conclusion is clear; AI has become an integral part of our daily lives, and with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has taken on even greater significance.
Companies are increasingly leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to address staffing issues caused by excessive workloads and stress. For example, automated chatbots can be used to handle basic customer service queries without the need for human intervention.
AI has the potential to greatly improve and speed up business processes, making it an attractive option to companies. Unlike humans, AI is not subject to making mistakes and is immune to illnesses such as COVID-19. It also doesn’t require paid holidays or days off work, making it a cost-effective choice. It is expected to be increasingly adopted in the coming years.
Wearable technology, such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit, has become increasingly commonplace in recent years. However, there is a wider range of devices that can provide useful and convenient ways to track and monitor data related to your personal health and wellbeing.
Smart jewellery such as the Oura ring can be used to monitor sleep, heart rate and activity levels. Implantables, such as tablets, may provide even more detailed information by measuring blood pressure from within the body.
The popularity of wearables has been on the rise even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some governments utilizing contact-tracing applications to monitor the virus’ spread. Whilst there are certainly considerations to be made around privacy, it is possible that wearable technology may be used to keep track of individuals who have come into contact with the virus in the future.
With the current restrictions on movement, it is likely that you are not able to leave your home as often as you used to. Fortunately, modern technology has made it easier to access goods and services with the convenience of online shopping. You can find a wide range of products such as clothing, furniture, toiletries, and even food that can be delivered directly to your door.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, the global e-commerce market has experienced an exponential rise. In Brazil, e-commerce saw an increase of 66% in the same year. This phenomenon is not exclusive to Brazil, however, as the growth of online commerce has been significant on a worldwide scale and is showing no signs of slowing down. Now that customers have recognised the convenience and additional security that this approach provides in comparison to physical stores, it is likely that this industry will remain on an upward trajectory even after the pandemic has passed.
At-Home Media Players and Streaming Programs
Due to the ongoing pandemic, live performances have been put on hold. This is the longest period of time in the history of Broadway where no productions have taken place. Many cinemas are still not showing movies and concerts are primarily taking place in virtual communities.
The recent surge in popularity of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, Hulu, YouTube and others presents a unique opportunity for home viewers. With the rise of electronic devices such as TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones, individuals are increasingly turning to these services to meet their TV and movie viewing needs, and this trend is likely to continue in the near future.
The IoT (IoT)
The Internet of Things is no longer a novel concept. Its increasing prevalence has been the catalyst for the development of internet-connected “smart” houses, “smart” cities, and other related advancements. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated this process, making the Internet of Things increasingly ubiquitous.
The likelihood of an outbreak occurring is reduced due to smart factories and other automated production methods. Remote operation of equipment by personnel using their own electronic devices is possible.
The Internet of Things is enabling the monitoring of vulnerable groups, without the requirement for direct human contact. An example of this is BeClose, which utilises sensors to track elderly people who are living alone and sends notifications to carers in the event of potential problems.
A New Dimension: Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality (AR) has far-reaching implications that go beyond the entertainment and tourism industries. This technology enables users to have virtual experiences of real-world environments without having to physically visit those locations.
As we emerge from the pandemic, organizations of all sizes and types will need to consider whether to bring their staff back to the workplace or continue with remote working. Augmented Reality will be pivotal in educating employees on how to manage varied scenarios and tasks.
It is evident that these technologies have already experienced notable growth in the wake of the pandemic, with remote-working tools such as Zoom becoming commonplace for conducting business from a distance. Furthermore, it is likely that telehealth, wearable technology, augmented reality, and other such advances will remain a part of our lives in the long-term, whereas others may be more temporary until life returns to a more normal state.