As our world is trying to cope with the challenges brought by the pandemic, we cannot stop but wonder: ‘which of our innovations will be there at the end?’ When the pandemic ends, a lot of the things we got accustomed to these last two years will no longer make sense. But, some of them are here to stay, deeply embedded into our new, post-COVID-19 lives.
The pandemic has touched every industry and businesses of all types across the globe. CNBC has reported that in the US alone in 2020, 60% of pandemic-related business closures were permanent.
Even so, the world has been coping with issues amazingly. From education to healthcare to manufacturing to technology, innovators have come up with brilliant solutions for the challenges we’ve been facing. Their solutions to the problems have re-shaped our way of living, and people seem to really adjust to ‘the new way.’
Knowing what we know right now, let us take you to our idea of what the legacy of Covid-19 will be in the world.
1. Distributed cybersecurity and stringent data privacy rules
Cybercrime has been attached to technology and the Internet from the start, but it has seriously spiked during the pandemic. Why is that? A lot of the business these days is carried online. People shop online, work online, and handle their purchases online. This gave criminals more opportunities to steal personal data and perform criminal activities.
As a result, we’ve witnessed a big trend in organizations. Cybersecurity is more valued and promoted than ever. Due to endless reports of cybercrime amid the pandemic, organizations are spending more money and time on implementing cybersecurity measures.
Governments have joined this trend also. The focus on data privacy is bigger than ever, with laws and regulations becoming more stringent all around the globe. Osano has put together this informative guide to data privacy laws that are currently active across the globe. If we compare those to the ones prior to the pandemic, the differences are more than noticeable.
Around the world, people are reporting that criminals sell fake coronavirus cures online, pose as governmental organizations to collect private data, and are becoming very innovative with their phishing. Cyber-attacks have risen tremendously in these last two years, with ransomware crime being higher than it’s ever been.
What’s the result?Organizations and governments are spending a fortune on cybersecurity measures, making this a trend that is very likely to stick around. In 2020, the world has witnessed an all-time high in cybersecurity funding. Compared to 2018, CBInsights reports that we’ve garnered a 50% increase that goes to $11.4 billion.
2. Teleconferencing technology and tools
Teleconferencing or telecommuting technology is available for a while now, but we cannot say that it was very popular prior to the pandemic. Due to the pandemic, tools like Zoom and Skype became an everyday communication tool for millions of companies.
Since remote work has yielded an unspeakable interest across the globe, we can safely say that many companies continue to promote this type of work even after the pandemic. This means that they’ll continue to need telecommuting technology to communicate with others.
As a result of the pandemic, tech companies have been overwhelmed with the demand for their services. If you look at this Business Insider graph, you’ll see that in less than a week in March, Microsoft Teams had 12 million new users.
Zoom experienced quite a demand, too. Fool reported that, in 2021, the company’s stock surged 425%! This unexpected demand has also resulted in some issues in terms of vulnerabilities and security, but the companies have kept up with the changing trends. Nowadays, they have amazing new features, work hard to fix issues, and have more customers than ever.
We can safely assume that such apps will take part in our future. They are part of the new normal the pandemic has brought to the world.
3. Digitized educational infrastructure
Digitizing the educational system has been discussed for a very long time. The pandemic left us with no other choice than to jump into remote learning. It has been tough on both sides to adjust to such rapid changes, but now that a significant amount of time has passed, remote learning has made its way into our way of living.
Classrooms had to go remote almost overnight. This was very challenging and some parts of it still are, but in many countries, many parts of education are said to be digitized forever.
Schools have decided to make their books digital even when the doors to traditional classrooms open. Private schools are now offering both online and classroom teaching. Not to mention, technology is used for everything from attendance tracking to assignment completion to communication with parents.
The infrastructure can still improve a lot, but as time passes, it is very likely that schools will keep some parts of it in the education plans after the Coronavirus recedes.
4. Telehealth technology
Telehealth has been a trending topic for years, but it never turned into ‘the real thing’ before the pandemic. This is a technology that allows healthcare professionals and patients to discuss small health issues virtually.
Telelanguage reports that 75% of ER, doctor, and urgent care visits could be handled effectively on video or over the phone. Proponents of this technology have made the case for a long time, attempting to ease the pressure on the healthcare system, decrease the costs, and make healthcare more accessible in the world.
Despite this, the adoption of this technology prior to the pandemic was very slow. Once COVID entered the picture and at a point where the capacities were strained at best, patients have turned to this innovation as a great way to enjoy safe, fast, and professional healthcare.
Some companies have truly thrived by providing such services. One such company is Teladoc, a service that reported a 50% growth during the pandemic. They facilitated 4.5 million sessions in 2021.
Even the governments followed suit. In 2019, US government officials allowed Apple, Microsoft, and Google to facilitate virtual doctor visits through FaceTime, Skype, and video apps under the HIPAA.
People seem to be happy with this. In fact, the following infographic shows that 83% of patients are highly likely to keep using telemedicine even after the pandemic.
5. Virtual events
Yes, virtual events were a thing prior to the pandemic, but they were very rare. Organizations and conferences have been creating virtual tickets for a while, but this was mostly in the tech sector and for e-gaming tournaments.
When people were not able to attend events due to the pandemic, this has increased the demand for virtual events. Everything moved online, and people were amazed by this trend. They watched their favorite artists perform, watched the Virtual Grand National horse race in the UK, attended the annual WWF CN Tower Climb fundraising webinar, etc. Even though restrictions have been lifted in many places now, we keep coming across virtual events. This might just have a lasting impact, so using a calendar template is a good idea.
6. Virtual exercise and fitness
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, people weren’t able to go to the gym, practice sports, or be active outside of their homes. They did this online. We’ve seen millions of people working out from the comfort of their homes while watching their trainer on the screen.ClubIntel’s report says that over 350 thousand US fitness instructors shifted to virtual classes due to the pandemic. Compared to 25% of fitness clubs that offered livestream workouts prior to the pandemic, 72% do so these days. That being said, virtual fitness is now a real thing and, while it might not be as popular when the pandemic ends, it will most likely survive it.
7. Online purchasing technology
Buying your groceries online is not a new thing in the world. Still, you’d be amazed to learn how many places around the globe did not offer this as an option prior to the pandemic. Even in countries where you could buy a few things online, major companies offered only in-store shopping.
Nowadays, all kinds of companies are investing in this. Large brands like Amazon and Walmart are augmenting the shopping experience with innovations like 3D renderings, and companies like IKEA allow you to scour their stores as if you are physically there.
8. Conversational chatbots
How often has it happened to you to come across a chatbot when looking for something online? Almost every sector has welcomed chatbots and artificial intelligence. Brands that relied heavily on actual, conversational agents in the past switch to chatbots to maximize satisfaction in customers.
Face-to-face communication with brands is limited even today, so most people shop online and communicate with virtual assistants. Even physical stores have them – you can use a computer or digital tool to get the answers you need in real-time, without having to wait for answers or look for a store representative.
The world has undoubtedly changed a lot because of the COVID 19 pandemic. We haven’t reached its end just yet, but the world is slowly adjusting to the unexpected changes that this brought into our lives. While no one can say for sure what is to stay and what is to disappear when this pandemic is gone, these 8 innovations and technologies hold the biggest promise for the future.