By Inderpreet Kaur, IEEE Senior Member
The events that followed the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, witnessed an acceleration in digital adoption and became a key driver to operational excellence and digital transformation. This watershed moment not only impacted the world – but altered and led to the emergence of new socio-economic trends across the globe.
According to a McKinsey survey, the pandemic has expedited digital and technological adoption by several years and predict that majority of these changes will continue to persist in the new normal.
As a result, technology has now become an integral part of everything we do. Tech-enabled solutions are percolating across all domains, thus making technology an inseparable entity, one that cannot be separated from any tasks that we do. Thus, making the need for the adoption of smart technologies and moreover a robust technology-driven approach especially in the post-pandemic world imperative.
With the surge in IoT, AI/ML, AR/VR, blockchain, cloud computing, and robotics and many more, smart technology is making huge strides across all industries – from healthcare, e-commerce, BFSI, to automation, manufacturing, and more. These solutions have proven to be the enabler in equipping humankind for the enormous challenge that the world is facing and undoubtedly became a driving force. It has also helped businesses remain afloat during challenging times.
Let’s look at some smart technology-driven trends that will help society become more resilient and ensure sustainability even in the post-pandemic world.
- Remote working: With social distancing becoming a norm, offline workplaces took a back seat, and more and more businesses asked the employees to work from home. Remote work is an example of a business transformation that works at multiple levels. It addresses the needs of individual employees, provides new resilience and adaptable ways for businesses to engage with the ecosystem and create economic value, as well as addresses public health needs, thereby serving the larger community.
- Online commerce: The pandemic has changed consumer consumption patterns tremendously. With the surge in internet penetration, mobile usage has also increased significantly. With the new covid norms, the in-person shopping trend decreased and as a result, online shopping, that used to be a “nice to have” option has now become the “must-have” as it allows the consumers to find the best prices, across a wide range of options, from the convenience of their homes.
- Digital/contactless payments: Prior to the pandemic, consumer awareness of the use of tap and pay cards and internet banking was already high. However, with the hit of COVID19, the use of contactless payments increased rapidly. Today, speed and convenience are becoming more and more important, and security, a new priority.
- Telehealth: Virtual healthcare services existed way before the pandemic, but the usage was minimal and restricted to only big cities and hospitals, but now the pandemic has catalyzed rapid adoption of telemedicine, and more or less all types of activities that require giving care at a distance. Healthcare industries are leveraging telehealth technology to safeguard patients and reduce face-to-face contact as far as possible. India has also been leveraging technology for its fight against COVID-19. The country has started various initiatives like sanitation via drones, self-assessments and contact tracing apps. Additionally, India today has its own vaccine portal called COWIN – which is also a cloud-based portal that has expediated the vaccine dissemination process.
The pandemic has greatly highlighted the importance of digital readiness – and this will only enable businesses and society to continue as usual.
Hence, building the necessary infrastructure to support a digitized world is essential to remain competitive in the post-COVID-19 world. A smart tech-driven approach will help society mitigate the larger impact of the pandemic and transition towards a sustainable world.