We have all been living in a COVID-19 world now for well over a year. The masks and social distancing have now become normal. Walking down the street we instinctively move out of the way of others and automatically bring our masks with us everywhere we go. Something that felt so alien to us all, is now part of our day-to-day. As restrictions slowly start to ease, and we can finally be reunited with our loved ones, we still take a lot of natural caution with us. A hug can feel so guilty. Stepping into someone’s house can feel criminal.
COVID-19 has not just changed our natural behaviour but all other aspects within all industries. Everyone now must adapt to living in a post- COVID-19 world but what does that mean for our technology? Technology that we use on a day-to-day basis that we may take for granted or which made our lives a little bit easier in working from home.
Here are four big changes that have happened over the course of COVID-19 and that may continue well after it too. These changes have seen different technological shifts and improvements that will most likely continue to improve through innovation into the future.
COVID-19 has transformed online shopping from a nice-to-have to a must-have almost everywhere in the world. There is almost nothing that you cannot get online, from groceries to home testing kits. From your smallest corner shops to large delivery companies, online shopping is now more available than ever. With all this convenience at our fingertips, it’s safe to say that this will be an area that will continue to grow well beyond that of COVID-19. At the start of the Pandemic, online sales rose around 60% according to the Office of National Statistics.
However, online shopping is not the only method of payment that has seen significant growth. Due to cash being a possible transmission vector for COVID-19, many stores implemented contactless payment in order to stop the handling of cash. This will definitely be around to stay – not only less use of physical cash, but the rise of use of technologies such as GooglePay and ApplePay. With added convenience, I am looking forward to the next e-commerce innovation. According to the Bank of England, ATMs, both in use and amounts withdrawn, have decreased by around 60%.
Many employees had to make a change at the start of lockdown by working from home. This was a huge factor in the increase of use of different, and improvement of, technologies from the use of virtual meetings and cloud technology to collaboration tools and VPNs. This has provoked change from companies such as Cisco WebEx, Zoom and Microsoft Teams expanding their services to accommodate the massive increase in demand. Remote working has also caused a shift in opinion for many different companies, with some that were very much against having its workforce working from home now being much more lenient due to the advantages it has provided. However, it has also highlighted some of the drawbacks: security and privacy implications, technical problems and bad internet connections are among a few. On the positive side, the drawbacks can now be improved and working from home could be more common in the future.
Personal Protective Equipment has seen an obscene amount of use in comparison to before COVID-19. Due to the increase in demand, suppliers increased their manufacturing capabilities meaning the availability of PPE is now at an all-time high. This is especially useful in light of the new COVID-19 strains and any potential new pandemics. There has also been ground-breaking innovation with PPE, with the use of 3D printing to produce PPE parts.
The most amazing thing about technology is that there is no end point to its potential. It grows with our personal/ consumer needs making our lives easier, more organised and, especially now, more than ever, SAFER! It can change overnight and it is fascinating to think that technological geniuses across the globe are currently working on the next big thing – things we probably can’t even fathom. It will certainly be interesting to see how technology is going to continue evolving in this COVID-19 world.