Covid-led technology trends – are they here to stay?
Not only has the coronavirus changed everyone’s lives on an unprecedented scale, but it has also impacted every industry. Most businesses have had to shift to a new way of working an while we still don’t know how long this period of uncertainty will last, the latest Government guidance on working from home if you can makes it clear that increased remote working is here to stay for a while longer.
So what could the long-term impact be? Here are some of the current trends we expect to continue in a post-Covid world and beyond.
The Covid-19 crisis has forced many companies to adjust their IT infrastructure to become more flexible, resilient, and scalable. Luckily, IT teams have been able to react to the sudden spike in workloads and move businesses to a remote working model – Microsoft has reported a 775% spike in cloud services demand as a result of the coronavirus.
When lockdown came into effect, people were forced to work from home so the demand for cloud-based video conferencing like Teams rapidly increased as the only way for workers to connect. Moving forward, a lot of businesses are likely to continue using this technology, particularly as current advice tells us to work from home if we can. We expect to see more use of cloud technology in smartphone apps, as remote and on the go access will be important for those working flexibly or from home, even after the pandemic.
Before the pandemic, 5G was in its infancy – but now the need for it has come to light. An increase in working and studying from home has been stressing networks and creating higher demand for bandwidth. People have now realised the need for faster data sharing. With much higher speeds, 5G will be of particular interest to the many businesses which have fully or partially switched to a home working model. Enhanced mobile broadband will improve communications between remote workers through more seamless video conferencing. With high-capacity connectivity even in the busiest areas, businesses will benefit from faster secure connections for document collaboration, high-speed downloads and more.
The networks in the UK have had a staggered launch, with some having made it available since 2019, while we are still waiting for others to roll out.
Since banknotes could potentially carry Covid-19, and involve close contact when handing them to another person, contactless digital payments, via cards, smartphones and smartwatches are now the way to go, to avoid the spread of the virus.
Retailers have now been operating this way for a few months, but it’s likely we will see a significant change in the way we pay for things in the future – some businesses might remove traditional tills to reduce the need to queue and enable touch-free transactions using biometric technology, like facial recognition. Supermarket scan-as-you-go were already in place before the pandemic but have seen increased use – not only because they enable reduced contact with shop staff, but because many customers find them convenient and faster to use.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Innovations such as data processing, and face and speech recognition have become possible due to artificial intelligence. AI chatbots are also growing in industries such as retail, healthcare, telecommunications and banking, as businesses have had to operate solely online.
AI chatbots have proved beneficial to businesses providing customer service during lockdown thanks to chatbot ability to give 24/7 support. Artificial intelligence is a trend that will be around for a long time to come due to its efficiency, speed and accuracy, fuelled by faster connectivity and rapidly-increasing processing power.
Given that in-person delivery is not as easy as it once was, lockdown has seen many companies launch contactless delivery services where goods are left at the door or picked up from a designated location. This is likely to continue and we may even see the widespread launch of drone deliveries, which are already being used by some companies to deliver supplies to customers who live within a certain radius.
Online training and employee onboarding will stick around and become a major part of how staff are recruited as we move forward. Webinars and online courses have been beneficial to staff looking to develop their skills while on furlough or while working from home.
The pandemic has shown the importance of being digitally prepared which has allowed business to continue in this new normal. Likewise, having the right tech in place for your business and IT strategy to support business goals will be essential for any business to remain competitive in a post-pandemic world. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.