This past year was very unfortunate: the world around us seemed to stop and the global pandemic of COVID-19, which affected all parts of the world, with millions of people losing their lives and millions more losing their livelihood, was the focal cause. Presently, when the world is still engaged in a battle against this global pandemic, technology has stepped in and revolutionized our lifestyle according to safety protocols, to curb the spread of this deadly virus. It has changed our way of working, our education system, our business dealings, such as shopping, etc. Adaption to technology is occurring very quickly to sustain normal life for keeping businesses and the wheel of life functional. Some of the current trends around the world during this pandemic are:
1. Online Shopping:
In this crisis, the trend of online shopping is very common, as many countries around the world are facing complete lock down and going out in this situation is not considered safe. Businesses also faced loss due to this lock down, but technology has helped the businesses to maintain their activities via online shopping. It is turning to be a popular method since it is considered as a safer alternative to physical purchasing.
Keeping the need for social distancing in view, a human-contact free system is introduced, in which from the process of packing to delivery of the products, the chances of human contact are greatly reduced.
2. Digital Payment Method:
Digital payment helps people to transfer their money for businesses, in an online and in-store purchase. The UK provides various digital payment options to use like Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Paypal, Payzone, etc. During this time of Covid-19 protocols, where isolation and social distancing are obligatory, there is an increase in the use of the digital payment, which minimizes human contact, and ultimately reduces the chances of transferring virus through cash. Even many shopping places and restaurants in the UK accept and prefer digital payments now. The year of 2020 saw a 26% increase in Paypal transactions, which is evident that people now prefer this digital and contact-less transaction over a cash transaction.
3. Remote Work
Due to national lockdown offices are closed and businesses are suffering, therefore, to mitigate the impact of such a situation, many offices are now offering ‘Work from Home’ so that businesses can continue to work. Given the current situation we cannot predict about the time everything will be normal, so meanwhile remote work is considered as the best possible option. A major concern for work from home is lack of communication. Many offices in the UK have shifted their daily office operations to online, using cloud technology and meeting apps like Zoom, to reduce the communication gap and this has made remote work easier. People prefer remote work as it provides more flexibility to the employees but sometimes it becomes challenging and people must struggle to keep their work-life and domestic life balanced.
4. Digital Scanning of COVID-19:
The outbreak of coronavirus has been a great challenge, and to stop its spread identification is very crucial. Many new technologies have been invented and are in use such as thermal imaging and infrared imaging for the detection of fever and high body temperature. In Wuhan, China, drones with imaging devices are used to monitor COVID-19 symptoms. Several portable thermal imaging devices are almost everywhere to monitor the symptoms of the virus. One surveillance firm based in the UK has launched a real-time remote fever detecting solution a combination of HD optical and thermal camera, which utilizes the firm’s EdgeVisLive technology. Similarly, Vodafone UK has also fitted thermal scanning cameras across the UK.
5. Tracking Devices:
Various tracking devices such as Bluetooth tracker are used to ensure social distancing. Tracking wrist bands are also used in many countries including Australia for quarantine purposes: it is linked with authorities and your movements are monitored to ensure . If you violate the quarantine orders, concerned authorities are informed immediately and an action is taken against you. South Korea and Hong Kong also use electronic tracking devices to enforce the quarantine. Some countries monitor mobile Bluetooth to monitor movements to ensure safety from the virus.
6. AI and Robotics:
The covid-19 outbreak led to the need for AI and Robotics more than ever. Today AI-assisted imaging and scans are used for the contact-free detection of symptoms. Robots are also being used for disinfection purposes along with AI-assisted thermometry systems to monitor symptoms of COVID. Robots are also used for nursing purposes keeping the danger of spreading the virus in mind.
Robotics and AI also play a pivotal role in facing the challenges during this pandemic, as AI can be used to do the required tasks like content creation. An example is of Alibaba using AI-language processing for writing product descriptions. Robots are also used for packing in warehouses and delivery of products ensuring a human-contact-free process.
7. Cloud Services:
Many companies have coped with the crises by adapting to the conditions. As Zoom meets the high demand to reduce the communication gap during the lockdown, cloud services provide a temporary solution to many businesses and by acting as a lifeline. Use of cloud services has increased during COVID-19. It provides businesses with storage and networking capabilities for remote working during this time of crisis. Cloud-based technology provides growth opportunities to businesses and it has helped around 90% of UK based business to deal with the challenges in lockdown. It also led to an increase in productivity and creativity by creating a flexible environment. According to the research, 94% of organizations are using at least one cloud service and its use is expected to expand in the future considering its vast advantages in the digital revolution.
8. Remote Health Services:
Covid-19 pandemic revolutionized the use of remote health services around the globe. In England, NHS played a very important role during COVID, as the pandemic accelerated the use of remote services. According to the survey in June 2020, 88% of the people preferred the use of remote consultations. It ensures clinical effectiveness of remote GP appointments and also ensures progress in digital appointments in NHS long term plan.
9. Online Learning Management Systems:
Like the other fields of life, education also faced a major revolution due to COVID-19. As around the world, many educational institutions faced lockdown to ensure social distancing, it became a necessity to exchange classroom to virtual classroom. Using modern technology educational institutions have created online learning systems to ensure quality education during this pandemic. Due to COVID, the learning environment is no longer available thus presenting challenges for educational institutions but technology assists to make it easier. Online systems like Google Classrooms are used presently for online learning. Although it is difficult to adapt to these changes, everyone is trying in their capacity to adapt to the ‘new normal’, even for educative purposes.
In conclusion, the outbreak of Covid-19 engulfed common lifestyle, requiring a transition which battled its spread and simultaneously favored progression of life. Technology has been the anchor in this case, and contributed through swifter ways for business, education, shopping, payments, working and healthcare, tracking and healthcare etc.