Social distancing, remote work, video conferences, virtual spaces, remote monitoring, online education and telehealth: These concepts have become the new norm during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, as the need for human workers challenged the continuity of many business processes, companies may try to adopt more automated and advanced technological solutions to mitigate the risks they faced during the pandemic. Thus, these are the technologies I believe will be on the rise post-COVID-19.
Businesses are moving to the cloud for security and efficiency reasons: Going serverless ensures flexibility, scalability and fast disaster recovery. The introduction of cloud technology will change the way applications are created, deployed and operated. This means that the role of DevOps and cloud solutions architects will grow, as well.
Workforce Mobility Technologies
• Mobile apps. We will see growth in the development of mobile apps that help employees access corporate services anytime from any place in the world. After all, a smartphone is one of those things an employee will have with him/her anywhere.
• Video. Providing remote connection and continuous data transfer to enterprise apps, video will become a major communication medium. This will encourage real 5G network development and global deployment, and more apps will use video functionality to process and analyze data received from multiple sources.
• RPA and AI. The reliance on human workers has impacted the continuity of certain business processes during the crisis, such as direct sales, equipment production and maintenance. That is why we will see an increase in robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies implementation. The need to replace people in many business processes will push businesses to consider similar emergency scenarios in the future and automate certain operations to rely on AI, which is always accessible.
• Augmented analytics and blockchain-powered smart contracts. Smart contracts can help balance global and local supply chains and make them more flexible. One of the examples of this transformation will be supply chains’ partial substitution with local suppliers to mitigate emergency and logistics risks. In this scenario, smart contracts can make logistics more resilient by digitizing and securing valuable information. And augmented analytics implementation will automate decision-making for specialists who are in charge of important business operations speeding up operations and excluding bias and human errors.
During the pandemic, many countries have realized that their infrastructure should be ready for rapid transformations: It needs to be centralized, analyzed and controllable
• Internet of things (IoT). In the post-COVID-19 world, the internet of things for smart spaces will focus beyond comfort control to real safety. Air quality, CO2 and temperature control will be used to provide 24/7 security in environments where people spend most of their time, especially considering the possibility of a massive shift to remote work. More than that, in South Korea, areas that had implemented IoT as a part of the “smart cities” transformation reportedly used the technology in their fight to curb the spread of the virus, so other locations may follow their example.
• Edge computing. This is another important technological innovation I expect will be widely used after COVID-19. Edge computing will grow as companies will want to bring computation and data storage closer to the devices where they are gathered to increase network performance, speed and security.
Personal And Commerce Tech
Social distancing has made people reevaluate their needs in entertainment, interaction, and communication and how they spend their money.
• E-commerce tech. Brick-and-mortar stores that used to rely on local, in-person buyers will want to avoid being in a situation in which their customer pool dries up. This will drive these retailers to look for new ways to reach customers, such as through web applications, e-commerce platforms, client web portals and mobile applications.
• Augmented reality (AR) for remote sales. Because the pandemic had psychological and financial impacts, as well, many shoppers are expected to continue avoiding physical stores for a while, so retailers will need to rely on technology to help. AR applications that provide an opportunity to “try out” products (furniture, beauty products, clothes, equipment) before buying them can help retailers attract clients.
• Fintech. We can expect that fintech, the industry that was pushing traditional financial institutions to leave their comfort zone, will see even greater growth in a post-COVID-19 world as more people choose to control their finances and perform financial operations online.
Luckily, in a post-COVID-19 world, technology will be able to help companies and people adapt to the lasting operational, behavioral and psychological changes brought on by the pandemic.