Technology gets so much credit for allowing us to continue working & connecting during the past 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The internet and all of its benefits and platforms gave us the chance to hold meetings with peers, stay in touch with friends and family & stay on top of pandemic related news, vaccine advancements and availability. Now that the numbers are continuing to wind down (fingers crossed emoji) what new roles will tech play in our daily lives going forward, what does the “new normal” look like?
There’s a great quote in the book Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria that describes life after pandemic that it “is going to be, in many aspects, a sped-up version of the world we knew.” The shut down of in-person interactions sped up the adoption and implementation of technologies that in other times may have taken years to become a mainstream way of operating. Online delivery has undoubtedly become the prominent pivot for almost everything. Classroom lessons delivered through video calls and virtual slides, groceries are ordered online and picked up in the parking lot outside and live performances streamed to our homes.
Video meeting software like Zoom, Teams and Slack have been critical in keeping teams and businesses moving forward. Even though these have been around for some time, they became much more critical in the past 18 months and will likely continue to be crucial post-pandemic as businesses shift to hybrid & remote work set ups.
Touchless technologies (automated entrances, robots/AI to replicate human tasks) will continue to surge as the world thinks twice about things like touching elevator buttons, door handles, and check-in kiosks on their way in and out of places. These communal surfaces has become a point of contention as concerns over consumer health and safety continue to be top of mind. It can be expected that touchless will keep adapting and expanding. High traffic places like airports are already seeing an acceleration in touchless technology and AI-driven automation with self serve check-in, where passengers create a digital token on their smartphone that can verify their identity.
And of course, none of the hope of seeing this pandemic come to an end would be possible without Biotechnology who has made it possible to have safe vaccines with over 90% efficacy in the span of 10 months instead of the full decade it used to take. Once the virus sequence was published in early 2020, the race for a vaccine and various technologies, such as mRNA enabled the development of proteins that would bind to the spikes of the virus, preventing it from binding to human cells and rendering the virus harmless. Essentially, this revolutionary mRNA technology teaches the human body to make the vaccine itself.
With advanced computer simulation and sequencing tools, it took the biotech company Moderna just a couple of days to design synthetic mRNA and a only about six weeks to ship its first batch of vaccines for clinical trials. This pandemic has indeed been the great accelerator of many technologies and innovations, and it made decades happen in few weeks. How will your business embrace new innovations?