We have all witnessed the rapid changes during this pandemic and how we all go about our daily lives. Instead of talking about toilet paper and hand sanitizer, let’s talk about the future of tech and changes we will begin to see due to the outbreak of COVID19.
You will start to notice even more of daily life taking place online as businesses and consumers frequent online banking, video conferencing, remote education, video calls, e-trade and more. People who have been avoiding online services will change their minds as the virus will show how crucial the web is during the lack of in-person interactions. Houses without the internet (yes, there are millions of these) will also give in and get service. And for those who are already tech savvy, their online habits will increase. I would expect that consumers will upgrade internet speeds and even consider backup plans, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot from a cellular carrier. Many people now trying to work from home are experiencing weaker speeds. The answer to this will be a faster plan and new wireless equipment.
Computers, printers and other IT gear will see a longer spike in interest. There was a scramble to buy laptops and monitors for home offices as the coronavirus hit. In some cases, these are must-have purchases for people stuck working from home. Many will want to prepare their home office for both future disruptions and for a future in which remote work is more common.
Demand will soar for telehealth services. Virtual doctor visits and other forms of remote tracking can help alleviate hospitals, bringing more care to more people. Biometric fingerprint readers will see a steep decline, since they rely on users making physical contact with a device or screen. That raises huge red flags when there’s an infectious disease that is transmitted on shared surfaces. Even routine deep cleaning won’t be able to convince many people to touch or press shared fingerprint readers. This may lead to more contact-free facial detection. These are commonly used by law enforcement, border control and at airports.
The use of smartphones and location data will be critical. The country now has had to consider the tracking of people who test positive for COVID19. Infectious disease experts say that this can speed the recovery and prevent future outbreaks. Google and Facebook are already in contact with the federal government to share anonymous location data, according to reports. Other tech companies, large and small, are looking to innovate with location-tracking technology use. Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple are among the leaders in facial recognition research.
Expect federal regulators to speed up the adoption of delivery drones. Drones can be a vital resource in a pandemic. China has experimented with using drones during coronavirus for shipping medicine, disinfecting public areas and delivering food which has helped to control the spread. The focus with drones will first be on lifesaving uses, such as delivering medicine and virus test kits. More drones will be sold for surveillance and monitoring by police. American drone companies will likely take priority over foreign makers for many government contracts, but this won’t be that easy. China based company DJI, controls a large majority of the market. American makers include Impossible Aerospace and Skydio. Also look for systems from Google’s Project Wing and Amazon’s Prime Air to come aboard soon.
As we all struggle with the impacts of this crisis it is encouraging to know that human creativity is a great source of remedies to our problems.