We live in a time of rapid technological advancement, a factor that has truly revolutionized the way we lead our daily lifestyles. And while new digital solutions might have made their way into various industries as well, this shift towards technology was accelerated by one unsuspecting aspect – the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Coronavirus brought disturbance and disruption to industries all across the globe, encouraging them to adopt novel solutions moving forward. Technology is slowly taking over, and here are just some of the many ways in which the digital revolution has impacted different industries:
The coronavirus pandemic quickly pushed healthcare services into the digital realm. Both healthcare providers and patients were forced to adopt remote health monitoring and telehealth services quickly, in an effort to cope with maximized hospital capacities and increased infection risks. In fact, telehealth startups have reached record use in the last couple of years, likely due to their convenience and cost-saving opportunities. With many doctors believing most required care can be delivered effectively and safely over apps or video calls, telehealth will likely continue to rise. Gyms and mental health services were also hit badly by recent lockdowns, but new applications and platforms designed for delivering these services remotely have quickly resolved the issue.
Educational facilities have slowly been updating their processes to include more digital solutions for years now, but the COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated this shift. All over the world, millions of students and teachers have quickly moved to remote learning technologies, enabling them to hold classes, submit assignments, and communicate effectively in a virtual environment. This has significantly increased student productivity and knowledge retention levels, thus presenting a viable solution for the future of education as well. The use of online courses and other content offered by private institutions has also increased, presenting helpful learning material and credible resources.
The manufacturing industry wasn’t immune to the effects of COVID-19 either, with recent global events only highlighting how vulnerable and inefficient certain production and logistics processes are when they’re faced with a sudden shortage of human labor. To combat this issue, new technologies are being adopted across the board. Industrial automation is the most notable aspect, with solutions such as industrial robots helping to accelerate production, minimize errors, and reduce expenses. 3D printing solutions are also on the rise, as the adaptability and flexibility of this technology allow manufacturers to keep up with an increase in demand without having to incur higher costs.
As stores closed and global supply chains experienced disruptions, e-commerce experienced an unprecedented boost during the pandemic that is only continuing to rise. Naturally, groceries and hygiene products have seen a sudden increase in sales, but they weren’t the only popular items. For instance, healthy vitamins and supplements are also sought-after, mostly due to their health and immunity-boosting benefits. Apart from well-being products, online clothing and furniture retailers have also experienced increases in demand and were forced to implement more innovative solutions. As a result, services powered by augmented and virtual reality technologies are becoming the new normal, including virtual changing rooms and space-planning solutions.
The sudden move to the digital realm has made customer service a challenging process for companies both in and outside the retail industry. Questions, requests, and complaints from customers quickly increased, while customer support teams continued to decrease in size. To solve this problem, businesses across industries started to rely more heavily on technology. For example, cloud-based solutions are now used instead of traditional call centers to maintain support operations even in turbulent periods. Additionally, chatbots powered by artificial intelligence are among the most popular solutions, helping to replace human labor while still providing adequate support to consumers.
Although the finance industry was historically quite slow to adopt technological innovations, that has quickly changed in the last few years as well. While contactless payment options and mobile financial services were present for quite some time now, the coronavirus pandemic truly accelerated their use, making cashless transactions the most common type of payment in certain parts of the world. However, what’s most surprising is the sudden rise of branchless banking startups that aim to replace conventional financial institutions with innovative solutions such as digital cash management, retirement, and investment products.
It’s no secret that popular streaming services have been gaining traction for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic boosted their rates to new levels, nearly replacing traditional television. However, what we weren’t used to before the pandemic was the reimagining of live events such as concerts, gaming leagues, and festivals. But with large gatherings being prohibited and venues shutting down temporarily, technology was leveraged to bring these types of events to our homes as well. For example, many live events were live-streamed to provide an in-person experience even during social distancing restrictions, while concerts and gaming moved to the digital world in the form of virtual reality.
Evidently, the digital revolution has impacted most industries in quite unprecedented ways, with the shift only being highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic. As we move forward, the trends mentioned above will likely continue to be prominent, and new technological solutions may bring even more changes.