COVID- 19 has disrupted the lives and lifestyles of billions of people around the world, with most governments enforcing some form of national lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. Information and communication technologies are playing, and have played, a crucial role in keeping our society functional in a time of lockdowns, quarantines, remote work and social distancing.
We’ve rounded up some of the standout ICT trends that have gained momentum during the global pandemic and that are likely to stick around once things get back to “normal”.
Take a look.
Mobile as the new normal
Stay-at-home orders have prompted people to find alternative ways to work, socialise and transact. As such, the globe has seen increases in contactless payment methods, in video game and streaming service traffic and a massive rise in the use of video conferencing platforms to stay in touch with colleagues and loved ones. So, while the pandemic may be keeping us stationary, our lives have become increasingly mobile.
In line with the point above, the coronavirus has also encouraged the rise of remote work. Enabled by virtual private networks (VPNs), voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), virtual meetings, cloud technology and collaboration tools, this ICT trend has forced many to embrace remote work. In doing so, these businesses have discovered that it is possible to work effectively with a widely dispersed team. Remote work also eliminates commute time, offers greater flexibility and has been known to up productivity.
Supply chain 4.0
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive disruptions to global supply chains. If anything, the situation has proven that many of the entities along global supply chains don’t have a firm understanding of their operations. This is especially true as supply chains become more and more complex. Today, we are already seeing how many of the technologies that have been cited as drivers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – like Big Data, cloud, the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and blockchain – have been brought in to build more resilient and more robust technology-enabled supply management systems.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
Our post COVID-19 world is likely to be one characterised by social distancing. This will only encourage the proliferations of the “smart” devices synonymous with the IoT. For example, your smart fridge will be able to track your milk usage and order fresh milk online when your supply is running low. This milk will be delivered to your door without you having to leave your house of interact with anyone. But the success of IoT is largely dependent on fast and reliable connectivity, highlighting the importance of 5G mobile network rollouts.
Artificial Intelligence (A))
In a Wired article about how AI and machine learning are being used to analyse thousands of research papers about COVID-19, Oren Etzioni, CEO of AI2, explained that the crisis showcases how AI can do a world of good. “The scientific literature on the coronavirus is growing exponentially,” he said, which makes it harder for humans to sift through all of this information and find the clues they need to develop solutions. Big data and AI technologies make it possible to sift through vast amounts of data and these insights can be used to solve problems across a broad range of industries.
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