The Covid-19 pandemic has changed just about everything in our lives – from the way we work and socialise to how much we can travel – and just about every industry has been forced to adapt to new ways of working to keep its head above the water and weather the ongoing storm.
We’ve seen shopping go almost entirely online, champagne and cocktail bars pivot to offer virtual classes and straight-to-your-door delivery, and yoga and other fitness instructors offering their sessions via Zoom.
Social distancing and other Covid regulations have inspired a surge in new technology and innovation to keep us safer, too – from online symptom tracking apps to virtual GP appointments and a whole host of other new developments that are designed to help with the adaptation with the new world we live in today.
Post-Covid, we can expect to see some of these technologies continue to thrive, while others are only just getting started. While lockdown is gradually easing and we are slowly but surely returning to ‘normal’, life as we know it may have changed forever, but the good news is that it’s not all doom and gloom.
Here, we take a look at five of the biggest technology trends we can expect to see booming in a post-Covid world.
Digitisation of entertainment
With bricks-and-mortar casinos around the world forced to close their doors to the public for the best part of a year, high-rollers and amateur gamblers alike have been looking for an alternative way to get their adrenaline hit, and the world of online casinos like Free Spins has experienced a huge surge in popularity as a result. As more customers have moved online, technology has had to advance in order to keep up with demand, from keeping players’ data safe to providing an enhanced customer experience at every stage of interaction.
Many have adopted AI technology to help them tend to customer needs, not just within the games themselves but throughout their online services. Chatbots are becoming increasingly common, helping providers respond to customer queries and facilitating a smoother onboarding process – and it’s a technological advance that is likely here to stay.
Such has been the success of implementing AI and machine learning that we can expect to see our favourite online casinos increasingly relying on both post-Covid and beyond in a bid to hold onto the new customer bases they have attracted during the pandemic once land-based venues reopen.
New technologies in service industries
The service industries have been perhaps some of the worst affected by the pandemic, with social distancing rules forcing them to largely transform the way they operate – so what could that mean for us as customers once lockdown has eased?
We’ve already seen technological advances when it comes to app-based ordering, with many hospitality businesses having no option but to pivot in order to keep going when physical restaurants were forced to close, and this improved online experience is here to stay.
In grocery, meanwhile, technology and e-commerce companies are changing the landscape through innovative offerings, too. In 2017, Amazon purchased Whole Foods in the US, which stood it in good stead to cope with increased grocery delivery demands when the pandemic first hit, with grocery sales in the second quarter of 2020 tripling year on year.
In the UK, Ocado has expanded its know-how in retail software, robotics and warehouse management to global partnerships, too, with automated technology increasingly being used for order fulfilment. Enjoying an increase in year-on-year sales of 40 per cent up until the end of May last year, it’s a move that is clearly working for the company – and for us, as consumers, too.
Increasingly, we’re now able to get whatever we want at just the click of a button, often in under an hour. And, with a growing demand for convenience, our needs are set to be met more efficiently than ever from here on out, with the pandemic a catalyst for change that many feel has been a long time coming.
The rise in cloud computing subscriptions
Cloud computing has become our bread and butter over recent years, and we have become increasingly reliant on it during the Covid-19 pandemic. As many of us have been forced to work home, we’ve also had to adapt to new ways of working from a technological perspective, and software has advanced to meet demand as a result.
As we come to depend on them more and more, the companies that develop them are seeing an opportunity, with most now monetised through subscription-based services – so we can expect to see more and more small direct debits leaving our bank accounts over the coming years, with one for just about every area of our lives.
The Adobe Creative Cloud is a prime example of how we are increasingly turning towards cloud-based services. Where once, individual programmes like Photoshop and Lightroom were available for a one-off download fee, today they are packaged up with other programmes within the suite and available only by monthly subscription. Although this is nothing new for Adobe at this point, it’s a model that many other companies are seeing the value in, and soon, we can expect one-off access fees to become a thing of the past.
The bottom line
There’s no denying that Covid-19 has changed the way we live in the short term, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that it has served as the catalyst for widespread change in the long term, too. Many believe that the technological advances we’re seeing come to the forefront now have been in the works for a long time, and that much is certainly true – but post-Covid, we’ll see them continue to grow faster than ever before, bringing us well and truly into the digital age and far beyond.