There is no surprise in the statement, “the world is changing and we need to act fast”.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is not looking like we predicted 2020 to be. We imagined a revolution by the time we would have completed 20 years in the 21st century. But, today we are at a stage where life as we know it has changed and the lifestyle demands significant changes for survival.
When a virus is spread through contact, the obvious precaution becomes the need for “contact-less operations”. With the endless new inventions in technology, we are still not ready for an “online world”. But with every company jumping on the digital bandwagon, we are getting there. We are making progress.
With technologies like e-payments, e-learning, and many other online business operations; one can see how technology has come to rescue us from deadly viruses and difficult situations. There is no doubt that this pandemic has made our work stop and the economy is going slow. But it is also true that this pandemic will fast-track our transformation in society and our offices.
Here are some of the innovations that will help us protect ourselves until the time we discover a vaccine:
The innovative workplace design
The work ecosystem will witness a sea change. Today, most of the companies have shifted to a ‘work from home’ model. And it is true that that will soon become commonplace – not only for startups and SMBs but also for large organizations that have earlier shied from it. But the question of how still remains hanging. How will the wave of “work from home” become efficient and earn profit for the company?
There are many companies which are looking forward to only 25% of employees “at work” and the rest will be working from home. This will mean a fundamental rethink of how work is done and how teams collaborate. This will, in turn, create a push towards technology solutions that enable remote collaboration.
For employees who are required to be physically present in the office, new compliance regulations will be put in place to ensure they maintain distance. Workplace design will change to adapt to social distancing norms.
New technology to ensure safety inside offices
Remotely enabled elevators, doors, and cafes will come into force. Gesture-based lights and social distances will indeed become a common practice in the upcoming years. There will also be mobile technologies that will help to track employee’s movement and will raise high alerts if one is found violating any of the social distancing norms.
Few key trends in the workplace will be growth in automation and the emergence of contact-less pathways. These would help employees enter the office without touching the building or unintentionally bumping into each other within the premises.
Companies will set up touch-less self-service health monitoring kiosks which will scan employees before granting entry to ensure their safety and those around them.
Automation at home
When 75% of the employees will shift to working from home, the need for home automation will spread like a wild-fire. When your home becomes your office you will need to set certain boundaries.
A study by Statista predicts the Indian smart home market will touch $6 billion by 2022, double the estimation of $3 billion in 2020. This essentially means consumers will have access to intuitive technologies and virtual voice assistants that can remind them about daily chores, plan their day, and operate their appliances.
Smart home innovations – The necessity
When people will be isolated in the house 24*7; the necessity for custom made smart home products will arise. People will need comfort along with the outside experience. They will soon demand services which will get their daily needs fulfilled at their houses. Ordering groceries and digital payments will increase.
Locks and other home security will be made contact-less and thus more secure and automated, there is a high chance of people installing smart cameras, smart locks, and keyless doors.
IoT will become so common that even children will use it. The demand for smart bands and fitness wear has increased due to a lack of physical movement. Thus people will also demand a smart gym that can be utilized at their house.
These will also alert people to respect social distancing norms and adhere to health compliance.
Although these technology disruptions would have happened irrespective of our current situation, their adoption would have been slower. Covid-19 has been a tipping point for contact-less, futuristic technologies and thus smart home technology will be the necessity.
Every crisis comes with exciting new opportunities. As we learn to cope with today’s trying times, technology is going to be the life jacket that will help us stay afloat.
When the dust settles, these solutions will help us design the ‘new normal’ and enable us to emerge stronger.