The coronavirus and its combat strategies are radically changing the world. The way we operate, think and what we value has been questioned and we are forced to re-think. One very good quality of human beings is that after a while we get used to things the way they are. We settle into new circumstances. And this fight against COVID-19 will set a new ‘Normal’ for us and soon we would be comfortable with it.
A new social structure should come up in the coming months. Businesses and economies will operate differently. Few industries will even see a complete reversal. Technology, which is usually not the core focus for the companies, will now form their backbone and the main delivery mechanism.
Some key industries will evolve and adopt new distribution mechanisms that will change the way these companies have operated. The core sectors like manufacturing will see more penetration of technology not only in their automation processes but also in deliveries.
1. Education: With people locked down in their houses, schools and universities have adopted the online teaching approach to continue the education of their students. With more and more people adopting this and over time students getting comfortable with this approach will reduce the need for physical schools and colleges. Technology will be the main channel for distribution. The large college campuses can be used for other purposes. Another important thing will be the reduction in college fees which will allow more people to pass college. In general, we will have a larger number of people getting educated. It, sure, will have its drawbacks. For example- children may not learn how to work with a larger group or make friends and other soft skills. But maybe in the times to come, the need for these kinds of skills will reduce and some other skills might come up that make social survival easy in the new normal.
2. Medicine: Telemedicine has not been accepted in the mainstream due to various reasons. One of the major reasons is that doctors have not been comfortable in using technology to provide consultations. These concerns include what may happen when the diagnosis and prescription go wrong. Due to these issues, telemedicine never picked up. But since people are forced to be inside their homes now and cannot visit their doctors, telemedicine will be the accepted, often mainstream solution. For telemedicine to deliver value, there needs to be policy-level changes clearly defining the guidelines for both doctors and patients. Insurance companies will also have to ramp up to provide new solutions for the emerging scenarios.
3. Logistics: With more people staying indoors and ordering things, logistics companies especially, the ones which provide door-to-door deliveries will have to use smarter and more efficient processes and invent profitable algorithms to manage the exponential growth in demand. Efforts to successfully use drones for door-to-door deliveries and automatic driving trucks for long-distance delivery will have to speed up. The adoption of new technology for this industry will be key to maintaining steady supply chains and avoiding chaos.
4. Fitness: Your gyms will come to your home. Wait! they are already there. The way the fitness industry has adopted to this lockdown is a good example of what is yet to come. We have seen a bunch of apps that have come up which are providing exercise classes online and have picked up significant popularity.
5. Mental health: Man is a social animal. For a lot of people, there is an intrinsic need to socialize and connect. When our social life gets restricted, people find it difficult to deal with. Due to this, we are seeing a rise in online counselling platforms that are connecting people with therapists. Companies have started roping in therapists to provide counselling services to their employees working from home. The growth of companies providing online therapy has been exponential in the last couple of weeks and it is accelerating every day. It is a clear evidence that people are facing anxiety issues due to this pandemic and are opening themselves up to professional help.
There are many more industries that will also witness much change in the post-COVID world. This new normal will create its own challenges which will require a new mindset to find solutions for them.