When the Coronavirus pandemic burst into our lives in March, virtually all of us resorted to technology to answer its challenges. Be it because we wanted to be entertained while in quarantine or because we needed to talk with our coworkers in a brand new remote work environment, technology expanded throughout our daily lives even more than usual.
This scenario had a tremendous impact on the tech landscape as a whole, but, naturally, the effects were very different in the different tech sectors. For example, the interest in hiring cybersecurity experts and .NET development services saw a significant increase while the job openings for graphic designers and BI analysts suffered a decline. Those shifts on job demands are positively related to the decision most companies have made to focus on core products and infrastructure.
But there’s something else under those fluctuations in the job market. Since the pandemic has asked us to change a lot of our habits, tech trends that had been steadily rising over the last few years experienced a significant bump over the previous few weeks. Thus the acceleration of those trends has pushed companies to change their hiring prospects. Here are the seven most changes to consider.
Given that we’re going through a health crisis, it’s only natural for technology to see a huge development in this department. We could point out several health-related tech solutions accelerated by the Coronavirus (from AI-assisted drug research to disease spread analysis). But they all pale in comparison with telemedicine out of sheer visibility.
To prevent the spread of the disease, health institutions started offering patients remote channels to provide essential care. Thus, people can talk to chatbots and get an initial diagnosis based on their symptoms or chat with a doctor through a video call. More and more people are getting diagnoses and treatments through apps and mobile platforms without leaving their homes.
Of course, the trend existed before the Coronavirus but has exploded during the pandemic. So, it’s highly likely that telemedicine will solidify as a valid option for essential care, especially if it gets more smoothly combined with wearable devices.
2. Online Shopping
Another tech winner of the pandemic is online shopping. While it’s true that the ecommerce sector was already a mammoth before the Coronavirus struck, the reality is that the stay-at-home measures helped it grow even more.
There’s a relatively simple explanation to that. On the one hand, a lot of companies adopted ecommerce as a way to keep their businesses running since they couldn’t tend to customers in their physical stores. On the other hand, many people started shopping online for everything from electronics to groceries for the first time simply because they had no choice.
The online shopping phenomenon during the pandemic saw how the already-established players grew even more, with Amazon, Walmart, and eBay at the top. But there’s so much room for new online shoppers that even new players could take a piece of the pie. There’re enough examples to support this, from restaurants that started delivering their traditional menus to their clients’ homes to clothing stores selling custom face masks.
3. Remote Work
Many companies adopted remote work as a way to move forward during the pandemic. The whole transition was a struggle for many, but after the first weeks of adjustments, most seem to be adapting well. What’s more – experts believe that many companies and employees will never go back to the office, not even when the Coronavirus crisis recedes.
Remote work as a model boosted the implementation of a lot of technologies. The most notorious ones were communication tools (especially Zoom, which briefly prompted people to call this “the age of Zoom”), but there are plenty of others that are seeing growth as well. Those include virtual private networks, cloud providers, project tracking platforms, and CRMs, among others.
It’s highly likely that remote work is here to stay, as the technological advances made over the last few years and boosted during the pandemic enables easy online collaboration regardless of the team’s location. People that work remotely (like we do here at BairesDev!) enjoy several benefits, like a better balance between private and professional life and the possibility to avoid commuting. Companies, for their part, can increase their productivity and flexibility through distributed teams.
4. Remote Learning
The widespread lockdowns around the world didn’t just affect companies and organizations – it also forced schools and universities to close their doors indefinitely. Thus, educational systems from virtually all countries faced the possibility of losing a school year. Fortunately, they decided to rely on technology to keep the learning going through online courses.
These changes led to a boom in the adoption of educational platforms and communication tools to maintain some sense of normalcy around education. Since education is mostly a face-to-face practice, there was an adjustment period for both students and teachers. However, online classes aren’t precisely new, which is why we’ve seen quite a few tech developments around them, including courses that benefited from virtual reality, 3D printing, and even robot teachers.
This new model might not become dominant shortly, but the pandemic helped it grow and reach new people that might now consider it a valid option. Besides, to truly become a more widely accepted practice, remote learning needs to reduce the inherent gaps it generates between students with different levels of tech-savviness or varying access to high-quality devices and broadband internet.
5. Digital and Contactless Payments
Two things conspired for the recent rise in digital and contactless payments. On the one hand, the growth of online shopping naturally drove to an increase in digital payments. On the other hand, the fact that cash could be carrying the virus forced central banks to recommend contactless payments through cards or e-wallets.
Thus, a lot of people got their first experience using either of those methods, which accelerated its adoption. However, there is a big challenge ahead for the adoption of digital and contactless payments to be more widespread – the fact that there are more than 1.7 billion unbanked people in the world. This lack of access is a significant obstacle for this trend to fully take hold, and the reason why the growth isn’t as massive as other trends in this list.
6. Smart Supply Chain
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the well-oiled global supply chain and created all kinds of problems for manufacturers worldwide. The response to that was disparate. Some factories chose to shut down. Others implemented security protocols to ensure social distancing and increased protection for their employees, and others invested in the development of a smart supply chain, albeit in a more limited fashion.
Technologies such as big data, cloud computing, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are all being combined in novel ways to ensure the correct performance of entire facilities. Through their combination, companies can control the manufacturing process as a whole remotely, increasing the traceability of the products, anticipating issues along the chain, and encouraging data exchange between providers.
The pandemic has laid the foundation for the supply chain 4.0 to flourish, as more and more companies start to realize the problems with the current iteration, from lack of flexibility to a heavy reliance on paper records. It’s likely that we’ll see all of those problems go away as more businesses adopt cutting-edge technology to address them.
Technologies for the Post-Pandemic World
Since most companies scrambled to answer to the challenges brought about by the Coronavirus’s sudden appearance, the organic acceleration of these trends comes to show a couple of things. First, that companies are starting to see what early adopters have known all along about these technologies – that they aren’t just more sophisticated or convenient tools, they are also capable of providing more value.
And second, that these tech trends are needed in our increasingly digital world. They can provide the flexibility required to accommodate the demands of ever-changing reality, and they can help us with our most pressing issues. Once the pandemic recedes, we’ll need both that value and flexibility to fight against the numerous challenges of the post-Coronavirus world. Fortunately, we’ll have these technologies by our side to do so.