The world is out-of-office. It’s closed until further notice.
It’s incredible how the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has affected our daily life and forced the governments around the world to take serious measures that no one ever has thought of. Millions of people are locked in their homes, students are not going to schools or universities, countries are shutting down their borders, restaurants and cafes are closed, large sports competitions are cancelled, social events are forbidden, and a total curfew is imposed in some countries. The world is entirely off.
Hopefully, these circumstances will come to an end, eventually, but nobody knows exactly when. This might be in 12-18 months when a new vaccine is discovered or when enough people get infected so that the world develop what is called ‘herd immunity’. It’s also quite possible that the virus will continue to exist. We will then adapt our life to co-exist through adopting new social behaviors and styles.
What is pretty sure that we are currently passing through a global event that will change how we used to live our life. Below are some of the areas of our life that will be changed.
Many companies and organizations today have been forced to find ways to continue their operations through remote working. We can see that many of these organizations have invested in the collaboration & teleconferencing tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Jabber and WebEx. They needed to avail the necessary tools to their employees to continue doing their jobs from home, given the lock down situation.
Soon we will see new policies and protocols to regulate this remote working practice, and this will extend to the team autonomy, power of authority, relationships and organizational culture. It will be hard in the beginnings but it will succeed. Companies will start to recognize the benefits of this model in terms of versatility, productivity and time efficiencies and lower cost structures in terms of the salaries, benefits and required facilities.
Remote working will be the new normal in the post-COVID19 era.
Online shopping has been trending already in the past few years, putting pressure on the traditional brick and mortar shops. Nevertheless, many people maintained buying their groceries and fresh food from the local grocery store or supermarkets. Nowadays, even this practice is changing. People are turning completely for online shopping, even for their groceries and fresh food products.
This trend will continue, and it will shape the future of this business. We will see these local stores developing more access to online shopping and providing more flexibility and choices to their clients like store pick-up and delivery. We will see also various offers and discounts for planned & regular purchase.
Additionally, new third party applications will appear to offer purchase and delivery services. A lot of innovative ideas will emerge as a result of this trend. On the other side, a significant decline in the traditional shops will be seen.
Healthcare System Revamp
This epidemic had a significant impact on healthcare systems worldwide. The quick spread of the infection and the rising number of patients presented a quite heavy burden on the whole system. There was a rush to find smart ways to identify the infected cases and to bring them to the hospitals for treatment. Also, there is a race to find a cure for this disease that relies on new technology tools and skip the convention ways. The amount of knowledge and lessons learnt from this situation will pave the way for more innovation in the healthcare sector.
Pharmaceutical & biotech companies are racing with record speed to find a vaccine to the COVID-19. They are adopting entirely new processes and technologies to develop it. Traditionally, the scientists would create a similar version of the virus in the lab and use it to develop the vaccine. In the Coronavirus case, China was able to share the genetic sequence of the virus to the global scientific community. Scientists picked it up and used it to create mRNA molecules that can be injected into the human body. This injection should trigger the appropriate immune response in the body without exposing it to the virus itself.
This approach will pave the way to entirely new ways in vaccinology. We will see new firms and start-ups disrupting the incumbent industry players by adopting these new techniques.
Test and Identification Techniques
The urging need for a quick virus detection drove the way of adopting innovative ways to do the viral tests. Biotech firms are working fast to develop test kits that give more rapid results with less need for lab-environment. Instead of the conventional PCR tests, they are using new ways to directly detect the DNA of the virus in a matter of hours instead of days. Also, we can see other start-ups that are using different methods to help to diagnose the infection. For example, Butterfly IQ, a start-up that developed a handheld ultrasound probe connected to a smartphone, and that can be used to scan the lungs to detect suspected COVID-19 Patients.
Future Healthcare Investment
More investments will be poured into the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors to avoid similar situations in the future. Funds will be used to increase the capacity of the hospitals in terms of the beds, ICU resources and medical staff. We will see more fund to the research and developments. We will develop more sophisticated policies, procedures and anti-pandemic crisis management protocols to better managing any similar pandemics. These policies and procedures will be global and under the supervision of the WHO.
New Business Models
In the world after Coronavirus, we will see new business models that will be invented to cope up with the changing culture and social behavior.
People will be reluctant to go to hospitals to avoid or reduce the risks of contamination. Hospitals and clinics will develop remote clinics. The patients with no critical conditions will connect to their doctors, explain their symptoms and may use a wearable device to detect their vital signs. Then, the doctors will use these inputs along with the patient medical history and family data to provide his diagnoses and recommended medications.
There will be more stringent rules and policies regarding the health, safety and hygiene, especially for any people-intensive businesses like restaurants, schools, cinemas and transport means. We may hear of new standards and compliance imposed by regulatory. This will create a need for new service providers who are focused on sterilization and disinfection service.
This is not an entirely new business, it is existing already, but focusing more on the hospitals and clinics. Now, it will be expanded to other sectors along with more verticalization of its supply chain, including the labor and the supply of the products.
Online Parties and Events
Many musicians and singers today, while confined at home, started to do online parties on their Instagram and Facebook accounts using the live broadcast feature. These parties are free and presented as a friendly gesture during the pandemic tough time. However, eventually, someone will pick it up and offer it as a new service with more quality delivery model and enhanced user experience.
Booking Applications for Gyms
Gyms usually a crowded place and a perfect environment for contamination. The gyms will regulate the entry to avoid being at capacity in the future. We’ll likely see a new booking system where everyone needs to book a time slot to train. You log on an application, check the available slots and book it. Upon booking, you receive a QR code that you can use at the Gym entrance gate.
New Supply Chain Strategy
At the beginning of the pandemic, China closed factories and entire cities. Many manufacturers around the world froze their operations due to the shortage of raw materials and intermediate products. The world discovered the massive dependency on China for the supply of these materials. Not only this but also, many retailers have seen shortages in consumer products that used to be imported from China.
In the future, these companies and manufacturers will adopt a different strategy when it comes to the supply chain. They will diversify their suppliers and create various alternatives, including local resourcing. They will also have better risk mitigation processes to avoid falling in a similar situation. This doesn’t mean they will not rely on Chinese firms given their attractive cost base. Still, it means they will avoid having those firms as the single point of failure in their manufacturing process.
Airport Security and Health Tracking
Airports security has been completely changed after the 9/11 attacks. It will likely have another refurbishment soon. Temperature scanners will be positioned next to the security scanners. To board a plane, we may be subject to declare our recent travel history and respond to a questionnaire about our health. There may be a futuristic way to identify diseases on the spot and then we will be subject to check every time we get to travel.
We will have new applications that are integrated with our wearable devices to monitor our health and vital signs like temperature, blood pressure and heart rates. These applications will able to track our movement and location history. They will then combine all information to generate a report on our health, level of vulnerability, and whether you have been exposed to a hazardous location. It’s no-brainer that boarding a plane in the future will not as simple as today.
With this COVID-19 spreading around the globe, one of the identified sources of this spread was the cash transactions. Many people now are more risk-averse when it comes to using cash, they are trying to avoid any source of contamination. For that, they will go to the cashless transactions and most likely towards the contactless applications.
The cashless payments have been on the rise for a while. From payment cards to e-wallets, multiple options and applications have been introduced to the consumers. The most recent ones are even contactless where you need to just get your phone next to the point-of-sale or to scan a QR code with your phone camera to complete the transactions.
While the cash payments still account for most of the transactions worldwide, but this will change soon, and we will see countries investing in the payment infrastructure and financial inclusion policies. Till then, start-ups and fintech firms will come with much more new solutions that can be afforded by different societies and economies.
Not only that, but we will also see more successful virtual schooling practice where the school provide an engaging teaching model for remote students. They will also avail new teaching platform that offers practical ways for interactions between the students, their teacher and their colleagues.
We will see online sports classes for training and remote coaching. We will be able to virtually join tours in world-famous museums and attend cultural events and art galleries via our computer.
The only take is our privacy which will be at significant risk. But, eventually, legalizations and laws will be developed to protect them. Life will move on and will continue, but we will never live the same way we used to do.
Stay Calm and Move On