10 Covid-Inspired Tech Trends that were Rarely Imagined Before
Predictions shall be best left to astrologers. Yet, rising from Anthropology to Statistics, and further to Space Research, we take an opportunity to project and speculate the outcomes of events.
At the risk of many of these predictions not seeing the light of day, here are the ten technology impacts we will see unfolding over the next couple of years.
1. Washable Phones
Flexible or foldable phones were concepts confied to bragging. They were not taken as serious concepts for mass adoption. Washable phones, however, will now make a lot more sense.
Who would want to sanitize the phone several times a day? Where would, especially, then men carry the sanitizers all the time! It would be much more convenient to wash the phone in any restrooms using the soap.
And then, wiping it dry with a tissue or the handkerchief. Such phones will be a reality soon. The engineering, fabrication and design teams of the likes of Apple must already be working on it.
2.UV-C sanitizer in Phones
Washing a laptop or a monitor isn’t as easy as washing a phone, you’d agree? What if you could enable your phone to operate a UV torch that could focused onto any surface and sanitize it?
Most smartphones today include advanced AI features such as face recognition, which will prevent the UV torch from switching on when it sees a face in the front.
3. Combination Vaccines
The scope for AI in Virology will expand manifold in the aftermaths of Covid 19. Vaccine research and clinical trials would consider the Corona Virus and its family of viruses together to produce “combination vaccines”. That will be preparation strategy against any possible future pandemics..
4.Work from Home Tech
Already, professionals around the world are zooming in via zoom, Google Meet and Skype etc since Day1 of the lockdown.
What’s more surprising is that several companies that have been conservative with the WFH policies, are rather recordinga higher employee productivity against what they could see when employees used to operate from the offices.
This paves a clear way for many new web and mobile solutions to show up, and these will be not be confined to meetings but will also empower processes in WFH model.
The HR Teams will have to find new ways to monitor and assess employee productivity and performances. The remote working scenario poses a potential risk of feeble bonding between employees. Hence, virtual socializing platforms focused on B2B will prove to be highly significant.
Since we moved into WFH model, interviews are being conducted via digital tools. This is going to become a norm even in the post pandemic scenarios.
However, the applications for video interviews will have to eventually incorporate deep learning AI that will assess body language, responsiveness, cultural fitment, collaborative attitude and many other parameters. AI will be leverage to assess candidates with models running on a candidate’s social media profiles, psychometrics, resume’, etc
6. Broadband & 5G
This is a “no-brainer”. With three big E’s - Employment, Education and Entertainment moving into confines of homes, the demand for high-speed internet has already been high. And, this would grow further while keeping the affordability factor prominently alive.
I won’t be surprised if most of the economies subsidize high-speed connectivity for users assuming the long=term goal of productivity. Let’s imagine how well will this bring down the pressures on urban infrastructure when “non-emergency” operations will be carried out from home.
Hence, Huawei or no Huawei, this area is going to see fresh impetus and investments, worldwide.
And we shall also see a lot of collaboration between the countries worldwide. In the next two years, we will see a few existing telcos & telco equipment makers going down the tube and new ones emerge that bring in 5G technology breakthroughs.
This is not a new concept. We have seen a lot of startups already working in this space for a long time., However, the pandemic is providing an extraordinary thrust to this huge step up for home automation.
We will see more a lot more being covered under remote activities now. Voice-based controls, connected devices and appliances, Embedded AI, etc to reckon the intelligence into systems, so that, these could mimic human behavior—especially, that of the prime users inside the home.
Additionally, if developed economies push new age manufacturing, we would see the air conditioner, the refrigerator, the cleaning appliances in shapes and sizes we haven’t seen ever before. More voice-controlled robots serving you tea. Anyone?
Even when offices re-open, employees may feel hesitatant in going or touching the elevator buttons,the vending machine, etc or exchanging the TV remotes while delivering presentations.
In the next 12 months, we will see many of such appliances enabling the touch-free systems.
These touchless sensor-based operations with Infrared and other sensing technologies will make a lot more sense.
Also, most of these will be Alexa-enabled. When you say “take me to the 4th floor”, the elevator would oblige just the Aladdin’s Genie.
9. Digital Libraries
Covid-19 has been instrumental in bringing about something, that had remained nearly an impossibility until now.
It has confirmed a paperless future for all of us. No more lending and burrowing of paper-based books from libraries!
Our libraries may turn into museums in a decade from now to showcase how paper-based books were being read in a previous era. I foresee a lot of players coming into the audiobooks category where the success of a book won’t depend on how many copies it sold. Rather, it would matter more to see how much of sponsorship and ads it could gather. Books may have to be shared free of cost with the readers. With regard to paper magazines and newspapers: “Hasta la vista baby!”
10. 3D in sports
This would be more of a Wishlist than a prediction. Can we view an NBA game or the English Premier League or the IPL live in an immersive 3D experience? What if Alexa selects my ecstatic roars and tragic moans (not my conversations) and projects it on amplifiers inside the stadium along with the same expressions of millions of other viewers?
Will that substitute for a live crowd to the players for the empty stands? May be, but my privacy will be a question mark, I know.
We’d likely see several collaborations happening between the countries worldwide. In the next two years, we may see several existing telcos & telco equipment makers, or leading players across different industries going down the tube and new ones emerging. Expect a breakthrough across every industry and indeed, Technology remains at the root of each of these revolutions.
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