Healthcare, robotics and digital services grow profits while travel and live entertainment face devastating declines and unknown futures. So, what key trends will businesses in key industries face in a couple of years, amid the pandemic aftermath?
Renewed focus on healthcare
Covid-19 has drastically changed economies worldwide. According to a searched words report by Google, coronavirus and self-service at home were the top U.S. search queries in 2020.
Covid-19 has impacted global trade and prompted people stay at home. Now that the initial lessons are learnt, national governments and industries have started to develop safeguard measures for the future.
This means healthcare, pharmaceutical and vaccine development institutions and security services will receive huge investment to carry out necessary research and planning.
Remote is the new normal
Work from home, videoconferencing, remote working, and online events are the new normal.
Companies, large and small, have accommodated teams working outside of a traditional office environment. While tech giants like Microsoft, Google and IBM have announced their plans to continue working from home permanently.
Thanks to a robust variety of software for communication and project management, many businesses discovered incredible opportunities in remote working. Using Zoom, Teams, Hangouts, Trello, and/or Atlassian products companies are able to perform their duties on time with stronger operational efficiencies with the reduced cost of office space and associated costs.
The trend will continue well into 2022 as more business owners reap the benefits of a hybrid, split, or fully remote workforce. Interestingly, for some companies, the lockdown has provided new business opportunities given home dwellers have an increased demand for convenience services.
Virtual Reality goes mainstream
After years struggling to breakthrough as a mainstream technology, virtual reality has finally made sustainable inroads. Now it is VR’s moment to shine.
VR technology developed a healthcare platform to reduce face to face interaction of doctors with the infected COVID-19 patients. People, stuck at home for prolonged periods of time, desired long walks and travels, so it’s no surprise that Google searches for virtual field trips and virtual museum tours were met with a substantial increase.
In 2020, people took long walks, played video games, studied new skills, and even talked to their loved ones across the world with the help of VR. Even skeptics have become acquainted with VR, giving it a chance to enter new markets.
Nick Grebenkine, a VR investor, says, “I see a big rise in the market. A couple of years ago we had very few competitors in our region, but the number of VR suggestions has almost doubled since spring 2020.”
Autonomous vehicle expansion
Tesla made autonomous cars a hot topic. The company’s competitors watched closely and joined the self-driving car technology race.
Ford and Honda announced plans to present their own autonomous cars by 2026. Mercedes-Benz and General Motors are expected to add autopilot features to their cars by 2023. Meanwhile, the growing preference for green energy has prompted auto producers to heavily invest in this long-promised technology.
Contactless delivery and digital services
Food delivery apps became more important for both business owners and their customers as more people ordered takeout and groceries during the pandemic. DoorDash, UBER, Grubhub, and Postmates raked in “roughly $5.5 billion in combined revenue from April through September, more than twice as much as their combined $2.5 billion in revenue during the same period last year.”
The increased adoption of delivery services can be felt around the globe. Meituan, China’s food delivery giant, hit a $100 billion valuation amid the pandemic as it combined its contactless delivery with self-designed autonomous delivery vehicles in the outskirts of Beijing in an effort to push further into “contactless” initiatives spurred by the Covid-19 outbreak.
In the U.S., Nuro, a robotics company, unveiled its second-generation autonomous delivery vehicle in early 2020 with a federal greenlight to drive on public roads. In late 2020, Amazon received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate its fleet of Prime Air delivery drones.
According to Research and Markets Drone Delivery Report, the “global drone market will grow from $14 billion in 2018 to over $43 billion in 2024.” And drone deliveries will be the fastest growing application method within that market.
IoT, AI and automation
Artificial intelligence will infiltrate a new markets in upcoming years. In industrial manufacturing and supply chains, AI is often used within the robotic and IoT-powered systems that amass data in a single pool for further performance optimization and extensive analytics.
The pandemic has also boosted automation tools development designed for healthcare, delivery, logistics, military. Automated solutions powered by artificial intelligence enable businesses to operate successfully without human control with no risk of fraud or errors due to inattention.
E-learning for everyone
By April 2020, about half of the world’s population was under lockdown, with more than 3.9 billion people in more than 90 countries or territories having been asked or ordered to stay at home by their governments. These interventions to slow the spread of Covid-19 accelerated the online education industry.
Those who lost their jobs due along with others who suffered from stay-at-home boredom took advantage of e-learning to launch new careers and increase skill sets. Linkedin, Coursera, MIT, Yuanfudao, Udacity, and other educational platforms were met with a surge of users last year. While some studied, other online learning enthusiasts launch paid private courses using well-known platforms or their personal websites.
Beyond the pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented changes to our lives and the economy. As a result, technological development has accelerated across industries. The business impact is undeniable and remains the biggest risk to growth.
According to McKinsey & Company, “Public health is still the chief concern.” We can expect to “see progress toward normalcy during the second quarter of 2021 in the United Kingdom and the United States and herd immunity in the third quarter.”
While, the “new wave of cases in the European Union means that these transitions are likely to come later. But new variants of the coronavirus and other risks threaten that timeline.” Today’s organizations can do their best to prepare for the next normal with these key trends and timelines in mind.
Nick Grebyonkin, is the Founder of Aetsoft, a custom blockchain and automation solution development for enterprises.
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