It is becoming increasingly clear that we are living in a historic moment, one that will define a generation and be talked about for years to come. It remains to be known how we will move beyond “safer at home” protocols, but one thing is certain, we are experiencing a forced digital transformation that will not likely be undone. Any service that can exist virtually will.
In a few short weeks, we have seen digital transformation come at the world like an unforgiving tsunami. Businesses, schools, healthcare, and extracurricular activities have all been forced to cross the digital divide and adapt to performing and delivering services virtually. While some were ahead of the curve, none were necessarily prepared to shift entire workforces and processes to a remote first strategy. Fast forward a couple of weeks and nearly the whole world knows how to “Zoom” someone, attend a virtual happy hour, and join their favorite workout class from the comfort of their living room. These fundamental shifts in how society behaves will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on how we work, play, and interact. Many facets of our world will see advancements, but the three below will likely be adopted and refined at an expedited pace.
The world is currently participating in the largest work from home experiment ever conducted and the result will likely expand the number and type of roles that can be performed remotely. From a technology standpoint this means continued innovation and advancements in broadband, video conferencing, team collaboration tools, and cybersecurity. While industries may not shift entirely to remote, there will definitely be a compelling argument to allow more employees the option of working from home to avoid long commutes, reduce costs for commercial office space, and reduce congestion in urban areas.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, health systems had been slowly expanding telemedicine offerings and patients were open to them but were largely unaware of offerings and still preferred in person visits. However, in the blink of an eye everything changed. The rate of adoption has skyrocketed in the past few weeks. Previously reluctant providers are now pushing a “video visit” first approach aimed at protecting people from exposure to unnecessary risks that inevitably can occur during in-office visits. Widespread adoption of telemedicine requires continued advancements in at home diagnostic technologies, rural broadband, network security, and interoperability between telemedicine and electronic health records among other things.
Until recently most people didn’t think twice about signing their name on a store payment screen at checkout or touching a door handle as they entered the office. However, with the rapid onset of COVID-19 those communal surfaces are now feared as potential sources of contagion. This has led consumers to rethink behaviors and preference for touchless technologies such as hand gestures, voice recognition, and tap to pay. To support this, cyber-security, artificial intelligence, and machine learning will need to accelerate.
While it’s difficult to predict all the ways that the current situation will impact us going forward, one thing is certain, it’s serving as a catalyst for digital transformation across the globe.
For updates from SVA Consulting regarding COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 resource page.