COVID-19 Technology Trends: What’s Different Now?
In January 2020, there was this new virus in China that was doing rounds on some news outlets. We never thought much of it, and now, we are writing about COVID technology trends. What happened?
We’ve all heard about it, and it was maybe interesting enough for us to click on an article about it, but that was it. It was just something new on the other side of the world. Now, some six months later, we’re facing the COVID-19 pandemic. There are almost 20 million people who have become infected, while hundreds of thousands failed to recover. We’ve experienced many new things that most of us have never faced before. Social distancing, forced remote work, lockdowns, mandatory masks, etc.
The pandemic, obviously, hasn’t affected only our personal lives. We’re currently going through a worldwide economic crisis, with millions of people losing their jobs, and companies being forced into closing down. However, it wasn’t that bad for everyone. Huge companies that do their business online, such as Amazon, have seen a massive surge in their financial gain. Due to social distancing and working from home, we’ve moved even more towards the internet.
The truth is, nobody can say for sure when the pandemic will end altogether. And nobody knows what the global economy will look like when that happens. But, some changes that occurred during the pandemic are here to stay. And we’re not talking about masks.
Let’s see the latest COVID trends in technology.
Due to the nature of the virus, we, as a society, had to make lots of changes to our everyday habits. We now have social distancing, a phrase nobody ever really uttered until March 2020. Coupled with remote work, we spend much more time inside our homes than we used to. As a result, our dependence on an internet connection has increased massively. While online shopping isn’t a new and innovative tech trend, the importance of digital businesses has risen during the pandemic.
Companies that focus on e-commerce will find that there’s an increase in demand, pretty much regardless of what they’re offering. We’re not only talking about delivering food. As most companies have moved to a work-from-home model, services such as cloud computing, big data sharing centers, and AIaaS (AI as a Service) have all gained many new supporters and customers. Microsoft, for example, reported a whopping 775% increase in cloud customers.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
While AI is not a newly emerging technology, its importance has risen during the pandemic. More and more companies are offering e-commerce, while more and more customers are looking for online shopping. AI provides a considerable improvement to the experience of your customer. Most commonly, AI comes in the shape of automated chatbots, which allow you to offer 24/7 customer service. Another common aspect of AI is reading your customer’s tendencies and predicting their future purchases and wishlists.
However, AI implementation is not such a straightforward process, especially for new and inexperienced e-commerce companies. AI goes through a lot of data to make a decision, and AI-based systems don’t come cheap. That’s why AIaaS companies have become popular. This year, thousands of companies have decided to move their data to the cloud, and the best way to do so is to opt for an AIaaS solution.
Mobile App Development
Another trend we’ve seen picking up the pace during the COVID-19 pandemic is the shift in mobile app development. Tightly connected to the rise of e-commerce, people now use their mobile devices more than ever before. Virtually every company with any form of online presence wants an app of their own. For example, this has made mobile games more popular than before. Due to the massive demand, there’s a small timeframe for developing an app and getting it out there. If you want to develop an app from scratch, you will need months, and you simply can’t afford to wait that long.
One of the significant changes in app development, primarily influenced by COVID, has to do with low-code and no-code development. Instead of typing out thousands of code lines, no-code software development allows you to construct your software using graphical components and drag-and-drop features. Consequently, app developers can build a fully-operational app within a week instead of taking months to do the same thing.
Apps on the Rise
Aside from the way developers code them, there’s a new trend in the mobile app world. As we’re still practicing staying away from each other, apps that offer contactless services (which replace human interaction) are becoming more popular by the day. For instance, restaurants worldwide have started using apps that allow customers to come and order food without a waiter coming close to them.
Additionally, apps for safe communication are also on the rise. For instance, you can now have a medical checkup online with your doctor communicating with you via an app. Most companies nowadays hold meetings virtually, and team building happens via Skype or Zoom. But, Zoom has had to face lawsuits due to companies losing essential data or having it exposed. That brings us to cybersecurity.
As you can see, virtually all aspects of our lives have moved online. While some won’t stick around once we get rid of COVID-19 (many of us will return to the office), some trends are here to stay. The convenience of satisfying your needs (buying products and services) from the comfort of your own home won’t go away with social distancing.
All these companies now have vast amounts of data to utilize, but more importantly, to protect. Cyberattacks have existed long before COVID, but their numbers have gone up as companies became ever-increasingly digital. In 2020, we’ve seen a sharp increase in phishing, IoT (Internet of Things) attacks, ransomware, cryptojacks, etc. These attacks have been more successful lately. Simply, many companies have decided (or been forced) to move their business online during the pandemic. As such, they don’t have a proper defense against these attacks.
Many see blockchain as the future of cybersecurity. The main aim of a cyberattack is to gain access to someone’s data, and then change or destroy it. Blockchain can put a stop to that.
When blockchain came to be, it was basically a storage system for cryptocurrencies, most commonly Bitcoin. But, we can use blockchain to store data that isn’t just a currency.
Here’s how blockchain works in a nutshell. Basically, it’s a distributed network for millions of users around the world who don’t physically own any of the data stored on the blockchain. Blockchain spreads the data on a massive cluster of independent computers (that no single entity can own). As a consequence, you can only add new data to it. You can’t alter or copy what’s already there.
Blockchain uses cryptography to safeguard its data, which makes the data pretty much inaccessible via a cyberattack. A good sign that blockchain is the future is that all major companies that deal with data (Microsoft, Mastercard, IBM, FedEx, and others) have all invested in blockchain technology.
Other COVID Technology Trends
We’ve decided to focus on the immediate changes in technology trends that COVID has directly influenced. But, new trends pop up always and independent of the pandemic. For instance, 2020 also saw the introduction of 5G networks and the widespread involvement of IoT devices. Although 5G won’t be the standard soon, when it does become the norm, it will provide us with the internet that’s about five times faster than what we have now.
Another trend on the rise is the IoT devices. When you look at what they can offer and how you can utilize them in your smart home, they show the future is near. For instance, sooner rather than later, we’ll be able to have an IoT device that’s connected to our organs. This way, we will be able to predict disease or an issue long before any symptoms start showing up. We’ll also be able to use precision medicine, a more personalized way of treating health issues.
To sum it up, the COVID-19 pandemic brought some major changes to the way we use technology in 2020. Although the internet was ever-present in our lives before, our dependence on the online world has increased tenfold. Now, e-commerce businesses are the way to go, as all of our transactions tend to be digital and contactless.
That has also brought a need for a faster way of developing software. Also, we need a more solid way of protecting our data. Since the COVID-inspired move to the digital sphere has made companies store huge amounts of data on the net, cyberattacks have become more frequent. Subsequently, blockchain has been on the rise as a leading technology when it comes to cybersecurity.
With COVID-19 still on the loose, we don’t know what other innovations and trends we’ll see during the pandemic. One thing is for certain — online business has become more valuable than ever, and it’s impossible to imagine that it will go back to its former place once the disease is gone.