The interesting thing about any crisis is that it accelerates some trends and can root those afterward. After weeks of monitoring the impact of COVID-19, we’re looking at the future and wondering what comes next. The Coronavirus crisis, isolation, and economic fallout could permanently change the ways of entertainment, consumer behavior, the technologies we use, and many more.
In this article, we’ve gathered 10 cross-industry trends that are developing much faster due to the COVID-19.
1. VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE ECONOMY
The virtual experience economy takes such things as traveling, retail, gatherings (e.g. conferences, exhibitions, and more) to the next level. The location, accessibility, and personal capability are no longer a factor. Canceled live events are giving way to live-streamed home productions or events with virtual audiences, including concerts, sports events, operas, museum tours, and films.
Sherrif Karamat, CEO at the PCMA considers the following:
From the completely online digital experience, such as the Fortnight / DJ Marshmello party, to festivals and conferences with sensory rooms built in to stimulate better mindfulness, the Virtual Experience Economy is quickly evolving out of the traditional ‘experiential’ event. If the experts in the events industry are to be believed, it is set to dominate the meetings and events industry for another ten years to come.
E-commerce and live-streaming have been merging since 2017. The live-streaming market is now growing bigger and faster, and the mix of entertainment, community, and commerce will raise e-commerce going forward, on a global scale.
3. VIRTUAL COMPANIONS
As people become accustomed to digital assistants and chatbots, their expectations will evolve, and some people will start to seek for virtual personalities that have the power to entertain, educate, befriend, and heal them.
Seems like Black Mirror trends are coming to life faster than we thought.
4. M2P (MENTOR TO PROTÉGÉ)
People will continue to spend mindless hours online. But many of them will also strive to use that time productively, therefore embracing platforms that connect them with teachers, experts, and mentors to learn new skills.
Any business either with an online platform or community could try to implement a self-improvement trend. It will bring both: benefits for the consumers/clients/community and higher loyalty to the brand/business/company.
a-Commerce or automated Commerce appeared in 2017 is now gaining popularity. With Machine learning and Artificial intelligence, it's possible to cover the increasing demand for contact-free interactions. During and after the crisis both businesses and customers will welcome automated alternatives more than before.
6. THE BURNOUT
The virus is not the only thing causing anxiety. From now on any organization that can help improve people’s mental well-being will be welcomed and respected in the society.
7. REMOTE WORK
Since the very beginning of the crisis, many companies all over the world have their employees working from home. Remote work can now be easily performed with the help of technologies including VPNs, cloud technology, virtual meetings, work collaboration tools, and many others.
Despite remote work can also arise challenges to employers and employees (For example, people may experience loneliness and lack of work-life balance), it allows business owners to reduce lease costs by hiring remote teams.
8. 3D PRINTING
3D printing technology has been deployed to ease the pressure on supply chains and governments. 3D printing offers flexibility: the same printer can produce different products based on different designs and materials, and simple parts can be often made onsite quickly without a long procurement process and shipments.
Of course, 3D printing forces are now mainly concentrated on the production of medical equipment.
9. 5G & ICT
With stay-at-home orders in place around the world, hundreds of employees working remotely, and distance learning, high-speed connectivity has become essential. In our previous article dedicated to tech trends, 5G network was mentioned as the very first trend to be evolving within 2020. Even though the majority of reports have predicted a downturn in telecom revenues and delay in 5G deployment, there is no doubt the pandemic will reinforce and accelerate existing trends.
Here is what 451 Research said:
We've never been more dependent on broadband service, which is concurrently allowing us to work, learn, shop, entertain ourselves and socialize during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this way, the increasing focus on broadband performance at the center of our work and personal lives can be viewed as a long-term driver for 5G, especially where 5G can provide a viable alternative to inferior home broadband service.
10. Supply Chain 4.0
Supply Chains 4.0 are those which include the mix of disruptive technologies from Industry 4.0., e.i. IoT, Big Data Analytics, Cloud Computing, Robotics, Additive Manufacturing, Blockchain, Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence.
Supply Chains 4.0 has been the talk of researchers for the last 4 years. But the worldwide policies, norms, and regulations have not been able to keep up with the pace of innovation. That’s why the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network was created - to accelerate the benefits of science and technology. Most likely, the current situation will speed up the adoption of the above technologies in the context of global supply chains.
This crisis is certainly stressful for each and everyone, but it also speeds up the processes that could have been postponed for years. The pandemic will anyway affect all the spheres of our lives, either it is business, politics, or the technological sphere. In general, the current situation demonstrates how important digital readiness is.
The whole world is now striving to mitigate the impact of the current crisis. Hopefully, we will meet the new healthy world soon.
Stay safe everyone!