If there were any lingering doubts about the necessity of digital transformation to business longevity, the coronavirus has silenced them. In a contactless world, the vast majority of interactions with customers and employees must take place virtually. With rare exception, operating digitally is the only way to stay in business through mandated shutdowns and restricted activity. It’s go digital, or go dark.
Automation and the greater use of digital technologies have long been seen as key factors that will influence the way we work in the future.1 Advances in robotics and digital technologies (including AI) are continuing to enable the automation of a greater range of tasks. This includes automation of physical tasks (such as using robotics in factories to operate production lines) and knowledge-based work (such as report writing and language translation). Industrial robotics are already being used across a range of sectors, including food and drink, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.2,3 AI technologies are increasingly being used for customer service roles, for example, the use of AI chatbots to deal with customer queries.
There are many reasons to dislike what the pandemic is doing to society, such as the rifts that it’s creating. At the same time, there are particular ways that it’s bringing about technological advancement.
We’ll take a moment to look at some of these exciting emerging technologies right now. Some of these existed before Covid-19 arrived, but now companies are using them more than ever before.
The Zero-Trust Security Model
The zero-trust security model is one technological advancement that the pandemic has allowed to dominate several niches. Essentially, the zero-trust model works well for companies that are trying a hybrid work setup, with some of their employees working from home while others continue commuting to a centralized location.
With zero trust, you have better security measures that can determine a few different things. The first is that the appropriate individuals are logging into a software suite, and no one unauthorized, like a hacker, is getting in. The second is that only the appropriate devices are logging into a company’s network. The third is that the network security is robust, so no one can attack the business that way.
While there is never such a thing as a foolproof, one hundred percent safe system, the zero-trust model is one that has shown excellent results since businesses have started to implement it more. We have even reached a point where companies are beginning to offer the zero-trust model as a software as a service option so that not all business entities need to create bespoke versions themselves.
More Companies Are Implementing Apps Than Ever Before
There were some companies before the pandemic started that had an online presence, and nearly all of them had their own website. Almost anyone who does business with a company would expect that. Not every business had its own app, though, and some tried to avoid creating one.
There are far fewer app-resistant companies now, though. The reason is that, more than ever, companies understand that individuals want to communicate and do business with them on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. This was already happening quite a bit before Covid-19 struck, but now, it has accelerated to the point that almost every company accepts they need an application to compete.
These apps can help the companies in question in many ways. They can assist with the branding process, and they might also have unique features that a website doesn’t. Companies that felt like they couldn’t find the money in their budget for app design in the past often feel differently about it now.
eCommerce Has Exploded as Well
The eCommerce model and the various technologies that go along with it have also seen a sharp boost since Covid-19 first appeared. Many companies that had brick-and-mortar locations have shuttered them permanently since 2020. They have come to realize that some people are much less inclined to do in-person shopping, and sinking their resources into online sales makes a lot more sense.
The technologies that go along with eCommerce include things like electronic currencies as payment methods and chatbots. Many companies that are eliminating brick-and-mortar stores are now accepting cryptocurrency.
They are creating chatbots that can talk to potential customers on their app or website. If the customer has a typical question, the chatbot can respond to it. When an individual has something in mind that the chatbot cannot answer, that’s when it will pass them along to a live operator.
This means that the company can employ far fewer human employees to answer customer queries. It reduced their overhead, which comes in handy if they ever want to expand into new markets. They might also use the money they save to invest in their R and D departments.
As the pandemic continues, it’s inevitable that technological advancements will as well. The ongoing issues many niches face have forced the dominating companies and those trying to make an impact to get creative about problem-solving. Many new technologies will start to appear as more time passes.
It is hard to find silver linings with something like Covid-19, but humans are resourceful creatures, and new tech is one way that is manifesting itself. The companies that are extremely creative and also the most flexible are the ones that are probably going to make the most money and expand the most during this uncertain era. That’s certainly something to keep in mind if you want to start your own business right now as well.