It has become clear that until a vaccine arrives, there is no life post-coronavirus there is only life with coronavirus.
It is up to technology leaders to understand how work and business will change and how to use this situation to reshape the world for the better.
As Peter Drucker said in his 1980 book, Managing In Turbulent Times, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”
We don’t know what will change as a result of the pandemic. New data becomes available every day, and models and predictions proliferate, yet no one can say with certainty what the course of the virus will be, much less the long-term impact it will have on our work.
Technology and business leaders need to look at certain hypotheses to identify opportunities and hidden risks and to understand the potential implications of the choices we make today. Some of these trends have already been in motion for some time and will likely be affected by the change in market conditions.
Speed Of Technological Innovation
Tech innovation is poised to accelerate during and after the pandemic. While a lot of startups and tech companies will go out of business or scale down their expansion and investment in R&D, others will get a tailwind. Consumers and businesses alike have been increasingly looking for digitally integrated experiences. This trend is going to accelerate innovation and adoption in communications, connectivity and collaboration.
Significant investment will go into new applications of virtual reality, artificial intelligence and 3D printing. AI will benefit from the data renaissance and will quickly transform healthcare services, sales and marketing, and security. The latter will play a major role due to the surge in online connectivity and the increase in pandemic-related scams.
This situation is driving a fundamental change in the way we work and consume products by disrupting supply chains, business services and manufacturing. A new chapter of human development will bring about additional B2B technology advancements and require organizations to rethink how they create value.
Adoption Of New Technology
The tech clash phenomenon, growing hostility toward big tech companies and a more generalized opposition to innovations driven by information technology have reversed in the past few months. Instead, consumers are increasingly embracing technology and becoming reliant on it during the lockdown. People are warming up to it playing a major role in their lives, even closing their eyes to previous data concerns. There is a good chance this trend will continue, as evidenced by the ever-increasing downloads and monthly active usage across many applications.
Connectivity 5G, broadband internet will play an even bigger role. Fewer hands involved in processes mean less virus transmission. Unfortunately, this puts some of the most vulnerable workers at risk of being replaced by automation in factories and stores, goods delivery, education and services. For many others, virtual sessions will become the norm, and the use of automation will increase across all industries.
As predicted by Marc Andreessen, software will continue eating the world. This process will only accelerate after the lockdown, helped by the advancements in artificial intelligence and consumers’ increasing comfort with data sharing.
Effects On The Knowledge Workers’ Workplace
Many teams and companies will embrace 100% remote work or similar policies. Increased adoption of online conferencing, collaboration and remote work applications will make these solutions ever more integrated into the knowledge workers’ routine.
Middle managers will bear most of the burden. As they realize that a properly equipped and trained remote workforce can be very productive, often at a reduced cost, they will be looking to invest in measures that enable this transition. Technology that augments or replaces in-person experiences will be hot. There will be an increased demand for tools that help to manage and control remote work, including performance management, communication, onboarding and skills development for both managers and workers.
If the pandemic containment measures fail in the near term, regulators may further restrict interpersonal communication, causing more disruption to businesses. In order to provide safer working conditions and limit further impact on business productivity, additional investment will go into work automation.
Impact On Data Sharing And Privacy
It’s unclear if people will become more comfortable sharing information and data with companies and governments. Currently, data is the most critical component of training a successful AI model. If more of it were to become available, it would cause a leap forward in artificial intelligence, making it a major part of everyone’s life.
If the virus’ spread is not contained, more funding will go to surveillance measures in hopes of getting the pandemic under control. Governments may enforce additional data sharing, surveillance and facial recognition to track citizens’ interactions. This is likely to cause political instability and raise global tensions.
Companies are already racing to build apps and Bluetooth beacons to track employee movement. While there is no evidence that this would make workplaces safer, it takes employee surveillance to another level. A backlash and subsequent ripples across the entire data privacy domain are possible.
This news was originally published at forbes.com