The COVID-19 pandemic is showing no signs of slowing down. With the number of cases reaching a new high every day, people have no other choice but to stay at home. In such a dire situation, technology has proved to be a boon for people of all age groups. Whether it’s a homemaker, student, working professional or a senior citizen, people have shifted to digital platforms to meet their everyday needs. With experts from the WHO predicting that the virus is here to stay, it has become quite clear that the dependency on technology will be the new normal, at least till there is a vaccine or medicine to combat the virus.
The Role of Technology in Coping with the New Normal
The impact of COVID-19 has been huge, not only health-wise but also economically. With the supply of both essential and non-essential items being affected, technology has proved to be a saviour for everyone. Not just offices, even schools, and colleges have gone online amidst the lockdown. Starting from education to entertainment, all the industries are switching to digital platforms to survive and keep people engaged. From buying groceries to essential medicines, everything has shifted to digital platforms. To be more specific, the use of internet in India has increased by approximately 13% since the nationwide lockdown started, which is a clear indication that almost everyone is dependent on online platforms to meet their essential and non-essential requirements.
Technology-Building a New Digital Bridge
Considering the recent changes, it’s safe to say that technology is building a new digital bridge. Let’s dig deeper understand how technology has come to the aid of people during this lockdown.
The lockdown has changed the way most organizations operate. Just like Twitter and Facebook, a lot of organizations plan to announce 100% work from home till we see the back of this pandemic. However, work management will be a reason for concern for a lot of organizations. The work from home culture will provide the expected returns only when you keep a real-time track of how things are working out. This is where remote working tools such as Basecamp, Dropbox, Krisp, Teamwork, or Procezo can help you out. Procezo, for instance, helps you plan your projects and keep a real-time track of your team’s progress for free.
Build New Customer Relationships
The lockdown has highlighted the importance of making your online presence felt, which can be done effectively through efficient digital marketing efforts. Being accessible online not only increases the website traffic but also ensures that your customers can reach you at any time. Interacting with and educating your customers about your products and services through blogs, various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can help in building new and trustworthy customer relationships.
The Importance of Local Listing
Many businesses don’t know the importance of business listings. Even if you have a website and social media profiles, the importance of local listings can’t be ignored. Listing your businesses correctly and consistently across the local listing platforms not only increases the traffic but also ensures that your customers can easily find you online. Local business listings help customers find the correct business name, address, and phone number to contact you, especially at a time when everyone is keen on ordering online. Local listing platforms such as Vicinus not only help your customers find you but also increase conversions by improving your local presence.
The Surge of Cashless Transaction
The introduction of net banking and mobile banking proved to be a boon for a lot of people. Before the pandemic, a lot of people still visited banks for many reasons such as transferring funds or updating their KYC information. However, with the lockdown in place, there has been an increase in the use of cashless transactions and digital wallets. Whether you need to pay your rent, send money to your loved ones, pay utility bills or order groceries online, cashless transactions are starting to shape the new normal in the recent scenario.
Easy Access to Delivery Services
With the lockdown in place, a lot of people consider it unsafe to go to the local stores and buy groceries or other essentials. To help people get their essentials from the comfort of their homes, many online platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Swiggy, Paytm, Big Basket, and Zomato have stepped up to provide contactless home delivery of essentials. In addition to these renowned apps, the local stores are also using ingenious ways to cope with the situation. For instance, such stores are actively using WhatsApp and Google forms to allow their customers to place orders from the comfort of their homes. Even though such platforms have been common in the recent past, a lot of people preferred offline shopping. However, with the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, the dependence on online platforms has drastically increased.
Keep a Track of your Health On-the-Go
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a seismic rise in demand for health tracking apps. In an attempt to stay safe and informed about the virus, there has been an increase in adoption of healthcare apps. The Aarogya Setu App, for instance, has become mandatory for every citizen in certain areas. The app provides real-time information about your health status, the number of COVID cases in your proximity, people at risk and helps in finding the nearest health facility. In addition, there are several other apps such as AskApollo, which help you book an online consultation, book an appointment with a doctor online, and order medicines.
Study from the comfort of your Home
The pandemic has forced the schools, colleges and universities to suspend physical classes and shift to online classes and educational apps. Approximately 1.5 billion school children around the world have started using online platforms following the global lockdown (Source: International Telecommunication Union). Starting from marking the attendance of students to assigning homework, educators are using technology to continue with their classes even during the period of lockdown. Google Forms, which were earlier used mainly to gather relevant data, have witnessed a drastic change with the inclusion of some new features. For instance, a lot of teachers are using Google Forms to assign homework to students during this period of lockdown. Zoom, Google Meet have become some of the platforms that teachers are using to continue with their classes online. India is not new to online classes as many private as well as government institutes were dependent on online classes. E-PG Pathshala, Toppr, Byju’s, Unacademy, Adda247, National Digital Library of India, IIT Pal, Vidwan and E-classes on Swayam Prabha DTH Channels are some of the most popular e-learning channels that are keeping students busy. The introduction of online classes has also made studying fun and engaging.
A New Source of Entertainment
The pandemic has also brought about drastic behavioural and lifestyle changes among people. With everyone staying at home, there has been an increase in media consumption to deal with the lockdown blues. Not just the OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hotstar but social media and online gaming platforms have also seen a surge in subscribers. In fact, platforms such as BookMyShow have recently launched Live From HQ, which enables viewers to enjoy live entertainment from their living rooms. The subscribers of YouTube, for instance, have seen a surge of 20.5 per cent in India during this lockdown. People are also using popular video-led platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to flaunt their skills.
A New Way to Stay Connected
With the lockdown in place, a lot of people are away from their friends, families as well as colleagues. In such a situation, video conferencing apps have turned out to be a boon, especially for offices that are working remotely. Zoom video calling app has become immensely popular as it enables employees to use a single platform to get in touch with their team members. In addition to professional meetings, the app is also used for personal purposes such as hosting birthday parties during the lockdown. Despite the privacy concerns, Zoom continues to be one of the most downloaded apps during this lockdown. The video conferencing app has surpassed popular apps such as TikTok, WhatsApp with more than 50 million downloads.
This is definitely a hard time for everyone. Considering the current situation, digitalization and the use of technology is going to be the new normal. Transitioning to digital platforms for every essential and non-essential requirement might not be as easy as it seems. Though there are some hiccups faced by almost everyone, digital platforms have proved to be a boon for people of all age-groups in the current scenario.