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Covid-19 and Future Trends

Even though it looks like a while before Covid-19 Pandemic will be over, I think we can already see how it is going to leave a long lasting impact on the way we do our day to day business. Covid-19 certainly came as a rude shock for enterprises not prepared for working remotely, would that change in the future? Definitely, yes!  Post Covid-19 enterprises will spend considerable amount of resources in getting their critical functions remote enabled. Would remote working become the new norm post Covid-19? I doubt and I really hope it doesn’t end up being like that.

Providing “flexibility” to resources to work from wherever is alright but I don’t think you can build a team camaraderie without the face to face interaction. Face to face interaction is what adds the human touch, otherwise it’s pretty easy to confuse a person with a bot on a phone call without any emotions being at play. The other thing with in-person teams is that it really works well for the junior members in the team – working alone for someone just starting their career can be a little overwhelming and takes out the mentor/mentee aspect of working within a team.

Another field which would see rapid innovations and gains would be consumer health wearables, consumer health IOT devices, and AI in consumer health. A lot of consumers are lot more concerned about their overall health well-being so I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a surge in demand for self-monitoring devices and wearables. Healthcare which has traditionally been an in-person thing, would see more and more remote consultation for trivial diseases and OTC drug prescriptions. The doctors would rely on the wearables to get the vitals and the entire consultation would be done remotely – perhaps we’ll see an end-to-end system which integrates the patient, wearables and the hospitals/doctors as one eco-system.

Use of AI in quickly identifying symptoms would also see an uptick. Since early identification potential virus carriers and isolating them is the key to containing this virus, a lot of emphasis has been put on testing more and more people.  New York, the current epicenter of the Covid-19, has already done close to half a million tests. The burden on state agencies would have been lot less if the tests could have been self-performed by everyone themselves – which is what Government of India is trying to do with Aarogya Setu app, the only issue with it being that it is more of a self-assessment rather than a test. Instead imagine if we were wearing a temperature measuring band tracking our temperature, use phone’s accelerometer along with voice sensor (if you’ve enabled Hey Siri or Ok Google, they are listening to you anyway) to detect if you are constantly coughing and then raise an alarm to you to go check with a doctor. With more powerful AI comes more privacy concerns – so “intelligent” anonymizers and cloaking will also see an upward trend.

Finally, more organizations would spend time and resources on nailing the data sciences part, not just in terms of analyzing large amount of data but being able to do it in optimal time frame.

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