Coronavirus digital trends: the health and economic emergency triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic will be a watershed. The role of digital will become increasingly central, and some digital trends that are already underway will become stronger and more robust. In this article we will look at the top 10.
Post Covid-19: 10 digital trends
The coronavirus situation has created great uncertainty in our world. In addition to the health emergency, the economic emergency will have complex implications that will be different for many sectors.
In all of this, there is one certainty: this unforeseen and unpredictable crisis will create a “before” and an “after”. It will be a watershed. And those who decide to remain blind and deaf to this change will lose competitive advantage and will not be able to take advantage of the new opportunities that, as always happens, will open up after this crisis. Therefore, it is essential from the very beginning to look to the “after,” to turn immediately to the future. With the awareness that some of the trends that were already in place “before” will become increasingly stronger, many of these trends had already started with Digital Transformation.
We will look at 10 of the most interesting of these digital trends emerged post Coronavirus phase — focusing on digital healthcare, Smart Working, personalization in the digital Customer Journey, and more, below.
1. Increasingly digital healthcare
The coronavirus emergency primarily concerns public health and the maintenance of the health system. It is normal, therefore, that there will be major changes in this area. These changes will not only involve the dematerialization of paper documentation (from medical records and reports, to administrative and bureaucratic practices). It will most certainly lead to a radical restructuring of processes and organizations, from hospitals to the local authorities.
The big issues on the table will be those of protected de-hospitalization, telemedicine, and also IoT and wearable devices, which are increasingly reliable, tailored and personalized (vox.com). All of this has already been accompanied by best practices to ensure that patients avoid queues and gatherings, for example through the use of dedicated applications.
2. Smart working
During the coronavirus emergency, Smart Working was vital: it safeguarded the health of many people, and, at the same time, it allowed many sectors to keep working. The shift towards “agile work,” however, was a digital trend already underway before the pandemic. According to the Politecnico di Milano’s School of Management, 570,000 employees were engaged in Smart Working in Italy in 2019, a number that was up 20% compared to the previous year (osservatori.net).
According to the 11th edition of IWG’s “Global workspace survey,” 62% of the world’s companies have a flexible policy on working methods and spaces. Italy stands at 59% on this, which is far from countries like Germany (80%), the Netherlands (75%), the USA (69%), and the UK (68%).
While this trend is expected to grow in the wake of Covid-19, companies will also need to keep an eye on employees’ work-life balance, which is fundamental to achieve the best quality of working life; we will focus on this in the next point.
3. Employee Experience at a safe distance
Under the “Employee Experience” label are all processes that are aimed at improving the quality of employees’ work experience.
We have dedicated an entire eBook to this theme, which you can download here. For some years now, this has become a central issue, due to its impact in terms of productivity, retention, and advocacy (with important consequences on a company’s brand reputation). This “tomorrow” theme will be even more central, and it will increasingly concern the digital aspect. First and foremost, it will be about providing increasingly effective and intuitive remote work-sharing tools, based on secure and efficient cloud platforms designed with an omnichannel approach.
Great attention will also be paid to the customization and personalization of these tools; it is the so-called “B2E” (Business to Employee), digital and personalized.
4. Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things
If “office” work will see a marked increase in the possibilities of Smart Working, the same, of course, cannot be said of those working directly in production. Therefore, among the future trends there will be a strengthening of what was already known as Industry 4.0; that is: the increasing automation of industrial processes.
In this sector, an increasingly decisive boost will be given by IoT (Internet of Things) which, applied to production processes, generates unprecedented optimization, savings, and analysis capabilities thanks to the collection of an ever-increasing number of valuable data. The model to aim for is the so-called “Smart Factory.”
This will not be limited to the production phases, but will also affect the entire ecosystem of the supply chain.
5. Robots and drones
The Covid-19 emergency has shown that social distancing is, at certain times, absolutely necessary and can be life-saving. But even after these dramatic phases, the exploitation of robots and drones for certain tasks will become increasingly irreplaceable. Think of sanitation or pest control, certain health care processes, and any operations in critical or dangerous contexts for humans. Also, in terms of day to day activities, think about delivery services of any kind.
Attention: this will not mean less work for humans. On the contrary, it will signal the birth of new jobs that will gradually replace those considered more obsolete.
6. Smarter cities
Smart Working, Smart Factory and, finally, Smart Cities: the increasing digitization of cities is one of the most interesting frontiers on the horizon.
Also in this case, we are talking about a trend that has been strengthening for several years now (Singapore, Dubai, and Barcelona are three often cited examples- smartcityhub.com), and which, in the coming months, will certainly see a great acceleration.
In addition to the need to protect public health, Smart Cities will also be fundamental in terms of sustainability, reduction of emissions, and global quality of life for citizens.
Once again, in this field too, the key word is: IoT. This is combined with improved connectivity, through technologies whose adoption will be rapidly implemented, such as 5G.
7. Digital payments
Now, let’s zoom back into the daily lives of individuals. One practice that has become one of the digital trends during coronavirus phase is that of digital payments.
This is nothing new; in 2019, the global digital payments market was valued at $3885.57 billion. According to Mordor Intelligence estimates, this value would have reached $868.68 million by 2025, with a composite annual growth rate of 13.7%.
However, these estimates were made before the health emergency. As a result, the growth rate is likely to be much higher. More specifically, trends in this field are all moving towards an increasingly important role for mobile devices (from a mobile-first perspective), which will be increasingly accompanied by personalization.
This is not just for payments, in short, but also for improving the digital User Experience in an increasingly one-to-one dynamic, which we will return to in the next point.
If you’d like to learn more about digital payments and the latest coronavirus digital trends in this field, check out this post on our blog.
8. The digital customer journey and personalization
As a result of the current situation, Customer Journeys are becoming increasingly digital, if not exclusively digital.
Therefore, learning how best to control them is now more fundamental than ever for companies in every sector, and this is essential for both marketing operations and Customer Service management. This is where the analysis of Big Data comes into play. Big Data is a tool that is now essential in order to have a “picture” of the audience. It’s useful to know its characteristics, its behaviors, its possible needs, in order to divide it into increasingly specific and functional targets.
The point of arrival, in this sense, is personalization, a theme that we have also seen associated with previous trends. It is about learning how to track the characteristics of each individual user or customer, and interface with him or her in one-to-one mode.
The tools available today make this possible even with huge audiences, and in an increasingly dynamic way. Specialized companies like Doxee do just that. And, the more the Customer Journey becomes digital, the more surgical and effective you can be with personalization.
9. Distance learning isn’t just for school children
Another common experience which became one of the coronavirus digital trends during lockdown is that of distance learning. This is an important coronavirus digital trend.
We’re not just talking about the classic school lectures which moved online (in mid-April, schools and universities were closed in 191 countries around the world, with an impact on 1.57 billion students, according to data from UNESCO- en.unesco.com). Distance learning, in fact, covered a wide range of experiences, from hobbies to vocational training courses.
Again, we are sure that this will not just be a temporary “stopgap”, but a trend that will gradually become both more stable and experimental bringing with it interesting opportunities.
10. A more digital Public Administration
The Public Administration is often slower than other sectors in welcoming change. This slowness derives from the very characteristics of its structures, which are often both large and sometimes rigid.
This emergency, however, also required the PA to move faster. Again, this is a decisive acceleration of a trend that was already underway, starting with the European Digital Agenda and those of the various member states. To deepen this broad and decisive theme, with a particular focus on the Italian panorama, see this post from our blog.
So, we post Covid-19, we’ll be living in a different world. There will be new ways of working and new opportunities. The seeds have already been planted: the most successful companies will be the ones who are able to harvest them before the competition.