Tech and innovations have always been driving industries to move forward. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hits, designers and manufacturers fast-tracked the development of technologies to meet the changing demands of consumers. Suddenly, many people had to stay, study, and work indoors. Buyers had to do all their shopping online. Traditional industries like manufacturing, farming, and logistics had to reinvent their processes to ensure social distancing and follow health protocols while still providing top-notch products and services. As the economy reopens, many of those innovations are here to stay.
Digitization in Healthcare
Healthcare is an industry that continuously adopts technological developments. Exam and operating rooms, as well as dental clinics, are constantly updated with cutting-edge machines. But the COVID-19 pandemic demanded a different type of innovation: healthcare services away from the hospital facilities.
In the past, doctors only used telemedicine to assist healthcare professionals and patients in rural areas. But teleconsultations have become the norm amid a pandemic. Some doctors even used chatbots to answer and filter the initial questions of a patient. Many hospitals have also adopted AI or artificial intelligence in preventive care. Augmented reality for analyzing CT scans was explored, too. With digitization, the healthcare industry has continued to serve patients while keeping them away from hospitals full of COVID-19 patients. The sector has done that without compromising quality patient care.
Innovative Solutions Driving the Logistics Industry
In 2020, lockdown and travel bans placed immense pressure on global supply chains. That’s not to mention that there was an influx of online shoppers. The logistics industry had to navigate around many restrictions while trying to adapt to swiftly changing consumer demands. That’s where the tech came in.
The high demand and travel restrictions forced drivers to spend long hours on the road. Thankfully, telematics solutions were developed to lower the risk of fatigued driving and other related incidents. These solutions were easy to integrate with existing fleet systems and apps like GPS. With telematics solutions, companies found it easier to review hours worked and adjust their drivers’ schedules. That even made initiating a truck handover with another driver convenient and seamless.
Another innovation that helped the logistics industry work around travel restrictions is vehicle routing and scheduling (VRS) software. With this tool, it became easier to reroute shipments and redeploy assets in real-time. Companies could move stagnant stocks and time-sensitive products with ease. That means smooth, efficient shipment for e-commerce, food, manufacturing, and other related industries.
Again, one of the key challenges at the height of the coronavirus pandemic was the travel restrictions. It was tough to move products around. While the logistics industry found solutions to navigate around these challenges, other sectors focused on decentralizing. These include farming. With inconsistent shipments from other states or countries, local farmers had to step up and supply the food industry in their areas.
Fortunately, container vertical farming and other technologies were available to empower farmers across the US. These innovations enabled them to grow and harvest different produce consistently—no matter the climate or season. And that’s a great way to help the local economy recover from the pandemic.
Virtual Learning Breaking Barriers
Like telemedicine, virtual learning has long been available in the market. But the COVID-19 pandemic has cemented the need for video conference apps and other apps related to teaching and learning online. Even if schools and universities reopen, virtual learning is here to stay. Besides, it can aid individuals who need to juggle education with their day jobs and other responsibilities. Virtual learning allows them to study at their own pace and access resources that used to be only available for students on campus.
Robots Breaking into the Construction Sectors
In 2020, robots finally made their way into the construction sector. The Hadrian X surpassed its record by laying 200 bricks in an hour. This machine knows where to lay the bricks exactly. That was possible, thanks to thoughtfully designed scanners and sensors, as well as a 3D rendering of the planned building.
The construction industry also began exploring the use of demolition robots. While these are slower than demolition crews, these machines are more affordable and far safer to employ. Putting fewer workers to ensure social distancing and lower the risk of injury is a sensible rationale to use these demolition robots.
If there’s one thing we can learn from these industries, it’s adaptability. When you’re facing a crisis, you need all the help you can get. In their case, it’s the technology that has helped them survive the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Navigating the new normal is possible with innovation.