What Technology Accelerates Long-Term After The Short-Term COVID-19 Danger Subsides?

     I recently sat down with my friend and fellow, for a podcast discussion on some of the technology trends we expect to accelerate in the post-corona world. In addition to the tragic human cost, the global pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, and disrupted industries across the world. When an incident this large and disruptive occurs, it leaves an indelible mark on the people who live through it, not to mention on industry and society as a whole.

        If you’re having trouble keeping up with the changes, hang on—even after the immediate danger of COVID-19 subsides, we’re going to be looking at radically different world. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on what that will look like specifically in terms of the tech industry, which has, in many ways, impressed me with its ability to step up and meet the challenges of the last few months. When all’s said and done, I believe many companies and trends will only continue to accelerate.

Everything  collaborative

Perhaps the apparent change in the status quo is the sudden surge in those who work from home and collaborate remotely due to the quarantine. I’ve spent plenty of time over the last week taking Zoom, the videoconferencing company, to task. Though the virus has been very good for Zoom’s business, it’s landed in some hot water for making false claims about end-to-end encryption (which it does not feature in any true sense of the word), “zoombombing” (in which trolls jump onto non-password protected Zoom calls and screenshare lewd content), and and the revelation of controversial data-mining features feeding data to LinkedIn and Facebook.

Luckily for those of us who prioritize secure communications, Zoom is not the only videoconferencing tool on the market who has seen its star rise. Cisco Webex has seen a huge surge in usage, as has Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts and Meet. I think we can also expect to see 5G PCs grow in popularity as more and more people desire its high bandwidth and low latency to drive their productivity while working remotely. While more and more employers have embraced letting their employees work from home in the last several years, I think COVID-19 could represent a real paradigm shift, after the immediate danger recedes. After what basically amounts to the biggest work from home experiment the world has ever seen, I expect many will not be eager to return to the office. Additionally, some employers who may have been dragging their feet on WFH will now see that it is possible. Also moving forward, I believe most companies will need to have an explicit “pandemic plan,” with the capability to get around 95% percent of their workforce out of the office and working remotely if need be. An interesting side effect, though, may be the deceleration of the so-called “open offices” that have become widespread and a return to cubicles—for the sake of hygiene and limiting the spread of pathogens throughout the workplace.

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