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What Would the "New Normal" Be Like? (2020)

The Coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the world and has virtually changed the way we all live and work. Adjustments have to be made so that e...

The Coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the world and has virtually changed the way we all live and work. Adjustments have to be made so that everyone survives and lives a world full of promise and optimism even when things have changed. Now everyone has to be more resilient than ever before in facing the challenges in the "new normal."

So what life would be like in a post-Coronavirus world?

Contactless Interactions and Social Distancing

It is expected that people have to limit face-to-face interactions and group gatherings in order to "flatten to curve" as the vaccine for the virus is still being developed. The widespread use of smartphones and the growing adoption of 5G mobile Internet connectivity, has made it possible to incorporate contactless interactions through cashless payments and e-commerce. Paying for goods and services that do not require any physical contact is expected to grow while face- and gesture-recognition that minimizes the use of touch-based control will eventually become as normal as pushing buttons and turning switches on and off.

Improvement of Digital Infrastructure

There is a growing shift towards digital technology even before the pandemic but not all countries have a dependable digital infrastructure. As the Coronavirus rages with societies on lockdown and cities on quarantine, more people are stuck at home and away from their work. This is where the improvement of digital infrastructure has to be fast-tracked. Businesses have shifted online by establishing virtual stores, leveraging e-commerce sites to sell their products, and partnered with logistics services to deliver it to their customers' homes.

Artificial Intelligence and Automation

As businesses are severely affected by the lockdown, quarantine, and social distancing measures, they are forced to cut down costs by minimizing the workforce and depending more on artificial intelligence and big data to automate processes and workflow. This will ensure that some business operations will become more efficient as human intervention is cut off from the process. Big data also ensures that trends are analyzed so that adjustments are implemented accordingly. Increasing automation would mean that robots will be used increasingly in the manufacturing and industrial sectors to take over labor-intensive processes.

Rise of Telecommuting

More people are starting to work at home as lockdowns and quarantines remain enforced in most countries. Even if these measures will eventually be lifted soon, more companies will be allowing "work from home" arrangements going forward. In the long run, such measures will mean that some businesses will adopt shorter workweeks and alternate scheduling.

Death of In-Store Retail

As the ship to online shopping and e-commerce grows, more and more people will favor buying everything they need online instead of going to brick-and-mortar stores in shopping malls. Soon, large shopping malls would eventually become out of fashion as it will become too costly to operate as social distancing strictly enforced.

Virtual Events

From concerts to weddings, live streaming of events would mean that any activity that would involve a gathering of people would go virtual. The rise of eSports is one case where it fills in the gap amid the suspension of various sports leagues from the NBA to the UEFA Champions League. Even with some live sports events that managed to come back to play, sans the crowd, decided to replicate live crowd experience with pre-recorded crowd sounds to simulate what a live game used to feel like.

We are living in an already changed social landscape. As much as it is testing our patience, it is also building up our resilience as we now face the reality of the "new normal." We have to adjust, reinvent, and develop new innovations out of necessity. By learning the lessons of our failures and shortcomings, we will make our world a better place.

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