Is the new normal still new? I don’t think so.
Even though there are still lockdowns in several countries, these are also no longer ‘new’ restrictions. It is tried, tested and one of the most effective ways to reduce spread of COVID-19.
What’s new is the technology that is invented and upgraded in times of crisis, and not just utilizing the already available solutions that might not be as effective as the ones introduced specially to meet current and evolving requirements.
The pandemic has given an opportunity to businesses to innovate since consumers are apprehensive, and reluctant to make shopping trips and return to office buildings. Consumer behaviors towards purchases have changed to not only placing online orders and preferring digital payments, but also towards the technology used by retailers to store products.
Attention to detail
As per the recent Emerson survey, 80 per cent of respondents in the UAE are paying high attention to whether the fresh food is properly kept at safe temperatures during transportation and storage, which has indeed pressured retailers to adapt to changing consumption patterns.
This has given an opportunity to technology providers to introduce connected technologies that assist in the supply of fresh food and build trust for retailers in the long run. The recent surveys have also shown that 60 per cent of shoppers are afraid of grocery shopping, with 73 per cent making fewer trips to physical stores.
Returning to office is also causing unease among some people, as 66 per cent report feeling uncomfortable after the outbreak. However, it is important for the government to open up the economy and get businesses back on track to avoid any impact on their sustainability.
No other way
Within a few weeks of lockdowns, small, medium and large enterprises started noticing the impact of slowdown on their business. To escape these circumstances, offices have to open up while adhering to the highest safety standards and ensuring all rules are followed.
One big advantage we have is the adequate technological resources. The optimum use of new technologies is necessary, as well as updates to sanitation protocols and interior architecture to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
Smart security technologies have been, and will continue to play an essential role in helping organizations minimize the spread, while ensuring business continuity. Companies started responding by developing technologies, such as our automated production lines for making protective face masks.
All new health regulations can be taken into consideration by equipping video security cameras, which can detect elevated skin temperatures with AI-driven image analysis capabilities to the existing security and IoT infrastructure itself. In difficult times, innovations like the video analytics algorithms become an important asset as open security camera platforms promise new opportunities.
Businesses can easily add functionalities to their video security cameras by securely installing apps that meet varying needs. The flexibility to go beyond their basic functionality, gives business customers a quick and simple way to customize security solutions.
This can help organizations detect whether or not an individual is wearing a face mask or other personal protective equipment (PPE) through facial detection algorithms, which also helps with contact tracing due to the access control combined with video analytics and rich metadata.
The use of technologies like these even helps in reducing costs; in turn organizations can make efficient use of available resources for other aspects. An open security camera platform has emerged to be one of the most important part of the smart city IoT solutions.
Overall, open camera platforms help the world imagine a future where saving lives, ensuring business continuity, and initiating new business opportunities will arrive simply from a software update.
We all know that the future is online. And we have come a long way in the last decade, but this is just the beginning. COVID-19 has given businesses an opportunity to innovate and efficiently and effectively develop and implement low-cost IoT solutions for business continuity.
Technological benefits should always be towards keeping people safe, minimizing contact, increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and ensuring highest security of the consumers using strong encryption and certificates on the device - and in the cloud.
With the UAE being listed amongst the top 10 countries in the global COVID-19 safety rankings just after three months of the World Health Organization declaring it a pandemic, it goes on to prove technologies like these are already put to use for quite some time now.
Do you still think we are living a new normal? We are rapidly evolving; and this time, technology has proven to be of great help to our frontline workers and will positively support us overcome these difficult circumstances.
- Per Johansson is General Manager at Robert Bosch Middle East.