10 technologies boosted in 2020 by Covid-19
Big tech companies are getting to powerful. Well, they are not that powerful. While the Coronavirus was spreading around the globe there was not much technology could do.
Still, over the course of the year tech companies proved invaluable in easing the measures and combating the virus. Most of these technologies already existed in some form, but in 2020 they got a big boost. These are the keepers.
10 technologies are included that all got a major boost in 2020. I left out streaming companies like Netflix and online platforms like Amazon. They also grew, but are part of a much longer trend.
1. Video conferencing
A year ago I never heard of Zoom. Just like I never heard of Covid-19. Actually I was still mostly using Skype at the time. Now I use Zoom, Teams and Slack like a pro. And this counts for most of us.
Probably for working people, this is the most obvious entry that made it into the list. A year before we were all in meetings and this year we’re still in meetings, only now online.
2. Health Dashboards
Data-driven in health-care was often more a matter of talking than real solutions. Now we saw a lot of Covid-19 dashboards like the one from the Johns Hopkins University. We will see such dashboards probably more on regional levels in the coming years.
3. Digital signing
Digital signing of documents has been around for a long time. There wasn’t widespread adoption yet.
Now this changed in 2020. I worked with people whom I never met in person. They signed their contract online.
4. Contactless payment
Apple Pay was first used by Apple fanboys and early adaptors. Now my father (71) also uses Apple Pay. This and other contactless payment methods have become very common.
A study by the national bank in the Netherlands found out that in February 2020 27% of people older than 65 paid contactless. In October this grew to 58%. In total 2/3 quarter of all payments are now contactless in the Netherlands.
5. Virtual Reality
To be honest, as collaboration platform the Covid-19 crisis came too early for VR. Still with the introduction of the Oculus Quest a half year before the pandemic we have a nice entertainment platform to escape this somewhat limited reality.
6. Online supermarkets
Supermarkets have been offering online groceries for years. However, they were hesitant to scale up. Was this really a growth market? Maybe 10% of our revenue would be possible, so the supermarkets thought.
Currently, it’s almost impossible to deliver groceries to your home. If it was possible, online would be 90% of the supermarkets' revenue. It will be interesting if this boost for online shopping will last after the pandemic.
Suddenly a lot of children needed homeschooling. Digital means were of great help. In practice, they were often not yet up to the task, but probably we will see a lot of investments in the coming years.
Not only children learned remote, also universities and business courses were offered online. This makes a lot of sense. Why should I use the local university as one can also follow online courses at Harvard or Oxford?
8. Biotech: mRNA vaccines
The great hope for 2020 was a Covid-19 vaccine. Most vaccines take years to develop. Biotech companies like BioNTech and Moderna created vaccines that were approved before the end of the year. They used a technique that let the human body create similar, but harmless proteins as people infected by Corona. Now our immune system is trained when we meet Covid-19 in person.
9. Home fitness
A lot of fitness and sport clubs had to close during the lockdown. Not to go insane, people start walking and cycling. But as the days were getting colder, home fitness became the only option for a lot of people.
Fortunately, there are a lot of options at home. One can follow courses online, YouTube workouts, buy machines and even work out with VR games like Beat saber.
Good ventilation is key for Covid-19 prevention and good for a healthy climate indoors in general.
A lot of installation companies worked over hours to improve ventilation in school and office buildings.
The problem is that ventilation systems are often poorly adjusted. This causes the virus to spread through the building. Belgium company Deltrian developed a filter that filters 99% of all Corona particles.