How COVID-19 Is Driving Digital Transformation

Without question, COVID-19 reshaped the technological world. The global pandemic drastically changed how businesses use technology, and has inspired innovations across sectors. Every industry needed to adjust to uncertainty more rapidly than at any time in history. This created a new wave of digital transformation.

At first, the pandemic overwhelmed every business. Industries like manufacturing, hospitality, and travel were among the hardest hit, though other industries rebounded. Today, advancements made over the past year are shaping how people work and communicate.

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Teleconferencing

The need for video conferencing sky-rocketed for businesses and people during the early days of the pandemic, and Zoom jumped out as one of the leaders in communication. Zoom adopted a direct response to Covid-19. Zoom was nimble and fast enough to even take on Microsoft Teams and Skype.

According to a recent CNBC survey, 45% of companies plan to embrace a hybrid model in the second half of 2021. This means that enterprises will continue needing conferencing tools to connect with workers and customers worldwide.

Aside from Zoom and its competitors, collaboration and messaging apps are also seeing widespread adoption. Slack, Spark, Discord, and Signal, used by remote workers to meet the demand, serve as valuable tools.

PPE Production

The pandemic highlighted how unprepared the health care industry was for a global crisis. For one thing, the health care industry needed personal protective equipment (PPE) in massive quantities, which meant manufacturers and fulfillment centers had to adopt innovative supply-chain software to meet the greater demand.

Telemedicine

By early March 2020, HHS lead an initiative to expand telehealth services. This HIPAA-compliant software was primarily used by clinics and hospitals before COVID-19, but it gave the health care industry more tools to meet with patients virtually. Telehealth platforms like Teladoc, Mend, and MDLIVE provide flexibility to an overburdened health system.

Innovations in Pharmaceutical Production

Pharmaceutical companies have experienced some of the most significant changes over the past year. Government aid and innovations in supply chain management have given companies the ability to fast-track vaccines.

Further, the use of AI allows faster testing cycles. As a result, companies can create, test, and distribute their vaccines to the public more quickly and efficiently.

Technological innovations around using RNA in vaccines are also changing the landscape, according to Nature. Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and Novartis used techniques developed by DARPA. This rapid development of safe vaccines helped spur digital transformation in pharmaceutical technology.

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Streaming

The public’s consumption of media grew exponentially in 2020, leading to a surge in the use of cloud-based streaming services. As more people were isolated at home, subscriptions to services like Apple TV, Prime Video, and Hulu soared.

According to VEXXHOST, “Cloud computing allows streaming platforms to leverage storage and data to ensure the highest viewing quality for consumers.”

High-Speed Internet

The need for high-speed connectivity for businesses, individuals, and students required the FCC to begin a “Keep Americans Connected Pledge campaign.”

Over eight hundred Internet service providers met the challenge by increasing available bandwidth with new infrastructure, or offering internet service for free.

Protecting Privacy

Because so many workers are now working from home, combatting fraud and protecting privacy has never been more important.

The FTC “developed a public dashboard to track and alert the public to shifts in COVID-related reports from consumers, identify and respond to emerging threats, and identify law enforcement targets.” The dashboard, hosted on Tableau, provides up-to-date data to help businesses and individuals spot spikes in fraud and identity theft.

Misinformation

Early on 2020, bad actors began widely circulating misinformation around COVID-19 and vaccines. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms wrestled with fact-checking, adjusting their algorithms that spot and eliminate bot accounts.

According to the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the social media algorithms that combat bots today are modeled on “early attempts to identify spam emails, social phishing, and other types of cybercrimes.”

Platforms have adapted this technology to fight against social herding bots that spread misinformation. Further, these companies have undertaken initiatives to informing the public and provide fact-checking tools.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many businesses. However, this crisis has spurred digital transformation in countless organizations. Hopefully, this revolution will continue after the pandemic ends and foster positive change.

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Kent Barnett
Kent Barnett has been an instrumental professional in the fields of business, technology, and entrepreneurship. He founded his first company creating an organization dedicated to believing that technology and business must align for success. Mr. Barnett now lives in the technology corridor of Northern Virginia, where he has continued to build his expertise while providing advisory services to many national and international companies.

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