Searching for optimism in times of uncertainty
This time last month, the current situation seemed a world away. Fast forward a few weeks and COVID-19 has disrupted every walk of life across the globe, causing much uncertainty - today, we queue outside supermarkets and work from home, while governments and businesses introduce unprecedented measures to stop economic collapse.
By Alexandra Wood, Solutions Director at LiveArea
The reality is that many countries are yet to reach the peak, and the pandemic will get worse before we begin seeing improvements. To limit the spread of the virus, people have begun thinking about actions they can take in their everyday lives - social distancing is being adhered to and cities across the world now resemble ghost towns.
When stress is put on a system, solutions must be put forward to adapt. The longer this pandemic and, more critically, the quarantines remain additional stresses will continually be found. One market that is already finding limits is education. Questions around how to educate students when internet is a utility and teachers are not trained or equipped to fully execute lesson plans remotely are being asked. While virtual classrooms are not new, the scale and flexibility with which they are needed is unique. This need has created a greater opportunity in the market.
In February, thejapantimes reported on the increased adoption of robotics in hospitals in China to help 'act as safe go-betweens that help curb the spread of the coronavirus'. Robotics have been a trend in all industries within the last decade from advanced robotics in warehouses, robotic process automation solutions, and those used in hospitals but the adoption has not always been as widespread. As human resources become limited due to overcapacity, isolation and more, robotics may be a solution to help bridge that gap.
In the United States, we are seeing increases in online grocery shopping in a way we have not before. While there are other challenges with the immediate availability of groceries and capacity to support it, this is giving grocery companies new data and exposure to new customers they did not have before. It will be critical to be able to rapidly analyse and adapt technology and processes to address the feedback being received.
Each generation is shaped by the environment they grow up in, and more often than not, there is a great disruption which changes the way we act. For many of us, it was the internet - convenience and flexibility are now expected from consumers who see real time interactions and next-day delivery as the norm. With instant access to the latest news, television and music, as well as the role influencers play in shaping our behaviour, this change is sure to continue.
COVID-19 will continue disrupting our lives, but people will respond by finding new ways of working to get around the disruption. While there remains much uncertainty around the pandemic, there is also opportunity. The businesses which come out on top will be the ones which use it as a chance to learn - the question is which brands will rise to the challenge?