Since the rapid and widespread emergence of COVID-19, the majority of the worlds’ population have been driven indoors and into isolation. Now, almost the entirety of our daily lives, from education and shopping, to leisure and work, is happening online. Because of this, technology and our online lives are evolving faster than ever, with a host of new tools emerging to entertain us, take care of our health, improve productivity at work and even explore foreign locations.
With this in mind, it’s clear: technology truly is the best quarantine partner, keeping us both sane and healthy. So how exactly is technology helping us? And, in which area is it proving the most useful?
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One of the industries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic has been travel, which makes sense considering how almost overnight, many of the worlds’ countries severely limited international and domestic air travel, or halted it entirely. This halting of movement caused all of the ancillary travel industries, like restaurants, hotels, tour operators and resorts to see their regular business drop, leaving them scrambling to find ways to stay afloat.
While things are nowhere near back to normal for businesses, for the consumer, a number of technological innovations have emerged to help scratch their travel itch. Virtual touring is one such innovation, which allows the usually intrepid traveler to explore fascinating Mayan ruins, spooky houses like the Winchester Mystery House, or even check out the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, all from the comfort of their own homes.
A significant percentage of people have experienced some form of mental health turmoil over the course of the pandemic, with a report from the CDC finding that 40 percent of adults across the United States have struggled with mental health or substance abuse. This makes sense, considering the immense pressure from not only the pandemic, but also heightened emotions around race relations and the simmering threat of civil unrest around the upcoming election.
Additionally, many have avoided visiting a regular doctor’s office for preventative care or to seek treatment for ailments due to fears around contracting the virus while in a healthcare setting. As such, both regular and mental telehealth treatment services have exploded, with purpose-built infrastructure, like Onpatient, that enables patients in both rural and city populations to access affordable healthcare through text or video-link, negating transmission risks almost entirely.
Arguably, the toughest thing about quarantining for months on end has been the swift end to what many use as their main outlet for stress: socializing. As such, the rate of old-fashioned phone calls, along with the use of ‘deep hangout’ apps like Zoom, are increasing. People are finding innovative ways to enhance their experience on these outlets too, like the use of third-party apps to play karaoke, or hold a virtual talent shows on Zoom.
For those looking to experience some remote group entertainment, performers are also finding ways to survive through technology. Many comedians and actors are holding stand-up or theatre nights over Zoom, where the audience can buy tickets - supporting performers - and access the performance using their receipt number. Some even have virtual front rows, where the audience can be seen by the performers, and in some cases participate in their shows.
While the pandemic has forced hundreds of small and medium businesses to close, resulting in a considerable number of workers either furloughed or completely laid-off. Many are looking to use the pandemic - not to mention their newfound spare time - to launch a business. The numbers back this up too, with a report from the United States Census Bureau stating that 3.2 million entrepreneurs have applied for employer identification numbers so far this year, compared to 2.7 million at the same time in 2019.
Does this seem like a recipe for business failure? Not necessarily. In fact, as a marketer, now is the perfect time to lay the groundwork for a new venture, and more importantly, take advantage of what is - almost literally - a captive audience. Luckily, many new technologies have emerged over the past decade like Shopify, Squarespace, and Hootsuite which enable fledgling business owners to set up their own site, start selling, and manage their social media and other marketing strategies remotely.
While the pandemic has drastically changed nearly every aspect of our lives, there are a number of silver linings. Thanks to technology, we’re able to keep in almost constant communication with our friends and family, we’re able to find ways to entertain ourselves, we can access healthcare with very little effort, we can travel and explore fascinating destinations and historical sites, and we can even start a business, all from the comfort of our own homes.
About the Author
Kaloyan Valentinov Danchev is the founder and president of a luxury travel firm, Fidelis Marketing Group. It is a business group that sells tourist facilities of the highest quality and tours to the best attractions of the locations in which we have presence.