The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the life and lifestyles of people all over the world. Governments have enforced lockdowns to contain and control the spread of this dreaded virus. Work from home is the new norm for a lot of businesses as they are struggling to operate during these uncertain and demanding times. Schools, Religious houses, and colleges are conducting online classes and services to complete their syllabus and communicate with religious devotees; social distancing is the new trend in grocery stores as E-commerce companies are making COVID-safe deliveries to their customers wherever they might be.
In this new “World”, communication technology has offered solutions to tackle some of these challenges that have been thrown up by the pandemic. We have been able to come up with a few of the technology trends which are poised to redefine a post-COVID-19 world.
With lockdowns and travel bans, physical (face-to-face) meetings have been redefined. The industry will experience a drastic increase in virtual meetings. Already, applications like Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet have seen a tremendous increase in users. From meetings with only 4-5 participants to international seminars and conferences where thousands of participants all have already moved online. This trend is most likely to continue even post-COVID era as people all over the world would want to maintain social distancing etiquette.
After the lockdown, a huge number of academic institutions have gone online. Schools and coaching centers are all conducting online classes via video conferencing. Dedicated education applications have shown a huge burst in growth as students are learning and gaining knowledge on their mobile phones. A few schools have also carried out tests online. It is expected that some of these technological trends will continue after the COVID period as well. A couple of universities and school education boards have come to an agreement that schools and colleges should attempt to complete some portion of the curriculum online, even after the situation becomes normal.
With a lot of data being disseminated, mobile operators would have to increase the network infrastructure in order to boost this large volume of data. Increasing the physical infrastructure is very expensive as a lot of operators will opt for virtualization to reduce the CAPEX and OPEX. For instance, RAN virtualization is widely accepted by many network operators which divide the network functions from the hardware. This gives elasticity and leads to a less rigid, agile, and cheap network. Virtualization also will lead to division and open network architectures. This also gives room for innovation and newer players to provide cutting edge technology to better manage the network.
With the ever-increasing demand for faster and higher bandwidth networks, 5G is the next-generation network designed with “Service Based” architecture that could get accepted faster. 5G gives the greater quality of service based on the network ‘Slice”, which contributes to a particular service type, such as IoT, Low latency applications, etc. For example, for a remote surgery use case, where low latency is a sensitive parameter, 5G can work better than the current networking solution.
The current technology trends make it clear that in a post COVID world, more content would be viewed on mobile devices, be it in the form of video conferencing for a meeting, online class, or Video for entertainment. Pre-pandemic, over 70% of video content is transmitted over the mobile network. This will rise rapidly in the post COVID world and will put tons of traffic and burden on mobile networks that are not made to handle such load.
To avoid any form of network congestion and improve user experience, said telecommunication companies will use the “Shared” spectrum.
There are different types of shared spectrum options. Dynamic shared spectrum such as TVWS, CBRS gives extra coverage and power to supply connectivity to unconnected areas. We can also have a distribution of spectrum between two different networks- Broadband and Broadcast networks for instance. This is a 5th generation data transmission invention which is a union of both Broadcast and Broadband spectrum
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) will be playing a very crucial role in the solving of communication problems in the past. When communication is being done using shared spectrum AI/ML systems will be constantly monitoring the load on the various networks. Based on the data type, network load, and a number of users the AI/ML systems can aid networks in making decisions to choose the most optimum parameters to deliver content – For instance, networks can agree to switch the transmission from one spectrum to another on a real-time basis. These systems will help greatly improve user experience and reliability.
Digital and Contactless Payments
|Cashless & Seamless Transaction|
COVID19 as we know is contracted via physical contact, for this reason, central banks in China, the US, South Korea, and all over the world have carried and put various measures to ensure banknotes are clean and safe before they go into circulation. Now, contactless(cashless) digital payments, either in the form of cards or e-wallets, are the recommended and surest payment method to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Digital(Cashless) payments enable people to make purchases and payments of goods, services, and even utility payments via the internet and Point of sale terminals(POS), as well as to receive stimulus funds faster.
Nonetheless, reports from the World Bank say that we have over 1.7 billion unbanked people, who may not have ready and quick access to digital payments. The availability of digital payments also depends on the availability of internet devices and a network to convert cash into a digitized format.
The importance of digital readiness
COVID-19 has shown the importance of digital readiness, which allows business and life to continue as usual during the pandemic. Building the necessary platform to support a digitized world and stay up to date on the latest technology will be essential for any business or country to remain competitive in an after-COVID-19 world, and inclusive approach to technology governance.