At the start of 2020, who could have predicted that by March, we would be plunged into a nationwide lockdown, only allowed to go out for essential items and to work if absolutely necessary.
All over the world, people have had to adapt quickly to the evolving coronavirus outbreak and the new ‘normal’. It’s safe to say that tackling the last few months would not have been possible without electronics and the technology they create. During this unprecedented time, people have quickly adapted to a remote way of work and play through the use of technology.
From healthcare devices and collaborative working tools to online learning apps and virtual pub quizzes, there are many new technologies available today that did not exist in previous pandemic situations. So, let’s take a look at just some of the ways electronics have helped us through the pandemic…
The most obvious way electronics have evolved to help us throughout the COVID-19 crisis is with medical devices and equipment. At the beginning of the outbreak, there were real fears about equipment shortages, leading to an urgent government call for ventilators.
Manufacturers across all industries — not just those working in the medical sector — were quick to adapt their existing technology and come up with creative electronics manufacturing solutions to deliver the critical equipment.
Galvanised by the Government’s call, many of the Formula 1 teams even joined forces. Within 10 days, they had reverse-engineered, designed, tested and approved the continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP). A month later, 10,000 of them had been built and shipped.
During the same period, they had also re-engineered and built the Penlon ventilator, allowing it to be manufactured at speed, tested and approved. By working together, the teams were able to boost production capacity from 50 to 1,500 a week!
With lockdown restricting many ‘non-essentials’ workers from physically going to work, businesses have had to shift to more digital (and remote) ways of working.
Over the past few months, the use of video conferencing applications such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom has skyrocketed, as companies seek to maintain some semblance of ‘business as usual’.
Technologies such as virtual private networks (VPNs), voice over internet protocols (VoIPs), virtual meetings rooms, cloud technology and work collaboration tools have also helped to ensure employees can stay connected and on top of their work no matter where they are. The question now is, will work ever be the same?
It’s not just employees that have been unable to go to the office. All across the country, schools shut down, leaving children to adjust to distance learning (and parents to get their head around home-schooling).
As a result, universities started offering courses online to ensure lockdown measures did not disrupt education. Many schools have also made use of tools like Google Classroom, which allow children to upload work directly to their teachers who can then mark it.
The applications involved in distance learning are similar to those for remote work but also include technology such as virtual reality, augmented reality and even AI-enabled robot teachers!
With in-person social interactions out of the window, people have been turning to technology to socialise with their peers and have fun. Downloads of digital streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have gone through the roof, and there has been a surge of online gaming traffic since the outbreak.
Group video chat platforms such as Houseparty have helped to connect users to their friends, while pubs have hosted online quiz nights to bring people together — albeit virtually. Museum and international heritage sites have even started offering virtual tours.
Gyms and leisure centres have also followed suit, moving classes online to allow people to work out at home and maintain their usual fitness routines.
Some chains are offering live streams of their most popular sessions, while others are providing on-demand classes and at-home workouts through smartphone apps.
The 2002 SARS outbreak saw a steep rise in online shopping and the current pandemic is no different. Even those who were previously reluctant to order online have been left with few other choices. And now that shops are starting to open again, many are only taking digital, contactless payments in the form of cards or apps like ApplePay.
Restaurants have also had to adapt to keep afloat, with many setting up online ordering systems with contactless delivery services.
Where would we be without these technologies?
From working remotely to socialising with friends, technology has been fundamental in creating a sense of normality and keeping society functional over the past few months. These technologies may have a long-lasting impact beyond COVID-19 as they become more widely used and could even be the answer to leaving lockdown completely once the Government’s track and tracing system is fully operational.
Going forward, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital readiness, which allows business and life to continue as usual – or at least as much as possible – even through challenging times like these.
Want to know how our electronics manufacturing services could help create the latest technology? Get in touch today to find out more.