Areas of Innovation Post Coronavirus In The New Normal

by Akbar Jaffer
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post-covid-19 digital transformation

It is more clear today that some things will not go back to the Pre-Coronavirus state. Some of our daily habits will never be the same for sure. Some call it the “New Normal.” Wall Street pundits, technology analysts, and futurists agree that some areas will see a tremendous amount of innovation which will change how we live our lives for good. Here are some of the industries that will be totally different in just a few years.


Mobility as a Service or Transportation as a Service is going to be the name of the game. Commuter cars won’t be as popular as today because most people will spend half of a week working from home and use Lyft for short runs. Use of recreational and high-end luxury vehicles will increase and electric vehicles will surpass gas-powered and autonomous driving features will become standard. A percentage of automotive buyers will re-consider how often and what type of car they buy if at all. For short runs they might Lyft it so they might buy recreational vehicles and weekenders more than regular commute sedans.



This is a new segment which consists of some existing businesses like Slack and Zoom, some temporary ones like CHEGG which became very popular during Covid-19 pandemic but won’t totally go away in the post-Covid world. And some new ones that are have not even been thought of yet. Work-at-home is not only going to impact the technology, it will also impact the housing market, demographics shift to suburbs, home and personal activities and hobbies, and home-office furnitures and tools.


Cloud-based cyber security

Traditional large corporations strictly use Virtual Private Network (VPN) solutions to keep their information, software and hardware secure. It’s the oldest and solid security solution for remote workers. Popularity of Cloud software among most startups and mid size companies has left major vulnerabilities into corporate digital assets. This has been further amplified by remote workers using personal computers for work and the hackers are already having a field day. There is a need for next generation intelligent virtual security technology that can defend distributed corporate networks where critical business tools reside in public, private, and hybrid networks.


Online Retail

Its pretty obvious that retail brick-n-mortar stores need to be re-invented with all that space with very little foot traffic. Do you convert parts of them into warehouse?  I feel that non-experience retail items will never return to brick-n-mortar and retail will primarily become a thing for experience merchandize. The retail brands that have been dragging their feet on embracing on-line channel have been dragged into it by Covid-19. Now that they realize the benefits and cost savings they might not return. I am pretty sure Amazon is going to turn (recently acquired) JC Pennys and Sears locations into local distribution and fulfillment centers, customer service, and delivery stations. Additionally, online retail is about to go through major overhaul with the help of artificial and augmented reality, 3D experiences, and Haptics technology. Warby Parker’s virtual try on is just the beginning. All this will also put a greater focus on customer experience of the entire customer journey and the brands that champion CX will win.


Digital Transformation

It’s a term that has been thrown around quite loosely in the last couple years. There are as many different definitions for it as there are industry pundits. It is clear to me that digital transformation, among other things, is complete absence of paper, manual processes, and all that is inefficient and time consuming with business systems. There are a ton of companies that will see an increase in demand for their products that enable and manage digital transformation. Some are obvious like DocuSign, Decisions, and Integrify and some will be hidden behind intelligence business systems like Salesforce, Workday, and Oracle.

Every industry must embrace digital transformation if they are to survive in what some call it America 2.0. The challenge will be for those American companies that do business in 2nd and third world countries where they still rely on paper and manual process and do not even accept electronic signatures. So we have a long way to go, globally but, here at home, millennials, Gen Z and Generation Alpha will see to that companies that don’t fully transform digitally will lose their customer base.

Other industries that will see an up-tick because of work-at-home are home improvement, bigger homes, cooking meals, in-home hobbies and activities, streaming technology and pricing packages, delivery and take-out, and curb-site-pickup of everything.

In conclusion, these transformations are already happening. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics are going to become mainstream. There are people who are driving these changes that will disrupt not only our lives but our livelihoods. To thrive, we must embrace the changes, up our skills, learn new craft, change jobs, move around, and become smarter about technology. There are already tremendous opportunities for creative entrepreneurs who will solve problems we haven’t even faced yet. Our lives will never be the same.


Healthcare, Food, and Exercise

I put these three together because I feel that the lines between them are going to blur even more as time passes. Lines in terms of policies, insurance practices, wear-ables and tracking of our vitals, food we eat, medications and delivery of health services and more.

Its clear that vaccines for Covid-19 or some variant of it are here to stay. It is going to become a regular yearly vaccine like the Flu shot.  Some are suggesting to combine the Flu vaccine with the Covid-19 shot and still have a booster 6 months later. What is clear is that mRNA technology and DNA-based treatments are going to significantly change how vaccine and other medications are developed and administered. Biomarkers, Nanites or NanoRobots, synthetic organs are the future of medicine. Jason Bourne meets Star Trek.

Medical devices and fitness have already transformed how insurance companies are going to track vitals, diabetes, and life style to determine how much premium to charge you and allow or deny treatment. Glucose and blood pressure monitors automatically uploading data to your doctors computers. Blockchain technology providing proof of origin, nutrition information and tracking of any harmful ingredients or inhumane treatment of animals is going to take center stage in the next 5-10 years.  This pandemic has definitely put the wheels in motion for our new normal.


Note: Due to the fact that the pandemic is still not over and recent developments in technology and policies have cleared a few things up, this article was updated in Sept. 2021.



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