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The pandemic that we have been facing has amplified and highlighted the importance of technology in our lives. Thanks to modern technologies, we have been able to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 while also helping businesses stay open. Technology has truly played a crucial role in keeping society functioning, keeping food on tables, and keeping family and friends together during hard times. Let’s take a look at a few different ways technology has been helping us do business, work remotely, learn remotely, entertain ourselves, interact with others, and seek medical attention.

Helping Society Stay Functional

Working from home has been an amazing rising trend this year. Many companies have asked or required employees to work remotely. Remote work is made possible by technologies such as the VoIP systems that CallHarbor sells. Virtual meetings, cloud technology, work collaboration tools and even facial recognition technologies that enable a person to appear before a virtual background have all made our lives so much easier while working remotely. In addition to preventing the spread of viruses, remote work also saves commute time and provides more flexibility. We’ve outlined some more great benefits of remote work in our blog articles Top Benefits of Working From Anywhere and Less Talked About Benefits to Remote Work.

As schools around the world respond to the pandemic, the need for remote learning tools has never been more urgent. Many of the tools needed for distance/remote learning are similar or the same as tools needed for remote work. millions of students from kindergarten through grad school now learn virtually, including over 70 million in the U.S. alone. The World Economic Forum sees a silver lining in the dark COVID-19 cloud, citing it as a “catalyst” that could finally change “centuries-old, lecture-based approaches to teaching, entrenched institutional biases, and outmoded classrooms.” If using the correct tools, remote discussion can be just as effective as in-person discussions, and often have less distractions and stoppage.

In a world where working from outside the office is becoming increasingly popular, many workers turn to video conferencing as an easy and efficient way to “meet.” Even when working from the office, but in different locations, video conferencing is a great way to keep the conversation on track and stay focused. Here are five reasons why video conferencing is the superior way to do long distance meetings. Check out our blog post on why video conferencing is more effective than phone calls here: 5 Reasons Video Meetings Are More Effective. We dive deeper into the benefits of non-verbal communication, the ability to use visual aids, how it can increase the call’s productivity, and how you benefit from seeing another human.

Telehealth sessions have created a safe, convenient way for people to obtain care during the pandemic. In April, nearly half (43.5%) of Medicare primary care visits were provided through telehealth compared with less than one percent (0.1%) in February before the public health emergency. In the years ahead, insurance companies and care providers will likely work in tandem to increase access to telehealth, which should result in reduced costs, fewer emergency room visits, and better patient outcomes. Regardless of how this new partnership will take shape in the years ahead, more health plans will cover telehealth services as more companies realize the potential benefits of implementing this technology. Telehealth gives patients the freedom to access care remotely, or on the go. This is a very important and beneficial aspect of telehealth.

Helping Shoppers

Recent events have made the already exploding trend on online shopping even more important. The popularity of e-commerce is not a new story. The big players—Amazon, Walmart, Alibaba, and others have been rapidly expanding in the last few years. The COVID-19 situation, however, has definitely accelerated the growth of this convenience movement for businesses of every size. Many businesses were forcedd to temporarily shut down in March. but luckily some were able to stay afloat thanks to online ordering, contactless pickups, and third party delivery services. The advantages of online shopping aren’t going to disappear even when retail businesses reopen fully. All of this points to why this is the ideal time to either start or double down on your e-commerce efforts.

Having the ability to make all digital payments has prevented possible spread that could be carried via cash. Contactless digital payments, either in the form of cards or e-wallets, are the recommended payment method. Digital payments enable people to make online purchases and payments of goods, services and even utility payments. It’s also helped many people receive their stimulus funds faster.

Keeping Us Connected and Entertained

Staying in touch with friends and family has been a necessity during the pandemic. Checking in with your loved ones, keeping in contact, and getting some type of human interaction is extremely beneficial for your mental health. Tools such as Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime have made video chatting an easy and convenient way to stay together. Fun services like Jackbox, Netflix Party, and Steam have helped loved ones play and laugh together. Game night has gone digital… and it’s been a new and creative way to experience

Although quarantine measures have reduced in-person interactions significantly, human creativity has brought the party online. We have seen everything from online concerts, virtual tours of museums, and online movie watch parties. Many people are hoping that these options stay popular in the coming years, even as restrictions loosen up. They are all fun and creative ways to enjoy the things you love with other people, from the comfort and safety of your own home.

Streaming services have non-surprisingly seen a huge up surge in customers. People are relying more and more on streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and Amazon Prime as they try to stay safe at home. A recent online study conducted by Invoke, a real-time market research company, found that 75% of respondents are watching more streaming content than before the pandemic struck. With that, 73% also said that they prefer content from established services like Disney+, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix. Only 46% said that cost was the most important factor, right now, in deciding what to watch. They simply want entertainment. “… People are turning to streaming content for light entertainment as an alternative to a diet of grim news coverage,” said Jennafer Stahl, vice president of research for Invoke. “This may mirror media consumption during the Great Depression, when Americans flocked to the movies for comedies, musicals, Westerns, and drama as a diversion from their day-to-day worries. This has made streaming services an essential part of their lives as they practice social distancing, work from home, or find themselves in a lockdown or quarantine.”

COVID-19 has proven to us the importance of digital readiness to give business and life the ability to continue as normal – as much as possible. Building the necessary infrastructure and taking the proper steps to support a digitized world and stay current in the latest technology will be essential for any business to remain competitive in a post-COVID-19 world, as well as take a human-centred and inclusive approach.