Many are speculating if there would be status quo ante of social and civil life or there could be a technologically smarter world post pandemic. Glimpses of it have been witnessed in many technologically advanced countries like South Korea and Singapore that have turned to smart phone alert services to track the movements of patients with COVID-19 and provide advance warnings to the non-affected. Drive-through testing facilities have been introduced. Singapore is checking compliance of the quarantine measures by citizens through the sharing of location data and CCTV footage and the tracking of the contact-chain of affected persons. Innovators have already started disrupting the post-pandemic world, which could lead to smarter cities with high prospects of government support. China is using 3D printing technology to build hospitals and quarantine homes. The United States Patent and Trademarks Office supports small companies, individual inventors and research centres by providing fast-track evaluation of COVID-19-related patent applications pro-bono. An evolution in public behaviour is evident by the increased adaptation of online platforms by schools, universities, online conferences, and virtual reality tours by tech and non-tech companies.
Doomsayers have been predicting a recession akin to the Great Depression, but this pandemic has also activated successful disrupters like Amazon, Google, Siemens and Microsoft for services like B2B, cloud computing, data analytics, 3D printing and tools for remote office like work from home (WfH) easier. It may be cliché to say “In every crisis lies the seeds of new opportunities” but it is true and rapidly unfolding now. Companies like Humu, which analyzes employee behaviour to help to improve human experience digitally, has raised $40 million from two financing cycles. Companies would focus on empowering Edge computing to build a strong interface for end users to ameliorate remote offices or WfH environments. For industries dependent upon human interface, the Internet of Things, the next generation of digital interface, will link smartphone screens to industry screens, automobile dashboards, and even power generator control room screens. Blockchain technology provides a steel clad digital ledger to record transactions, documents, signatures and attestations that cannot be with modified in retrospect. It is being increasingly used by governments, health sectors, and the food and agricultural industry, for example, and as a substitute for printed money. Use of this technology enhances ease of doing business by simplifying the vetting of documents and due diligence of parties.
On the flip side, many famous disrupters, like Elon Musk, are furious at the California Government for not lifting the stay-in home orders resulting in enormous losses to Tesla. WeWork, Airlines, Airbnb and Uber’s mobility centric businesses are suffering significantly especillay as they bring unkown persons close physically. People and businesses have to evolve quickly and adapt to co-habit in a post-pandemic world that could have autonomously driven cars, virtual reality tourism, virtual meetings and conferences, and 3D printing, among other technologies. Moreover, these technologies can be provided extensively on a large scale through licensing, commercial agreements, joint ventures, and strategic investments. By investing in right kind of start-up, monetization will help the innovation sector. The future lies in leveraging intelligent technologies by entrepreneurs in their development and business at large in adopting them.
COVID 19 has altered our world permanently. To survive and thrive, HBR suggests, Band Aid solutions to be avoided and overhaul of strategies and expedited digitisation pursued.
Written by Aishwerya Kansal, IPilogue Contributor. Aishwerya is pursuing Masters in Law in International Business Laws at Osgoode Hall Law School, and she is also an IP Innovation Clinic Fellow.