The recent pandemic has proven to be an interesting and challenging time for the tech industry and the companies that exist within it.
While being locked in our houses has been a godsend to many more entertainment-based companies, it’s been a horror show for others, such as tech-middlemen focused industries like Airbnb.
Throughout all of this, some have proven themselves to be absolutely essential though, maybe more so than in regular life.
So, which industries are they and why has lockdown proven to be such a great opportunity for them to step up?
The slow death of brick and mortar shopping was established long before the virus became an international concern.
However, the ensuing lockdown has only served to push us further towards a world where ecommerce is the predominant form of retail.
In truth, ecommerce has really stepped up throughout this period. Online stores haven’t just offered us a place to buy gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions even though we can’t physically spend them together.
They’ve given people a place to order food, new clothes and the tools they need to properly invest in new hobbies.
Essentially ecommerce has given the public an easy and convenient way to distract themselves from lockdown and keep going without putting themselves in harm’s way.
Online retail has also offered more traditional businesses looking for new ways to reach their customers a new avenue to offset lost income.
It’s easier than ever to get into ecommerce, thanks to the availability of template web store builders, highly informative online guides for beginners, and a range of household name platforms to sell everything from craft creations to face masks on.
Not everyone enjoys shopping online, but there’s no denying it’s been a savior for many people unable to leave their home, offering businesses that would have otherwise suffered an opportunity to keep products moving and consumers satisfied.
The pandemic has unintentionally led to the biggest boom digital communication has ever seen. Being locked in their homes for months on end has forced people and businesses to find new ways to communicate beyond coffee shop meetings and walks in the park.
Zoom, Google Hangouts, and House Party have become some of the most popular tools online in the last few months, housing everything from family get-togethers to weekly quiz nights.
We’ve seen Hollywood film cast reunions and late-night talk show interviews conducted over these platforms, all part of a significant surge in daily users.
Beyond video chat, internal business communication tools such as Slack have allowed colleagues to stay in touch and retain excellent levels of productivity throughout the crisis.
Without such ease of access to one another, businesses may have found it harder to communicate tasks effectively and solve pressing problems.
Whether or not these platforms will see the level of usability they have once the crisis is over remains to be seen.
However, there is no doubt that a huge amount of people have now been exposed to their benefits that may never have done so without the lockdown. Expect to be logging into international zoom calls at work for years to come.
As if social media didn’t have enough of a hold over our lives before the pandemic, it has truly shown itself to dominate how we consume media and communicate.
As mentioned above, communication through digital means has become a key part of the lockdown experience.
Social media has played no small role in this, with many people using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram’s messaging services to communicate with friends and family beyond informing them about their lives and opinions through traditional updates.
Social media has further established itself as the center of news throughout this pandemic, for better or worse.
These platforms have become people’s online hub for extended browsing trips, acting as the point from which they get all of their news and information, rather than visiting traditional media sites independently.
This has further changed the way people receive information about the virus. In a way, this has been essential to making sure people remain informed about the latest goings-on regarding the virus and government updates, coupled with efforts from all platforms to direct them towards how best to deal with and recognize symptoms.
However, there have been questions raised about whether or not the algorithms on these platforms provide fair and realistic interpretations of what is happening in the world.
In all, social media has been essential for keeping us in touch with a world we can’t all step out into right now, despite the problems with it that continue to boil beneath the surface.
Entertainment has been key to making those long lockdown weeks feel a little bit easier to manage.
While many have turned to hit streaming platform series or downloaded digital books to their Kindles, online gaming has seen a significant surge that has only further solidified it as the leading form of media in the world. Evidently, people are looking for a way to share something with their loved ones and escape to new worlds.
High profile new releases such as Animal Crossing and updates to popular games including Call Of Duty: Warzone have captured the imagination of avid gamers, leading to a 35% upturn in games sales compared to 2019.
This suggests that not only are traditional gamer retreating to virtual worlds to escape lockdown but the public at large.
Away from the mainstream gaming platforms, traditional quiz games have offered people a way to connect and play together over video calls. Whatever form it is happening in, it can be said gaming has never been so popular.
There’s usually not much techy about getting fit.
Under lockdown, not much of what we previously did to stay in shape is available to us. We can’t lift weights, play sports together or go for long bike rides.
So to get around this and make sure they don’t lose their beach bodies for a summer spend indoors, fitness fanatics have turned to more digital ways of staying fit.
While many gyms are struggling to survive lockdown, people have turned to home fitness apparatus such as Peloton, an exercise bike that includes online classes streamed directly into your home. Streaming is really where home fitness has taken off throughout lockdown.
In the UK, fitness instructor Joe Wicks has become a household name thanks to his daily Youtube exercise routines, aimed largely that kids but enjoyed by adults equally.
Many fitness brands and gyms have attempted to keep their subscribers and customers interested in their output through follow-along videos they can watch at their pleasure and a ramping up or guides.
While not quite the tech innovations of other industries, fitness has had to adapt to suit the needs of its consumers throughout this awkward time. With many people taking stock of their fitness more than ever before, it’s safe to say their efforts have been largely successful.
Had the pandemic happened even ten years earlier we may have experienced a very different response from businesses and individuals. These industries have shown not just the power of tech innovations, but their own willingness to adapt to solve everyday problems in people’s lives.