It’s already clear that many aspects of our lives will never be the same again post-pandemic. The workplace is forever changed, our ideas about education are taking a quantum leap forwards, online shopping will continue to out-compete brick-and-mortar alternatives, and previously niche digital industries such as exercising online have been given a boost that has helped them bridge the gap to their physical world counterparts. The ‘normality’ many of us longed for just months ago has been exposed as nothing more than a temporary construct.
In reality, Covid-19 is not actually driving these changes, it’s just accelerating them. The move to a more online-centric life was already well underway before the events of 2020 and the revolution was always going to gather speed as emerging technologies continue to increase the possibilities and convenience of online life. Here are 3 reasons this trend is will continue to accelerate long after lockdowns are over.
5G Wireless networks and beyond
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels5G technology has been touted as the solution to any connectivity problems we’ve experienced in the past and the path towards a totally wireless future.
Our current networking infrastructure, 4G (the G simply stands for ‘generation’), was also responsible for a revolution in the way we live. It changed the face of data transfer and allowed us to stream high-definition videos anywhere, anytime. 5G technology will take that a step further by allowing substantially more rapid data transfer (said to be over 100 times faster than 4G), lower latency communications, and much higher data caps for mobile devices.
The roll-out of 4G saw the birth of new companies and industries in areas such as ride-sharing, meal delivery, and social networking, to name just a few. None of these services would have been possible using 3G networks. 5G will multiply the speeds and possibilities of the current generation of mobile protocols tenfold. This will likely lead to the births of yet more paradigm-shifting companies and industries that most of us can’t yet imagine. It will also further increase the efficacy and uptake of services that currently rely on the upper limits of what 4G technology can provide.
It’s relatively easy to imagine life with faster data transfer speeds than 5G will offer because of the fact that it simply an improvement (however drastic) on technology that we are already accustomed to. Virtual reality is a whole other ball game.
VR and AR (augmented reality) technology is currently on the cusp of true viability and global adoption. Consider for a second the implications this could have on our lives.
Travel will slowly but surely become unnecessary. VR will allow for face-to-face meetings, exploring new locations, and, once we master haptic feedback and other sensory replication techniques, even be able to replicate physical sensations that happen during experiences such as eating or skydiving. Marketers will be able to show exactly what a product would like in your house or on your body, while architects can give you a true walk-through of what their ideas will look like once realized in the physical world. You’ll be able to learn new skills through interactive training and fully immersive simulations.
Of course, this is just scraping the surface of how VR and AR could reshape our lives, but it’s clear that technologies like this will continue to drive us towards doing even more things online as they improve and become more affordable.