When facing a time of so many transformations, the best thing to do is to try to replace uncertainty with curiosity and trust. That’s the advice given by futurist Amy Webb to companies in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute (FTI), doesn’t like to predict the future, but rather defends trend analysis as a way to become prepared to deal with challenges that lay ahead. Check out some phenomena that have gained strength and will most likely become stronger in the post-coronavirus era, thanks to insights drawn from the FTI, McKinsey and the Board of Innovation.
1. Low Touch Economy
Some habits that were reinforced during social isolation may become the norm after the pandemic, which would stimulate the so-called low touch economy that is based on less physical interactions. A study carried out by the Board of Innovation predicts that working from home will be optimized with new tools, procedures and safety policies. E-commerce will also become stronger and include more sophisticated delivery and take-out services (with frozen food delivery points, for example).
2. The Era of Resilience
The capacity to absorb major shocks and come out of the crisis even stronger will be crucial to face the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts. Even after the social isolation measures begin to wane, businesses will still need to identify new ways to operate. McKinseys’s analysis foresees that many companies will reevaluate their priorities and place resilience on the top of the list together with costs and efficiency.
3. Synthetic Future
This decade will be a synthetic one. That’s what the Future Today Institute (FTI) states in the Tech Trends 2020 study. The hefty report includes 406 trends for the upcoming years, and highlights the evolution and popularization of synthetic versions of life. Soon, we’ll be producing molecules “on demand” at an industrial scale, which will impact the development of vaccines and medical treatments. Synthetic food will also become increasingly mainstream. And Amazon is already developing “digital twins” of a city in the United States.
4. Economy Powered by 5G
The FTI also foresees that interactions and digital services triggered by the pandemic will gain even more power with 5G. With the capacity to connect billions of devices instantaneously, the latest generation of mobile networks will deeply transform transportation, education, financial services, entertainment and health. There will be huge opportunities in areas such as home automation, autonomous transportation, streaming and telemedicine. Verizon is already testing 5G experiences by partnering up with startups, companies and educational institutions, in the six 5G Lab units located in the United States and in Europe.