The likelihood of a pandemic has been a potential risk for the past couple of years, but the timing and global outbreak of the Coronavirus is something that no one could have predicted. However, as the world becomes more connected than ever before, here are a few internet trends that seemed unlikely in the past.
Virtual Stores and Contactless Delivery
The trend of online shopping is something everyone is aware of in today’s time. The 2003 SARS outbreak is a classic example of how retail giants Alibaba gained popularity when people were asked to practice social distancing and stay indoors to reduce the risk of infection. For a long time, these businesses were worried about whether they will have to shut down their virtual stores or not.
However, the outbreak of coronavirus has boosted sales of such online platforms as people have been asked to not step outside their homes. For example, old people who prefer going out and shopping also started using mobile apps to make purchases.
Food delivery apps around the world have come up with a new option called “Contactless Delivery” for every order. How it works is: you place an order in the app and select “Contactless Delivery” option before checking out. The delivery executive will track the order, leave your food package on a clean surface at your doorstep, click a photo and send it to you. Smart!
The Rise of Gaming and Online-education Apps
When people tend to stay indoors for a long period of time, they try to figure out how to invest their time. According to stats on how people chose to pass away their time, apps related to the education, entertainment and gaming sector were among the most popular downloads.
Online education came out at the top as schools had to pull down shutters in order to ensure safety of their students. Students were asked to take online classes to keep up with course modules and finish their academic term on time.
Live Events by Musicians
With musicians cancelling their concerts and sports events looking more precarious by the day, there was bound to be a void to fill in people’s lives. But with fast-emerging technologies, everyone will get hands-on virtual experience. Social media and gaming platforms are the best examples of how a Virtual Experience can work out for an individual confined to his/her house during trying times.
Artists like John Legend, Keith Urban, Miley Cyrus, Chris Martin from Coldplay, Katherine McPhee, and bands like Metallica, Linkin Park, Phish etc are now streaming performances to their fans from their own homes, live and free.
Popular game brands have also come up with exciting new updates. Ubisoft released an update for its game Assassin’s Creed: Origins, allowing players to have access to the Discovery Tour mode. In this mode, gamers got a taste of virtual blend of history and entertainment when they got the opportunity to visit places such as Giza, Alexandria etc.
A Blessing to Improve People’s Well-being
Even before the coronavirus outbreak was classified as a pandemic by the WHO, the world was plagued by the threat of social competition and rampant inequality. As the situation worsened due to coronavirus and people were confined to their homes, organizations started working round the clock and established ways to improve people’s well-being with open arms.
One example is of an American hotel which gave its guests access to Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response in their rooms. The videos featured performers using numerous props to provide a virtual mental massage after a long day. Such a trend picked up after the lockdown of cities and countries to break the chain of people contracting the virus.
Having Virtual Companions
Having virtual companions is a controversial trend that has been in the market for the past couple of years. It is a known fact that people have become used to virtual companions and a few even look for virtual personalities who befriend, educate and entertain. The current public health crisis has seen people find solace in these virtual companions.
In January 2020, tech giant Samsung introduced Neon, virtual human bots designed to behave like human beings and showcase intelligence equivalent to the young species. They have been specifically created to function alongside people sharing experiences etc rather than performing mechanical functions.
Curated by ‘Ruchit Rastogi‘.