That is the question on everyone’s minds. The coronavirus has shaken up the world and left many of us feeling dizzy at the prospect of not only how our societies and businesses are going to adjust to the “new normal” way of life, but – more importantly – respond to the immediate technical challenges that lie ahead. Even now we are part of the low touch economy, where precautions on physical contact, travel restrictions, higher hygiene standards and an increased dependency and use of remote, digital technology are leading factors that are very likely here to stay.
Evidence of this is apparent throughout a variety of sectors we have worked with, including retail, border security, online banking and travel. All are turning their heads towards the future and looking to develop strategies that will enable them to adapt, identify issues, boost resiliency and meet the ever-growing online and remote working demands of their customers and employees.
In light of this, as performance and automation specialists, Spike95 have been closely observing what the “new normal” will potentially look like and how organisations can efficiently pivot their systems and software to meet the new challenges they face.
Retail and logistics
In our previous article about the challenges for retail, we discussed how rapidly the industry has had to change in order to adhere to the new behavioural buying patterns of their consumers. On the one hand, brick-and-mortar businesses have had to close up shop temporarily to align with governmental restrictions and lack of custom. On the other hand, those providing online services have been under pressure to maintain a high level of momentum in keeping up with demand across the entire retail spectrum.
Evidently, Covid-19 has made us hypersensitive to touchable surfaces and there’s talk of expanding voice and machine vision interfaces, resulting in fewer touchscreen devices and contactless payment methods such as Apple Pay or PayPal. Plus, technologies like RFID and Bluetooth are able to seamlessly send information to shoppers in an efficient and convenient way; thereby completing transactions without the need to have direct contact with others or in-store products.
In terms of logistics, this could also help to make changes in distribution and warehouse operations. To avoid close proximity AI processes, algorithms and robotics are now capable of distinguishing products – QR and bar code scans can further help identify and track objects. Scaling up distribution networks to cope with more home deliveries, as well as returns processing will need to be slick and contact free too. With regards to an increase in home deliveries, companies are expressing concerns over environmental issues. Amazon for example have started to batch deliveries to reduce their carbon footprint from a cost, consumer and sustainability perspective. Furthermore, to stop overcrowding, moving away from shared terminals and entering data to individual devices will help to secure product and logistic capacity and improve your overall supply chain management.
As more and more retailers digitise, data management and intelligent automation will be key in forecasting potential issues, monitoring user behaviour, optimising performance and customer experiences, as well as validating cost-effective models. Through forensic analysis of performance metrics and testing, we have the very tools to help your retail systems adapt and deliver the results your customers expect.
An increased use in digital technology and automation has also revolutionised how security at borders is provided and consumed. The reduction of paperwork and an increase in e-signatures and smartphone-based passports containing past and current medical records are all feasible.
Improving border management and checks, especially when it comes to social distancing measures to prevent further infection, will resolve the issues security agencies are facing in terms of effectively process items and people at a speedy rate. E-gates are already widely accepted and there could be an avenue for technical assistance on health inspections. For example, contactless thermometers to measure body temperature and additions like automatic hand-sanitiser dispensers upon arrival or check in/out points will be highly beneficial.
The scale of the pandemic between countries and regions reinforces the need to share real-time information using virtual platforms and agile processes. Modernisation and the use for API systems to access data between multiple intermediaries are critical in these cases and with implemented testing strategies, we can ensure that your software is reliable and accurate for border security.
Travel companies and the tourism sector as a whole have taken a massive, unprecedented hit from Covid-19. Global travel bans have brought airports to a grinding halt, whereas train companies have reduced the number of trains running – restricting the amount of passengers and to help essential workers get to their destinations.
One of the biggest problems the industry faces is regaining the trust of the public and ensuring that they feel safe and confident enough to travel with others. Similar to border security, automated and biometric technologies will be fully operational in processing medical credentials and identity verification. More contactless technologies are likely to appear too, with touchless finger prints, facial recognition software and voice commands. But, such data and systems have yet to be outlined and will require testing to meet the security measures needed.
AI is also set to transform rail infrastructure. Tim Flower who is the the head of maintenance at Network Rail has high hopes of utilising it to submit data to engineers of any issues or defects in tracks. “There is massive potential for us to use AI not only to better understand issues around rail infrastructure, but also to create solutions to solve them”. Spike95 have extensive experience in the field of smart train and machine learning technology that could help operators improve the efficiency of their rail systems
Online banking has been an everyday experience for many customers for the last two decades, but after Covid-19, it will for many more no longer be an option, but a possible necessity in our new reality. As an alternative to in-person banking and exchanges, digitised banking has never been more attractive, especially with regards to handling banknotes and coins that could transmit the virus from person to person.
According to J.D. Power, there will be opportunities to improve awareness and the utilisation of online banking tools, as well as an increased use in mobile banking options. From managing banking alerts, electronic payments, expense tracking and budgeting, turning debit cards on or off and reporting on lost or stolen credit cards.
New challenger banks and fintechs are expected to gain in the new normal having already invested in their modern digital experiences and processing technology. Traditional banks will therefore be under pressure to catch up and develop new user experiences such as remote smart home devices or a return for voice controlled banking. Spike95 have built significant expertise in the financial sector through many years of working with large global financial organisations to accelerate their delivery and improve performance and scalability.
To conclude, as the impact of Covid-19 endures, it appears that the “new normal” is headed towards an era of digital innovation that aims to accelerate our previous IT systems, reduce unessential contact, improve user experience and establish a more secure, flexible network and infrastructure.
We realise that organisations are under a tremendous amount of strain to prepare for the future. At Spike95, we have the expertise and knowledge to make sure that your applications continue to run smoothly today and tomorrow. To discuss how we can help, leave us your details and we’ll be in touch as soon as we can!