There is much to worry about here, of course, including the persistent tracking of workers and their effectiveness, at all tiers of the workplace. Also, managers will rely a lot less on anecdotal evidence than actual performance when it comes to evaluating worker productivity, which can be a good thing.
Tele-health. Health care is another area that was ripe for disruption prepandemic, as the industry had resisted tech for many years. A number of giant companies like Microsoft and Google have tried to streamline the consumer health experience, while many others have been part of digitizing the back end, but it’s still a miasma of confusion. The pandemic only underscored the poor state of the country’s health services.
The Covid era is the first time in many decades that the well-off have had to experience the inadequate health services that have long been suffered by marginalized populations. Because of the mess that has been Covid testing and vaccine scheduling, among other examples, huge numbers of people now understand from firsthand experience the cost of our broken medical system.
No surprise, then, that there has also been a surge in the use of various tele-medicine start-ups, such as mental-health apps. While these bring legitimate and significant worries about security and the efficacy of online diagnostics (there is precious little room for error when it comes to health), those who run our hopelessly complex and expensive health systems will be looking for more cost-effective ways to deliver services.
Retail. Physical retail — including restaurants and bars — has been under enormous pressure for years, as tech companies have increasingly placed themselves between the goods and customers. All the while, tech companies have been building one moat after the next to solidify their strength by providing better service, streamlining delivery logistics and offering better prices.
Companies like Amazon — and to a lesser extent other success stories like Uber Eats, Instacart and DoorDash — have been girded in the pandemic. Consumers have been trained over the past year to use these various services and will continue to choose them over walking to a retailer or restaurant. These companies have established trusted brands, since they have become indispensable.
Again, data acquired over the past year will help these big companies improve service and target users. This means they have big advantages to further develop all manner of products.