Technology often gets a bad press.
But perceptions changed during the pandemic. Rather than being problematic at worst, and a nuisance at best, digital technology was a lifeline connecting us to friends, family, work and entertainment during lockdown. The biggest shifts in perception were among those people who had been least positive about digital technology beforehand.
Two years on from that first lockdown and old habits are coming back. The drift back into the workplace is underway. The age of the Zoom quiz is behind us. Public services face a barrage of tabloid criticism for adopting online-first or remote practices. The share value of Netflix has plummeted.
These habits will have big consequences for organisations of all shapes and sizes and for the recovery more widely. A long-term shift to remote work upends long-standing economies that depend on commuting, while also creating the opportunity to untie the tether between office workers and city centres – potentially to the benefit of other places. Remote GP consultations reduce the pressure on a health system that will see waiting lists continue to grow for another two years while also angering those who want to see their doctor face to face. The use of personal data, including location tracking, was a vital tool in measuring and limiting the spread of Covid – but perhaps not one that would be tolerated by citizens in ordinary times.
Meanwhile, other seismic changes edge closer. Net Zero is unachievable without leveraging new technologies. Electric vehicles will replace petrol and diesel ones within a decade. The continued roll out of 5G will provide the technological mesh that will support smart factories, smart homes and maybe even smart cities.
Are we better placed to embrace new technology now than we were before the pandemic? Or have we regained our cynicism? Join us at our next Trends Briefing on 30th June, where we discuss all this and more.