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There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way we do things. Businesses and municipalities have had to adapt and adjust protocols. Families have adjusted to working and attending school from home. Through it all, technology has supported many of the processes. In fact, many of the new trends emerging have impacted us so much that they will be here long after the pandemic shutdowns are behind us.

1. Telemedicine

The medical field has been drastically altered by the COVID-19 pandemic and technology has become a driving force for change in it. The next time you visit a healthcare provider, you might be surprised to see some of these new options to streamline the process:

2. Remote Conferencing

With a huge portion of the workforce operating remotely, video conferencing provided a way to keep offices connected despite physical distances. Zoom, Webex and Google Meet rose to the top for businesses and schools that found themselves suddenly operating in a whole new way.

3. Contactless Payments

The next time you pay for something in a physical store, you may be surprised to see that they are offering contactless payment methods. More and more stores have embraced this technology as a way to keep both customers and staff safer and reduce physical contact between them. The coin shortage has further highlighted how digital payments can help ease the financial strain of COVID.

4. Online Shopping and Ordering

The days of roaming leisurely up and down the aisles of your favorite store may be gone, but they have been replaced with a quicker and easier option: online ordering and curbside pickup. People are increasingly turning to online platforms for everything from groceries to sporting goods. In fact, one study found that nearly one in three U.S. households used an online grocery delivery or pickup service in late March and that nearly a quarter of them were first time users of the service.

5. Distance Learning

Many people have viewed online learning with skepticism, and some still continue to do so. However, there is a definite need for the service and online platforms are blossoming with the sudden influx of virtual students. Current school plans for the fall show that a large portion of schools will continue to operate online or at least offer it as an option for concerned parents.

6. Entertainment Streaming

Streaming services have long been catching up to traditional cable or over-the-air television in many households, and COVID shutdowns appear to have given them the advantage. While Netflix remains a leader, there are plenty of newer and emerging platforms, including NBC’s new Peacock streaming that offers both free and paid packages.

7. Robotic Sanitizers

There has also been a marked increase in the demand for sanitizing equipment. Scientists rose to the occasion and developed automated systems that can use UV light or sprayers to disinfect contaminated areas without anyone needing to enter them. One team in Ireland has developed a robot, nicknamed Violet, that can drastically reduce the time and human effort required to sanitize medical facilities between COVID patients.

8. Automated Warehouses

Cramped and closed warehouse spaces offer an ideal environment for germs to spread. Some companies are increasing automated systems to receive and track inventory, pick orders, and handle shipping processes. This reduces the number of people required to be in the space and helps cut down on rates of infection.

9. Drones

What do you do when your dog needs to take a walk but you are under quarantine orders? For some clever folks, the solution came in the form of a drone. These unmanned devices are also helping to get deliveries out without person-to-person contact.

10. Remote Wellness Programs

For those who want to stay on a workout schedule, but aren’t able to get to the gym during shutdowns, online wellness platforms offer a convenient solution. From exercise classes to personal training sessions and dance lessons, you can get the same or a familiar experience through an app or website now.

There is no denying that COVID-19 is serious and devastating. From telehealth to contactless payments to drone deliveries, several really innovative and useful technologies have emerged from the darkness.