Life has taken an unexpected turn since the Covid-19 hit our lives. It is a reality that the corona pandemic has been keeping us partially confined to home. Compulsory social distancing forces us to change our lifestyle. Social gatherings have just vanished. Still, life must go on. For that we have to adopt a new way of life supported by technology. Let us think of various areas where technology can help us to live "near to normal" life during this pandemic.
Shopping has changed substantially, sensing the imminent impact felt during the pandemic.. Buying essentials, gadgets or dress- all are going online. Supermarkets are risky zones when it comes to the spread of Corona. Home delivery is the most popular mode of avoiding a trip to the store with its human interaction. In rural areas too, supermarkets have started home delivery of essentials. There are even small super markets which promote online purchase through its websites and apps. Online purchase apps and websites are growing at a whopping rate of a thousand percent. These websites provide considerable discounts and free home delivery to its clients. Selecting and ordering goods from a website or an app and getting it delivered sitting in the luxury of our home has changed the style of shopping we do. This is likely to be a trend in future too.
Schools and colleges have transformed themselves to completely online mode. The entire system started adopting online classrooms to cover the syllabus. Since opening of colleges and schools is a distant possibility, transition from conventional classrooms to online platform was unexpectedly fast. Now classes from KG to post-graduate level are conducted online using various platforms. Online exams are also being conducted by schools and colleges. Customized platforms provided by various companies have been giving tremendous support to make online classes more effective.
Work from home (WFH) is now making waves in every sphere of work. We need just a computer and a good internet connection to get access to office servers and do the entrusted work. WFH has more productivity and it is a low cost affair too. With the help of conferencing apps, client and office meetings too can be convened efficiently. WFH will save huge expenses on space and power of companies. There is a likelihood of continuing this system by companies even after this pandemic, since this has been found to bring economy.
Offices and business establishments have started using attendance and entry system using iris or face detection. Infrared thermometer is widely used for primary monitoring of body temperature to ascertain whether the person is infected or not. Drones are widely used to monitor and ensure whether safety alerts from police and health authorities are complied with. Photographs and videos taken by remote sensing satellites are also used for surveillance.
Modified battlefield radar is yet another tool to ease corona pandemic restrictions. It can help in monitoring various parameters of a patient like pulse rate, heart beats and body temperature remotely to avoid the risk of infection to the health workers. Robots of different profiles are widely used to sanitize, clean and arrange infected areas inside hospitals. Many hospitals use robots to supply food and medicines to the infected persons so that effective social distancing protocols can be put in place during delivery of items.
A concept named NEMBOT released recently by design consultancy MANYONE, will bring revolutionary changes in patient care. NEMBOT (Non-Emergency Medical Robots) is a short distance driverless electric vehicle concept which can be used for various supplies to patients efficiently. Health apps like ResApp which can diagnose different respiratory diseases by listening to the sound of cough of the patient are also much in demand. A research team in Queensland University has developed this platform to treat respiratory diseases in a big way, since corona primarily attacks the respiratory system.
Chatbots using artificial intelligence technology is being used for emotional counseling and for analysing psychological disorders. This can help manage large number of cases expected during this pandemic scenario. Engineering and medical teams at The university of Michigan have developed 2 protective devices to protect health workers from infection - a negative pressure procedural tent and a portable helmet device. Both these devices create a negative pressure environment for the wearer, which can prevent spread of infected air from the patient. The whole-body disinfection chamber developed by DRDO is a new hit. On a person entering the chamber, an electronically operated pump will produce a disinfection mist of hyper sodium chloride for the disinfection and decontamination. Thus the person coming out of the chamber gets effectively disinfected. This product is called PERSONAL SANITISATION ENCLOSURE (PSE).
Online entertainment options are of great relief to get rid of the burden of loneliness caused by lockdown and social distancing. OTT (over-the-top) media platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and Hotstar which stream content directly to subscribers through high speed internet, are widely used for entertainment. Thus OTT is enjoying a big boom now. Telecom companies are forced to request OTT service providers to limit its use, since downloading content has increased pressure on telecom networks. Even blockbusters are being released through OTT platforms. Since public gatherings, especially the opening of theatres are not likely now, increased demand for OTT media service is here to stay.
Online Gaming is yet another area of entertainment which grows at a phenomenal pace. A research says that 70% of the population under 40 years are hooked up to one or the other online game, which however is not a good sign from social discipline angle. This is a fact that online gaming kills effective time of youth which in turn affects their productivity. Exploring ways to limit its use and the inevitable exercise of restraint are the only ways to ensure its optimum use.
There are also avenues through which one can create wealth sitting at home. All that this takes are awareness, a good internet connection, and strong intention to work hard. In some cases, money is also needed. Those interested in investing opt for stock and commodity markets. High risk intraday and low risk long term investment options are being explored. For wise investment, one need to understand the fundamentals and techniques of the stocks they intend to buy. Online platforms with good leverage are available with almost all stock brokers. Because of the stiff competition, broker's commission has come down drastically.
An online translation job is a great opportunity by which one can make money sitting at home. Overseas companies and clients engage less expensive Indian manpower in outsourcing their data documentation and translation jobs. Indian companies too have started outsourcing their jobs. This opportunity can be utilized by skilled freelancers. The level of knowledge of foreign languages, linguistics and phonetics will decide how successful one would be in this profession. This is an unlimited opportunity and can be accessed from various outsourcing websites.
As an entrepreneur, one can tap the huge potential of online shopping and home delivery service by starting an online portal which has a high growth potential. Online tuitions using platforms like YouTube and Google classroom is also a booming an enterprise opportunity. For someone who has linguistic skills, he can start language classes which is a hugely untapped area.
Mathematics is another prospective area for experts. A podcast is another mode of earning income sitting at home. A podcast is just like a blog with attachment of audio, video or pdf files dealing with a topic in a serial format, which is now released through socializing sites like YouTube, Facebook or Instagram. Starting a YouTube channel is also a good bet to fetch money. An effective way will be to select a category which is rarely available in YouTube and start an attractive channel. With good marketing methods, one can earn much from a YouTube channel.
Lockdown has also created considerable demand for fitness apps and websites. People have started trying various fitness methods using dedicated apps and websites. Fitness trainers can start classes through online channels about yoga, or other Indian and foreign styles of exercise. Despite the existence of a spate of vendors now, good quality classes are much in demand even now. But developing a profile with good demand needs dedicated effort.
Technological amelioration is aimed at making life easy and comfortable. The trick is in learning how to put the available developments to rewarding use. When problems come, it is the wont of technology to step in bring a solution. And we will run the risk of being obsolete if we don't update ourselves.
(The author is an engineer with Akashvani and writes for news portals. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Views are personal)