COVID has hit us hard, no doubt about it. We have experienced lockdowns, social distancing, layoffs, closing down of companies, and many more. We have adjusted to a new lifestyle, i.e., the new normal life of digitalization. Yes, this concept was already prevalent, but not in such a massive magnitude. We will take a walk and see how much our lives are forever changed.
Instead of cash, people are choosing contactless payment methods, like credit cards, UPI, digital wallets, BHIM, mobile banking, etc. If people had an electric bill or water bill to pay, they used apps, like Google Pay, Paytm, Phonepe, etc. Similarly, they booked gas cylinders, paid rents, booked an Ola, or Uber from these apps. Recharging Cable TV, DTH, or OTT subscriptions is made possible with these apps. Companies would send salaries directly to the bank accounts of their employees, rather than handing out the cash. These apps made the concept of bank transfer easier to a significant extent.
Grocery and food
Several local businesses had no other option than to digitize their grocery and food business. People would order and pay for these things online. Executives at Zomato and Swiggy mentioned that they had seen a sharp rise in the number of orders received during the lockdown. With contactless and safe delivery, people now prefer this option more than ever.
Health and medicine
This sector was perhaps the first to accept the concept of digitalization. Doctors practiced telemedicine, in which patients can consult them online. If needed, experts may prescribe medicines and tests to patients. Medical shop owners and lab technicians will receive the prescription and keep the necessary item/s ready to avoid unnecessary delays.
Health and wellness experts started numerous YouTube videos and started telling people about how to live a healthy and active life.
Several businesses switched to online mode when lockdown started. Companies are forced to ask their employees to work from home. Online conference calls and video calls are necessary to enhance collaboration between team members, thus, improving overall productivity.
Government asked cinema halls and malls to close down. So, film producers and directors had to look for another platform to publish these films. So, they switched to OTT (Over-the-Top) platform and released the films there. Also, they have created many web series to entertain viewers.
Sports is another industry that is massively affected by this pandemic. Around the world, matches are being organized in empty stadiums, which can lower the morale of the players. Some sports decided to stream the game live, such as the cricket league, IPL (Indian Premier League). Disney Hotstar is streaming this tournament so that the Indian fans can enjoy the matches from the confinement of their homes.
As schools and colleges were shut down, teachers, the school administration has to find a way to continue teaching the students without any disruption. Online classes are held, and they formed a better communication channel between the two parties. Students can also learn several concepts by enrolling in both free and paid courses on online learning platforms, like Udemy, and Coursera.
So, in a way, this pandemic pushed us towards digitalization. No situation is bad, digitalization in India was long overdue, and COVID pressurized us to do the right thing. Of course, there are some issues, like security concerns, online frauds, etc. But, we have now used to the digital nature of our life, and we cannot go back, even if we want to. What are your thoughts and feelings on this topic?