The New Normal

The world has changed, and with it some of the basic rules of our society. Some things will disappear; and many newly-established rules will remain with us—like, keeping distance and hygiene. And legal and technical pitfalls have quickly adapted to the new normal. Innovation will be key to helping humanity adapt to this new normal. And how we use exponential technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be crucial to setting up post-pandemic global health structures.

The pandemic will not only expose, but accelerate big societal changes. Here is what I predict, if we deploy existing innovation.

Predicting the Next Pandemic

We have now increased accumulation in scientific data for infection and immunity status of the population, which will enable us to make real-time predictions. 

The easiest and fastest way to implement this is through smartphone apps. They can provide GPS data in combination with contact tracking during a pandemic as well as recommendations and warnings. These location-based apps can remind us of distance, warn and manage crowded situations.

The New Work Normal

Instead of “home office“, I prefer the focus on mobile or remote work. The efficiency will increase for most white collar jobs, by skipping the daily commuting. 

Combining these jobs with workflow automation (RPA & CPA), predictive assistance and AI decision guidance, humans can focus on their core competence and hand over the boring work to smart digital assistants. 

Augmented Intelligence is the key to smart work, location independent and highly collaborative. New cooperation platforms will even make skill sharing possible.

Conferences and meetings will become interactive and with immersive technologies they turn into spatial experiences. Technology agnostic and not limited to smartphones or laptops.

Here are the real gold nuggets, because the individual feeling for time returns and people are more satisfied and will start being creative again.

Accelerated Digital Transformation

Another aspect of remote work is the resource economy for employers. 

Some companies already started moving into smaller buildings, while the majority of their workers no longer has to be on site. There is an enormous opportunity for optimization.

Smaller spaces require less electricity, canteens can be minimized, logistics and maintenance become easier and more efficient. 

This minimalization trend with additional smartification of the office spaces, to foster collaboration with seamless data exchange and processing, creates impressive synergy effects. As a result that more innovation in robotics and hybrid models will happen, to enable all jobs being transformed.

The work model itself, the rigid work time structure is in reshaping for a solution and result oriented model.

The New Mobility Normal

Now that the daily traffic has been reduced to the necessary, we experience a deceleration. This less-Mobility is very good for all of us.

Everyone relaxes. The automotive industry is noticing this shift and thinking about reliable mobility services. NOW would be the perfect time to launch autonomous driving on a global scale. A revolution on our urban and rural mobility.

Not stopping here, traveling itself is being reinvented and ‘dialing in’ is the new business trip.

The New Travel Normal

As Bill Gates recently stated: ‘There are a few things, like business trips, that I doubt will ever go back’. 

Employers noticed the savings potential of unnecessary business trips; appreciated by most of the business travelers. Their most valuable resource, time became available for them instead of spending hours in transit. The new collaborative, virtual and augmented work turned from a threat to the best friend.

Private trips will become unpractical, maybe impossible in economy class due to distance rules. The center seats are already excluded from booking.

Will we face a revival of an A380 with business seats only? I doubt it.

Less passengers could be transported and the prices would explode.

Instead, new travel experiences will take place. Quality instead of quantity with a pre-visit in a VR experience? Virtual trips as connected group experiences will make the impossible possible.

The New Money Normal

Now that I’ve mentioned prices: In France, for example, cash is being disinfected before and after usage. Just a makeshift, no one really wants to use wet banknotes. 

Credit or bank cards are mostly in the “other” pocket, or we have too many of them. 

Banking apps and Google-/Apple-pay models are already here to take over, but fintech startups show us an alternative in crypto money. These apps have the potential to change the way we deal with “values” and combine the best of all worlds through microtransactions and anonymized payments in real time.

The New Learning Normal

After the lockdown, schools and universities experienced as first the limitations of learning methodologies from 1950ies. Switching into videoconference did not made it better. 

To prevent the already strong social inequality in education, innovative concepts such as adaptive learning in combination with visualization experiences are a quantum leap. An interactive private digital tutor that adapts on the individual learning speed and interests. This enables lifelong learning, a complete change in mindset towards a really smart society.

The New Connectivity Normal

The Internet is our critical lifeline. Before “Corona“, the use cases for 5G were blurry. Now, with significant expansion of remote work, remote learning, new mobility, we have the killer application mix for 5G.

Augmented humanity IS a connected humanity.

The New City Normal

This connectivity impacts our cities. Not just with IoT and dashboards. Real smartification with pandemic prediction, distance control, workload of elevators and rooms … in short, a smart environment, our physical world learns to articulate its state and needs as part of the digital transformation. 

Helping us to decomplexitize our complex world and enabling an universal wellbeing model that takes care and supports us. This is the only way to prevent social distancing becoming distanced loneliness.

The New Healthcare Normal

Wellbeing turns our healthcare from a purely reactive system towards a proactive, the health fostering system with medical 3D printers, individual medicine, remote virtual or even robotic help.

With this commitment to smartification and connectivity, a new quality of self awareness is growing. Wearables that record our state of health and bundle them in a human digital twin, are not only showing the status quo, but also predict.

Enable complex simulations with better understanding of our health and thus our wellbeing, with integrated support when needed.

The New Fashion Normal

An area like fashion has not been left untouched. 

As there is a requirement for masks at certain places, fashion will take them as an accessory: embedded in the hood, transparent, or provided with effects. 

Disinfection is integrated directly into the materials with self-cleaning substances and surfaces that reduce the risk of infection. 

Smartified with built-in sensors to measure health and distances, or reminding of keeping distance, able to show the status at any time.

Technology dematerializes to become part of our everyday life.

The Smartification of Society

eGovernment emerges from the lost shadow of the “document portals” into a real interaction platform between the administration and the citizen. 

With no waiting queues at the authorities, only the necessary visits are made, decisions are created automatically as recommendations; transparent, bias-free and proactively. Bureaucracy and administrative overhead becomes humanely.

Groceries and errands became relaxed by the rules of distance. We have learned that there is enough for everyone and our world has not ended. 

We learned how helpful delivery services are. As part of the new normal, more services were created to get a better quality of life to ourselves. Restaurants, shops, pharmacies, every area has recognized the added value of delivery services as an individual part of e-commerce, and customer centricity.

Immersive technologies make the shopping experience more targeted and convenient.

Leisure events such as concerts or sporting events, interactive streaming formats and hybrid events are part of the solution. Just like artists improvised concerts via social media, we are building platforms to enable these new experiences.

Similarly, events and congresses are turning into hybrid events. Curated for a small number of visitors on site and the majority of attendees participate remotely. Multimodal and interactive, whether on the 2D monitor, AR or VR, everything is possible.

The Smartification of Nations

The current situation showed us the need for change, we reached our limits, and often went beyond.

Darwin’s quote “survival of the fittest“ means the one who can adapt on a new situation in the best way. Our human history teaches us that we are better, when we combine the best ideas and cooperate in a transparent and open way.

Innovation and technology is not just a self purpose, it is a tool that helps us to find our way in this complex world.

With all these possibilities, relearning how to cooperate, no one is “first” anymore. We are humanity.