In efforts to continue the fight against COVID-19, the continuous emphasis on social distancing, cashless transactions, and other safety measures have led to the formation of a “new normal”, influencing every aspect of our lives, especially the way businesses are run.
Let us see what these new habits are and how they inevitably become the new normal.
1. Implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies
Companies, especially those within the manufacturing sector have been actively deploying Industry 4.0 technologies across their manufacturing line.
This is to allow flexibility in their production to both compete globally and to diversify their products through rapid retooling advantages offered by Industry 4.0 technology.
Companies, especially start-ups, can leverage on this ability to manufacture in-demand products such as personal protective equipment (PPE) which has seen a rise in demand during the pandemic.
Industry 4.0 technology also enables “virtual control” over company operations, enabling workers to work from home, therefore reducing health risks, resulting in a pandemic-ready company.
2. Active participation in online transactions
Online payment systems have become a crucial part of the "new normal" and may even help flatten the curve due to its ability to process payments virtually (negating the need of handling cash physically – therefore eliminating human contact), besides aiding small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in resuming operations during the CMCO.
According to an article published by The Star, the public’s participation in online transactions have been on the rise ever since the movement control order (MCO) was announced, with some online payment service providers such as Maybank (MAE e-wallet), Touch ‘N Go (TNG e-wallet), and Grab (GrabPay) witnessing an increase in users.
Online payment systems also enhance the convenience of its users, allowing them to skip lining up at ATM machines to withdraw money, further enhancing the social distancing rule outlined by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
3. Work from home lifestyle
Working from home is arguable the best way to practice social distancing as there are no physical interactions with other colleagues and traveling around places outside of the home.
With the availability of various digital technologies such as virtual meeting rooms, manufacturing execution systems, cloud-based solutions, company operations can be digitalised, allowing companies to continue operations throughout the pandemic in a risk-free manner.
Although some work operations may still require human presence nonetheless, with most operations expedited online, the number of workers present in a workplace will be limited therefore enhancing the social distancing rule.
4. Online courses and e-learning initiatives
*A screenshot of the CATIA V5 Augmented Reality webinar organised by MARii and its partners
No matter the circumstances, education must go on, and to adapt to the current situation, various educational institutions began expediting e-learning activities to ensure students and educators continue pursuing their roles.
With the availability of various tools such as Google Classroom, Blackboard Learn, and Elucidat, institutions and even private tutors can conduct their classes 100% online.
Global online education providers such as Coursera and Udemy are also promoting continuous learning during lockdowns through its various promotions, discounts, and free courses for everyone to benefit from.
5. Extra emphasis on SOPs and hygiene through implementation of technology
Companies can resume operations since the 4th of May, provided they comply with strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) outlined by relevant authorities including the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and MOH.
To ease the process, various technologies have been implemented to automate certain elements of the SOPs such as MARii’s MITI – COVID-19 Intelligent Monitoring System (CIMS) – an industry and business operation monitoring solution which also includes facial recognition technology and thermal screening embedded with an IoT system to enable contactless monitoring of a company’s workforce, developed with G3 Global Berhad.
Solutions like this are also future-friendly as they can be continuously upgraded and integrated with other functions to streamline the processes outline by the SOPs.
While the lockdown has halted economic, social, and corporate events, it inevitably drove global change towards digitalisation. Without us realising, we have been actively participating in digital economy through various means – online purchases, e-hailing, e-learning, virtual meetings, and many more.
Digitalisation has allowed us to continue our daily lives as usual without being exposed to the virus and as we continue to practice these habits, eventually they will become a part of our lifestyle, becoming the “new normal”.
*Content sourced from: www.thestar.com.my, janio.asia, www.forbes.com