The Coronavirus pandemic has been around for several months now and after months of struggling with the new normal, lockdowns, health measures and distancing norms, things were finally getting back on track. However, with the reinforcement of lockdowns in several parts of the world, there has again been a surge in paranoia and uncertainty.
A close look at the regions that are just past the peak of the first wave of the health-crisis reveals that even though society has been restarting, normalcy is still far. Strict measure at schools in China, resuming of sports without spectators in South Korea and the reopening of amusement parks indicates that the industries are looking to adapt to the crisis and adopt the low-touch economy. After all, it is not possible to wait for normalcy indefinitely. Not only is it an economic hazard but also disrupts lives.
Most industries are incorporating measures beyond the regular temperature checks and sanitization to offer uninterrupted services. Here is how the industries are using innovation to get over the disruptions due to the health crisis:
The tourism industry was one of the most impacted segments of the economy. With travel restrictions and sealed borders, a lot of revenue has already been lost and travel plans disrupted for the passengers. After travel operations have slowly started resuming and border norms relaxed, a sense of fear still lingers among passengers and tourism employees alike. The industry has taken to innovations to ensure health safety and reassurance to all stakeholders. Here are some innovations that the industry has employed:
- Hong-kong has installed booths on airports that help disinfect the personnel as they enter the airport
- There has also been a strict implementation of home quarantine in Hong Kong. This is enforced by an e-bracelet that the passengers are mandated to wear
- Turkey has implemented a coronavirus-free certification program
- Turkey has also mandated hotels to operate at 60% occupancy and to keep the rooms empty for 12 hours between patients
- Emirates airlines have collaborated with the Dubai health authority to facilitate rapid Covid-19 tests for the passengers
- Emirates airlines have also redesigned the food served onboard to reduce contact
- Safe-travel zones have been established between Australia and New-Zealand and Germany and Austria though travel alliances to ensure quarantine free travel.
Again, one of the strongly hit industries in mobility. So much so that Uber and Lyft have had to respectively layoff 14% and 17% of their workforce. It is slowly striving to get back to normal with innovative measures. Some of these measures include:
- Rental cars are now being modified to incorporate new cleaning standards and safety labels
- Many cities such as Milan are being redesigned to include temporary bike lanes
- Scooters are available for rent to relax the stress on public transport
- Passengers and drivers are being urged to use masks
- Cabs are being sanitized after each trip
- A screen has been installed to divide the driver and passenger cabins
- The maximum number of passengers in a cab has been capped in several places
- Discussions and trials are in progress to rollout autonomous shuttles and vehicles to reduce human contact
Apart from the most impacted industries, here are some steps that the other industries are taking:
- Singapore is using spot robot patrols to enforce physical distancing in public parks
- Restaurants are installing screens as well as increasing physical distance between tables
- The Belgian national broadcaster, VRT has introduced distance-detection bracelets to ensure health safety for actors
- Cinemas have introduced drive-ins
- Material and spaces are being disinfected in shifts in salons, spas and other contact-based services
- Cargos and carriers have increased the number of shifts and reduced the people in each shift to ensure distancing.
While the crisis has motivated the high-levels of creativity and innovation, not every concept may stay and become mainstream. New concepts and prototypes are being proposed each day but only the selected few may see the light of the day. These will be state of the art remarkable innovations that will completely change the way the world operates. We need to wait to see what the course of time unfolds and how normalcy is restored in the coming months.