Thinking about how technology can help us all be more human
A few months ago, we used to talk about “when things get back to normal.” Some of us even talked about a “new normal.”
We certainly all thought about a time when we could meet face to face again and when we could go on holiday and not worry about shortages of food or toilet paper.
Things have changed
Coronavirus has sparked new habits and attitudes which are likely to persist for people all around the world. New societal trends will affect companies like Magenta and compel us to innovate and continue to provide help and guidance around deeply human concerns.
People are starting to feel that they can’t trust the future. Recent changes around quarantining after holidays, clearly shows how things can quickly get out of control and lead to worry and uncertainty.
People will want to plan for the worst, when making major decisions like moving home, changing career, educating their children, giving away money, selling their business and even where to go on holiday. Many people are likely to postpone big decisions unless and until they feel that they’ve eliminated as much catastrophic risk as possible.
In a world where the unthinkable has become thinkable, we will need to consider the “cost of confidence” and provide clients with as much reassurance about their future as possible.
We think that we can do this in some way, by ensuring that we embrace the best possible technologies and where appropriate, helping clients, especially those who might be fearful of leaving the house, to fully understand the benefits of using technology to their way of life.
I’m missing going to church!
After checking in on one of our older clients, she told us that she was alright in lockdown and that neighbours were fetching groceries etc, but she was desperately missing going to church.
She doesn’t have a computer and her mobile phone was very old. Long story short, we set her up with a new iPhone and helped her negotiate it so that, with the help of her local vicar, she could tune into the Sunday morning services via Zoom in her living room.
She has even started Zooming with her grandchildren and sending us emails. She is now a real tech convert, much to the surprise and delight of her family!
Of course, we will ensure that clients can safely come to our office – we will follow all the guidelines so that they feel comfortable and trust themselves to our care.
We will ensure all rooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected; that there is a free flow of clean air, the now ubiquitous hand sanitizers, proper social distancing and we will scan all staff and clients using a thermal thermometer to ensure they don’t have a fever.
We understand that for clients, trustworthiness is a big differentiator for premium services, and we want to be certain to communicate this.
Many people will prefer to do things online
Covid-19 has pushed even hardened technophobes online for a whole host of activities—work, shopping, banking, socializing, learning, psychotherapy, entertainment and routine medical consultations. Demand at Amazon, Ocado and other online services has surged while Netflix, YouTube and Spotify entertainment services, have reported record numbers of new paid subscribers. Banks too have reported a huge upsurge in online banking during the pandemic.
Although these figures may decline once lockdowns are over, many millions of new users, attracted by the convenience and safety of online activity, will continue.
Even those that struggle with technology, acknowledge that in a post Covid world, technology that keeps us safe will be worth investing in. For example, no-touch technologies like ApplePay will come to be expected by consumers fearing contamination. And AI-enabled appliances and voice-control technology like Amazon’s Alexa will become more valued for reducing the need to touch surfaces. In addition, no-contact services like grocery and appliance deliveries have become essential for customers wary of contagion, and this is likely to speed up the development of services provided by robots and/or drones to provide peace of mind.
We feel safest at home
Even as lockdown eases, many people still prefer to stay at home. As home remains the epicenter of life and experience, there will be a rise in the proportion of home spending—especially on comfort-, safety-, and health-related technologies and products. For example, there is a push to develop a Rapid Diagnostic Test for the coronavirus that could be self-administered, like a pregnancy test. We are likely to see demand for more at-home tests across a number of illnesses.
Transparency and trust in where and how services are delivered will take on new urgency as people demand greater assurances about their safety. Smaller, bespoke, more local companies may seem safer if they are closer to home, rather than risking the inefficiencies associated with bigger, national or international companies.
At Magenta we will continue to use our resources—people, processes and technology—to help clients create a secure and happy future. Talking to clients during lockdown, we know that things have changed.
Through social distancing and Clapping for Carers etc, people have experienced the effectiveness of collective, public-spirited sacrifice and cooperation. Some have become more amenable to government regulation for the greater good. Others have realised they can do without many things that are harmful to the environment. The social pressure to act and live responsibly has grown significantly, and in many areas of life, people will be reluctant to go back to the old ways.
Bill Gates recently wrote:
“It is impossible to overstate the pain that people are feeling now and will continue to feel for years to come.
People are likely to feel gratitude for those companies that tried to help alleviate that pain during these worst of times. And in better times to come, they are more likely than ever to punish in the marketplace those companies that return to business as usual.”
While many uncertainties lie ahead, at Magenta we can help clients make future plans that can factor in some “worse case” scenarios and help them to make sensible decisions about the things they can control.
Together we can take positive measures that mean that clients can make robust plans to pursue their passions in the future – Coronavirus or not!