Ever since 2020, the world has been forced into isolation and into living digital lives under the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a consequence, everything that depends on human-to-human contact–i.e., most aspects of our lives–needed to be altered to account for the virus’s dangers.

Mandatory shutdowns and social distancing steps have left several socioeconomic gaps that have been filled by digitization. We would not have been able to live, shop, receive an education, or communicate with one another if it weren’t for online resources and technologies available at our fingertips.

COVID-19 truly paved the way for the digitization of multiple tools and services that form the basis of our daily lives. On this note, we list below 4 things that have gone online in the wake of the pandemic.

Cashless payments and online banking

There has been an emergence of multiple online banking services in 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the replacement of in-person branch interactions with impersonal digital transactions through online and mobile platforms has intensified the ongoing erosion of consumer confidence in banks.

Almost every store and convenience store worldwide is now equipped with cashless systems that enable all clients to pay through their devices – thus avoiding cash contact with cashiers.

In fact, since the lockdown, there has been a 72% rise in the use of Fintech apps in Europe, which means that more and more establishments as well as consumers are diverting their attention towards the usage of online banking and cashless payment systems for all of their transactions.

Digital Restaurant Menus

Photo by daShef

As restaurants and bars adjust to the reality of the pandemic, many switched to online menus – obtained via QR code – instead of paper menus to meet the governmental and public demand for increased customer and employee protection.

Menus, by far the most bacteria-infested item on a restaurant table, contain 185,000 bacteria per square centimetre – 16 times more than the second most germ-infested item (pepper shakers). As a result, replacing them with a single-customer solution has felt like a no-brainer over the last few months.

However, there are clear signs that such menus will persist even after the end of this COVID-19-infested era – namely, great popularity among consumers for their overall cleanliness and ease of use, as these articles from Digital Trends indicate!

Contact tracing and QR codes

During the first few months of the outbreak, several establishments were using manual contact tracing forms – which is clearly not a very COVID-friendly method to use.

The inconvenient and time-consuming design of such a system has inevitably given way to the introduction of the QR code, a digital counterpart that allows the user to automatically and digitally input their their information.

Restaurants, cafés, bars, and shops can connect their QR codes to a Google form or a website that keeps track of who came in, at what time, and their contact information, in the event that any one person tests positive.

Moreover, QR codes have allowed anyone with a smartphone to easily access information about everything – from restaurants and hospitality services to government and safety information. QR codes have quickly become a way for companies of all kinds to tell their brand stories.

Embedded SIM cards

The year 2020 highlighted the importance of communication in our lives, and this year (2021) will be no different. The COVID-19 pandemic has truly transformed how we function, shop, and socialize – as well as how companies operate – causing hundreds of millions of people and businesses all over the world to go completely online in order to resume any resemblance of normalcy in their lives. It’s incredible to consider how staying in touch with others is made possible thanks to device components that are a fraction of the size of your fingernail!

eSIM (embedded SIM cards), the worthy successor to the SIM, continues to play an increasingly large role in our ever-digital worlds, adding connectivity to your smartphone or smartwatch. As we are gearing towards less physical interactions, there has been a remarkable increase in demand for such a SIM card.

eSIM won’t require you to leave your house to acquire it or to pay for it through local carriers. You can easily purchase and install one online – thus its appeal, especially for travellers.

Note: not all devices support eSIM – make sure to check if yours does here before purchasing.

Essentially, COVID-19’s ramifications have greatly boosted digital adoption worldwide. New habits have emerged as a result of an increased use of technology for work, play, and communication of all kind. As many countries begin to recover from its effects, it has become time to refresh and reflect on how to change your business operations to meet the new technological demands that have arisen.