IBM: Covid-19 pushes robots, contactless payment options

 IBM: Covid-19 pushes robots, contactless payment options

Delivery robots, contactless payment, remote work, advanced supply chain operations and telehealth are among the top technology trends to watch in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, says IBM Thailand.

“The pandemic is accelerating digital transformation and it is a powerful force for disruption,” said Patama Chantaruck, vice-president for Indochina expansion and managing director of IBM Thailand.

“Businesses and startups need to watch these trends to capitalise on the opportunities.”

She mentioned a recent event to introduce the Thailand ICT Awards 2020 in which software competitors could send three-minute video clips of their work by Sept 30 for the competition.

The event is held by the Association of Thai ICT Industry, supported by the Office of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission, Software Park Thailand and National Innovation Agency.

The pandemic caused many challenges, including supply chain disruption, lack of orders and customers, delay in government projects as well as postponement of startup investment, said Ms Patama.

She said several technologies are being adopted to address existing problems during and after the pandemic, including delivery robots and online shopping with less human touch.

Drone delivery could be adopted, with future drones possibly charged at electric poles without a need to be grounded for charging, said Ms Patama. Future drones should be able to send packages to moving vehicles.

Digital or contactless payment is another trend gathering steam as it could help reduce costs, she said.

Remote work is crucial to support social distancing, but the technology involved requires stress tests of security and internet bandwidth for the tasks, said Ms Patama.

She said telehealth is a trend to avoid crowds of patients at hospitals, while distance learning is crucial as the pandemic makes it impossible for 2 billion students worldwide to attend classes at school.

So-called supply chain 4.0, which involves data analytics and insights for effective material sourcing, is expected to be adopted more, which should help ward off supply chain disruptions in the future, said Ms Patama.

Startups should develop innovations that respond to people’s needs, scaling faster than what is available in the market, she said.

Artificial intelligence (AI) for conversation, such as AI bots and voice, also play a key role in supporting customer engagement, said Ms Patama.

In the post-Covid-19 era, people may need to learn several essential skills for work, including digital coding, creativity, data literacy, critical thinking and adaptability, she said.

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