- E-commerce adapted for businesses and entrepreneurs,
- E-learning will be the new learning system for children,
- E-banking services become normal for daily transactions/online payments.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has come with another revelation that proves Digital technology as the world’s future since every industry turned to be operating virtually, due to lockdown restrictions in trying to curb the spread of the virus. Educational institutions, financial institutions, business and marketing sections were operating through the internet.
At International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Digital World 2020 held virtually on 23 October 2020, Dr Machengete, the Director-General at Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), his speech supported that digital technology has been used to ensure endurance in different sectors like Government, businesses, trade and also in education especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, where technology was used to broadcast information and for predicting which was required for scheduling purposes and contact tracing which is essential for ending the spread of the virus.
During the lockdown period, it was also noted that there was a high demand for broadband due to the increased use of digital platforms, people working from home, learning from home as well as socializing, Meanwhile, digital technologies will certainly continue in the future as they bring convenience to people’s lives and business efficiency. Therefore it is obvious that people will continue using digital platforms in the future to estimate and fight similar eruptions.
Governments have also depended on online platforms to circulate information, create awareness and debunk fake news. By the use of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Governments have also taken advantage of these platforms to discuss political issues hence endorsing democracy. During the lockdown, in early June 2020, America launched the Voting Information Center on Facebook, where Americans will be registered for the coming elections. This implies that digital technology is being applied in everything and Governments will continue to use it in the future to disseminate information to the mass.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance that telecommunications infrastructure plays in keeping businesses. Due to lockdown restrictions, physical interactions were limited to reduce the spread of the virus. By so doing, many companies were forced to shut their business premises and a lot of people started working from home, attending business meetings virtually via ZOOM conference, Google Teams and WhatsApp group calls. This trend of working from home is likely to be the new way of working even after the pandemic as companies discovered that it saves capital on rentals and utilities.
Educational institutions were affected much by the global pandemic and all Primary, Secondary and Tertiary institutions were closed early. However the pandemic did not stop learning, e-learning was introduced and students started online learning via Google classroom and other platforms. Zimbabwe is rolling out Community Information Centers for children in marginalized rural areas to improve in their education hence supporting the e-learning program and also supporting businesses to have access to e-commerce. It is also predictable that online schools will continue as a new learning system after the pandemic.
Physical trading was stopped during the lockdowns, businesses continued trading online, making use of various e-commerce platforms available such as e-bay, aliexpress and Amazon. Companies and business individuals have adapted to e-commerce. They consulted IT experts to help them creating websites to boost their online presence as they practice social media marketing.E-commerce will certainly continue after the global pandemic.
Financial institutions have also indulged in digital technology during the lockdown period where people were encouraged to minimize their movements to the banks. E-banking was the solution for people to continue doing their banking services remotely at the comfort of their homes. Banking applications were launched and people were being notified and informed about every change that might be done by the bank. Customer Care Services were also operating online using different social media platforms for customers convenience. E-banking probably continues as many businesses are done online will also require online payments.
Many countries are using digital technologies to do contact tracing and keep track of infections. By using mobile phones, people can be alerted of the various high-risk places to avoid. Other stores were collecting customers personal details like name, address and contact details so that they will be notified in other cases if someone who visited that same place might be infected. These applications developed especially for COVID–19 can be used for other diseases in the future and even for criminals tracking.
Digital technology has been recognized as the future of the world, proven during the COVID-19 global pandemic period where everything has to be done online due to lockdown restrictions. Some activities are likely to continue through the internet after the pandemic, as people are normalizing the new systems of online business, learning, banking as well as socializing.