The Covid-19 pandemic has disturbed the daily life and routines of people worldwide. The government has imposed lockdowns to control its spread. Businesses are struggling to survive during these difficult times which is why to work from home adopted by many of them.
Schools and colleges are trying to complete their syllabus by conducting online classes. Social distancing is observed in grocery stores and ecommerce companies are providing COVID-safe deliveries to the consumers.
Some of the challenges put forward by the pandemic can be overcome by adopting solutions provided by communication technology. Post Covid-19 world will be redefined by the following technology trends in the field of communication.
1. Virtual Meetings
Lockdowns and travel restrictions are in place and it will redefine face-to-face meetings and ‘huddles’. There will be a surge in virtual meetings. Platforms like Zoom and Google Meet have already seen an increase in users. All the interactions have already shifted online, be it meetings with few participants or big international seminars and conferences with thousands of participants. This trend is expected to carry on in the post COVID world as people continue to observe social distancing protocol
2. Online Education
The majority of academia has moved online. Online classes are conducted by schools, colleges, and coaching centers through video conferencing. The usage of dedicated education apps has increased as students are learning through them. Tests are conducted online by few colleges. Some of these trends are expected to carry on in the post COVID period as well. Numerous universities and school education boards have suggested that schools and colleges must finish a few sections of the course online, even after the condition becomes normal.
Because of remote working, the requirement for quick and advanced bandwidth networks is increasing. The next-generation network, 5G which is made with “Service Based” architecture is likely to get accepted earlier. The network ‘Slice’ is for a specific service type, including IoT, Low latency applications, etc. and 5G offers a better quality of service based on this network. For example, for a remote surgery use case, where low latency is a critical parameter, 5G can perform better than the current networking solutions.
4. Shared Spectrum
Technology trends show that in a post COVID world, more content will be consumed on mobile devices, in the form of video conferencing, online classes, or videos for amusement. The video consisted of more than 70% of the content communicated over the mobile network, even before the pandemic. This will increase rapidly in the post COVID world and will overload mobile networks which are not made to manage such load. “Shared” spectrum will be used by the communication companies to avoid network congestion and improve user experience.
5. AI/ML-based Communication
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) will be having a greater role in the communication solutions of the future. AI/ML systems will be constantly watching the load on several networks when the shared spectrum is used for communication. The AI/ML systems can assist networks to make a choice to select the best parameters to provide content depending on the data type, network load, and several users– For instance: networks can decide to shift the communication from one spectrum to another on a real-time basis. User experience will improve using these systems.
To support this huge amount of data that is being communicated, the mobile operators will need to ramp up the network infrastructure. Lots of operators will go for virtualization to decrease the Capex and Opex as ramping up physical infrastructure is very expensive. For example, several network operators which divide the network functions from the hardware adopted RAN virtualization. Scalability, elasticity and a more adaptable, swift, and profitable network will be achieved with this.
7. Rural Broadband
The demographics of cities have been transformed by Covid-19. A reverse migration from cities to villages has started due to the loss of jobs after lockdown. It can’t be said how many of them will decide to return once the situation normalizes. However, the migrant population will keep some city facilities, such as 24-hour internet connectivity. It opens up a greater demand for high-speed internet connectivity in rural areas as well. Several creative wireless technologies can offer faster and economical substitutes to existing optical network solution to quickly install connectivity throughout the country.
8. IoT Solutions
“Smart” devices that are connected to the internet are increasing. Due to social distancing norms in the post-COVID-19 world, there will be an increase in such devices. The use of “Smart” devices in “Smart” homes needs software upgrades frequently which will be transmitted via the internet. 5G broadcast can be used by the companies to notify a software upgrade patch on all their devices, making it inexpensive while also decreasing congestion in the mobile network.
9. Remote Sensors and Monitoring Solutions
Restrictions in travel will eventually cause a proliferation of remote sensors and monitoring solutions. These sensors and monitors will be installed in remote areas like agricultural fields, oil rigs, remote factories and warehouses, mines, etc. They could be controlled and monitored from a central location. The central location and the remote locations will be connected using Fixed Wireless Access solutions.
10. Satellite-based asset tracking solutions
There will be a surge in remote asset tracking solutions in numerous places throughout the country where mobile network connectivity is not good. This is because trains, trucks, fishing boats, are some of the movable assets that constantly move in these areas. Since there is no mobile network connectivity which is why satellite connectivity will be used to send and receive data from a central control location.
All these trends show the huge role of communication technology in reshaping a post-COVID-19 world.