Thanks to high-speed internet access and innovative goods and services, consumers can do everything – work, shop, exercise and other activities – from the comfort of home. Before COVID-19, remote work was continuing to gain popularity as more global households had access to 5G and we predicted the evolution of the home would only accelerate. Today, the pandemic forced people to retreat into their homes, which overnight became consumers workplace, gym, shopping centre and more.
Reaching the outside world from the comfort of home
Now consumers are living in isolation. Already expected to be dramatic and far-reaching, the transition to the home as a hub will now be felt even sooner as consumers have been forced to develop new habits. With offices closed, working from home is the new normal. Companies can maintain “business as usual” as their employees use VPNs, video conferencing and other web-based communication tools. School classrooms of all ages also moved online, as have gyms using all of the same tools. As bars, restaurants and other entertainment spots are temporarily closed, food, grocery, alcohol and where available, cannabis delivery services have seen a sharp rise in usage.
Zoom Video Communications, a remote conferencing services company, has seen a surge in popularity as companies adopt its platform to host meetings, webinars and virtual conference rooms with large numbers of participants. Zoom also offered its services free of charge to schools in many countries, enabling classrooms to move online, with teachers monitoring their students through video. While the company has seen fast growth, it has led to some security issues.
This trend has an immediate and lasting strong impact. Longer-term, many elements of consumers’ lifestyles will revert to pre-crisis ways; however, working remotely and virtual living will become more permanent features of home life in the future. Businesses will change habits too. Remote work will be encouraged, given the benefits in cost reduction seen alongside confidence that employees can be trusted.