COVID-19 has further accelerated the adoption of automation across many industries. In a report published by Forbes analyst partner, Forrester, many companies are investing more in automation than in rehiring in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. This corroborates an earlier report that claimed many businesses were planning to accelerate their automation strategies even before the pandemic. NBC News also reported businesses are adopting new technologies as they reopen during the pandemic. These include Bluetooth sensors to enforce social distancing between employees, robots that help with anything from packing & fulfillment to cleaning, and QR codes that reduce contact on physical paper and menus. And, according to Nan Craig, a London-based researcher of work with the Centre for Global Studies, other types of work will inevitably replace those lost jobs.
In the wake of the pandemic, drone technology has proved invaluable for companies, repeatedly referred to as the “perfect socially distant worker.” It has allowed agriculture companies to reduce the number of agronomists they put into fields while providing them more significant insights into their crops. Drone data has helped construction companies easily track their assets and monitor site progress if they had to shut down operations because of the shelter-in-place. Drones have enabled energy companies to perform faster inspections and keep workers out of harm’s way on a job site. And for the utility industry specifically, a Capgemini report found automation offers the potential to save between $237 billion and $813 billion globally over the next three years. Drone technology grants companies the ability to automate their practices, which has been incredibly beneficial for the ever-evolving new work arrangements.
Companies are increasingly leaning in to new technologies and automation as a way to improve their operations. Those technologies are here, they exist, and they’re ready to be embraced – and the time is now to embrace them. Automation is an uneasy topic for many companies, workers, and industries, but it shouldn’t scare them, it should empower them.