“Necessity is the mother of invention” goes the well-known proverb, and this manifested in the development of several contactless solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. While contactless technologies have been around for several years, the pandemic forced an acceleration in the development of touch-free solutions, many of which will continue to attract significant investments even after the pandemic subsides.
Technologies that enable contactless solutions such as Virtual/Augmented/eXtended Reality, Natural Language Understanding (NLU), Natural Language Generation (NLG) have continued to mature and become much more accessible through all the public cloud platforms. Gesture and voice recognition solutions, IoT devices of all kinds, and a myriad of other technologies can be leveraged to build contactless solutions.
Contactless solutions that received much of the public attention were developed in the areas of Retail, Payments, Hospitality, Travel, Healthcare and Customer Support, but the possibilities are limitless. Many airlines introduced contactless check-in, security screening, in-flight entertainment, baggage processing, and other solutions out of necessity, but some of these have been so well received by consumers that they will stay even in a post-pandemic world. Solutions such as contactless payment systems have seen a significant increase in adoption during the pandemic and is a trend that is highly likely to stay and invite more investment.
As with many trends that gained wider adoption during the COVID-19 crisis, there remains the possibility that some of them may turn out to be short-lived. As in the case with contactless solutions developed during the pandemic, features like dedicated parking spots for curb-side pickups are seeing reduced use in the North American markets, signaling the trend towards recovery.