It is interesting to look at the impact of global and local crisis on technology progression and adoption. Right now we see how the pandemic is accelerating technology transformation.  We see it in our daily lives—individuals and enterprises alike—as we rely on a collection of technologies and platforms to stay connected, perform our jobs, continue education and more. There has been a huge pivot to remote working, learning, healthcare, banking, etc. We were already on the digital transformation journey, but out of necessity (not to mention to stay competitive, relevant, connected and engaged) people are even more so becoming increasingly reliant on websites and applications for critical services, entertainment, work, and learning.  This will have a long-term impact on how we use technology and what new or emerging technologies—AI, edge computing and AR—will be boosted and put into the field more quickly.


Immersive technologies like AR—which enhance our physical world—could be used to enhance virtual learning and training, enhance virtual conferences and events and increase consumer confidence in online purchasing decisions that are not only needed in our current world situation, but beyond as accepted and an expected part of our daily technology stack.  As we look for alternative ways to work, learn and play, there is tremendous opportunity for AR to provide an immersive experience we choose vs what we need.


In doing some desktop research on how crisis catalyzes technology use and in the context of the current pandemic, I learned that (no surprise) video conferencing provider growth exploded. Zoom for instance became a household name and by April had 300 million users a day—up from 10 million before the pandemic. And Instacart for grocery delivery saw sales of $700 million per week—up 450% since December 2019.  In the AR space, Mojo Vision—a startup that is working to bring AR contact lenses to the world, did a study in June that noted that 95% of respondents reported their attitudes toward technology became more positive as a result of the pandemic. And 42% of consumers in the early majority group—who typically wait for a tech product to become popular—indicated that the pandemic sped up their adoption of technology and 48% said they were likely or somewhat likely to continue to buy or try new devices and technologies sooner rather than later.


AR and immersive technologies aren’t necessarily new or futuristic. They are fully developed technologies that are reliable and impactful. A challenge to their widespread adoption was exposure, familiarity and an impetus—which we now have.  Time will tell if the interest, uptake and demand will last and expedite AR’s use and deployment. Maybe we all have an early-adopter within us that is willing to take the leap to learning about and using different or new technologies—that collectively will drive a transformation of technology in our daily lives.  But I tend to think that post the pandemic and measures being taken to prevent spread, the behavior change it fueled will last.

 What do you think?


Rob LaBelle