COVID-19 has taken the world by storm and changed our everyday lives from how we communicate and interact with one another, to how we work professionally, conduct business, exercise, and complete basic life tasks such as food shopping and buying essential goods. It has completely disrupted life as we know it. Although we cannot attempt to ignore the devastating toll it has taken in its destruction of precious human life, our economy, mental health, and job security, there may be a silver lining in that it gives us an opportunity for a hard reset. Disruption leads to innovation and transformation. Businesses are being forced to innovate and create new digital strategies, relying heavily on information technology to shift their operating models.
COVID-19 spreads between people who are in close contact with each other through, “respiratory droplets or small particles, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. Droplets can also land on surface and objects and be transferred by touching a surface that has the virus on it” (CDC). In addition to social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, cleaning and disinfecting, and monitoring symptoms, there is an area of digital transformation that will thrive in a COVID-19 and post COVID-19 world: touchless technology.
If the virus can spread through touch, the need for touchless technology such as Quick Response (QR) codes, Near Field Communication (NFC), and mobile payments will be key, especially in mobile marketing. Although not a brand new technology, we have seen an increase in the use of QR codes during COVID-19. One of the main problems with QR codes, besides their lack of aesthetic appeal, is that they require the user to make an effort, so there needs to be a strong value proposition to make the user participate. However, scanning QR codes to launch a mobile site, view a dinner menu, or paying for an order by scanning a Venmo QR code has become the new normal in day-to-day retail. QR codes have been around since 1994, but have been living in the shadows until they have had time to shine during COVID-19.
Abbott Laboratories is an American medical device and healthcare company that has supplied the US with millions of rapid coronavirus tests and doesn’t plan to stop there in its fight against COVID-19. Abbott rolled out a mobile application called NAVICA. The app records users’ test results and generates a QR code digital health pass that businesses can scan at the door before allowing customers or employees to enter, like an airplane mobile boarding pass.
I believe QR codes are here to stay due to their versatility outside of just triggering a reaction to a mobile site, social media, or making a mobile payment, but in representing two-dimensional data in a small space, acting as a digital pass, and enabling multi-screen interactions.
Abbott.com. 2020. Your NAVICA APP Questions Answered | Abbott U.S.. [online] Available at: <https://www.abbott.com/BinaxNOW-Test-NAVICA-App/NAVICA-FAQ.html> [Accessed 11 November 2020].
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#Spread> [Accessed 11 November 2020].
Meme Generator, 2020. <https://memegenerator.net/instance/50143312/ll-cool-j-dont-call-it-a-comeback-iv-been-here-for-years>