Regardless if we like it or not, a crisis like the pandemic, does force a certain amount of evolution. Technologically the world has been forced to adapt to a more “online” lifestyle. Online medical appointments, online learning, and especially online shopping!

Listening to a news broadcast last night got me thinking that it is most likely be an “online ordering” Christmas season. I know that Amazon and Canada Post are expected to hire thousands of temporary employees to keep packages moving efficiently. I have already seen ads targeted at having people start to order their gifts early to avoid late deliveries.

For those who are used to seeing Santa in the malls soon will probably not see him around this year to avoid the spread and flatten the curve. I have seen messages on my Facebook feed that are promoting a “Get texts from Santa right to your phone” message. It is most definitely going to be a digital “Festivus” season this year.

My company has recently started working with many project management and construction firms and I am totally amazed with the shear number of products that take the automation of building and homes to the next level.

I remember being impressed at BuildConn in California many years ago by the displays of products from the Zigbee Alliance, but today’s products are taking everything to an entirely different level. I can control almost every device from anywhere using my smartphone.

I can take my Zoom meetings from my dinning room table while hitting an app on my smartphone to start my Roomba vacuum cleaning my floors. I can get notifications from my dishwasher telling me when my dishes are clean.

I can get a notification when my package from Amazon shows up at my front door, and I can also get a notification when my cat or dog has entered or exit the house via the pet door. Completely amazing!

If I don’t want to leave my house I don’t have to. I can learn online, and I can order groceries online for delivery right to my door. Isolationism is becoming a real thing, and a potential problem in many countries.

The newscast that I watched yesterday had a segment interviewing the leader of Ireland as he stated that he will not stand for their youth becoming socially awkward and socially distant because of the pandemic. Innovations are happening all over the world to ensure that as humans we can remain social creatures with each other.

I totally applaud those efforts as I see devices like Alexa being added to our homes and vehicles. We are eventually going to be spending more time talking to machines than we do talking with each other and that is a completely scary thought as we continue to see the development of Ai style devices and robots.

I am sure that readers of this article have seen the TV ads for the show about a rouge Ai called NEXT. I watched the commercials and wondered if that was the next thing that we as a society will have to worry about.

Will we be automating buildings and devices to the point where we no longer have the same level of freedom that we once did? I heard a podcast that talked about having automated heat sensors in rooms that take temperature scans of people who enter a space and then regulate the room temperature to compensate for the additional heat and adjust the temperature to a comfortable level.

I have also heard of cameras that can be installed in common areas to detect if someone is wearing a mask or not, and then alert management if someone is in non compliance of pandemic policies.

I grew up watching sci-fi shows and have always been fascinated with technological advances, but the pandemic may take technology in a direction that our society is not willing to go just yet. I suppose only time will tell what “smart buildings” and homes will look like due to COVID given the self-isolation we are all enduring.

All I know is that if I can enter a holodeck from Star Trek the Next Generation and have a conversation with an android leaning against a tree it may be time for me to catch up on the technological learning curve.

Stay safe everyone.