While COVID-19 has certainly given us cause to revisit our humane-ness, with people caring, sharing and connecting more meaningfully, it’s also had a radical impact on global digital transformation – accelerating it exponentially in some areas.

This has certainly put Altron BMS in an interesting position, as we strive to stay ahead of the curve by tracking global technology trends and identifying innovative solutions that can help to optimize business success.

Some of the worldwide tech trends at the forefront right now, include e-commerce, which has gone from a nice-to-have to an absolute necessity, with online sales soaring. There’s been a massive shift to online learning as virtual classrooms allow millions of students to continue with their studies from the safety of their homes, while near-empty offices have led to the explosion of virtual meeting rooms as people adapt to working remotely.

When last did you pick up a newspaper or magazine? With print in rapid freefall, online subscriptions have become the new bestsellers; even handling paper money has become undesirable.

It’s with these global trends, and more in mind, that Altron BMS has devised a blanket offering of COVID-19 solutions that cover social distancing, contactless authentication, screening, remote work and self-service, amongst others.

We’ve asked some pressing questions and come up with the answers…

How can a person still use a banking self-service channel without physically touching it? An option is to introduce contactless payment solutions that are more e-based, or shift to zero-touch transactions using palm identification and facial recognition for authentication, and Tap and Go’ (NFC) options.

If companies are only allowed a third of their workforce at the office, how do they stay connected to the ones that are working remotely? We’ve expanded our field services and Simplis.IT solution to support the home-office scenario by enabling a more secure and managed environment to ensure business continuity.

How can critical business processes still happen without any people at the office? A possible option is Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which offers always-on capabilities. For example, Walmart is set to add mobile robots to 1860 (40%) of its stores this year, to scan shelf inventory and proactively prevent out-of-stocks.

How can employers help ensure the safety and wellbeing of employees and clients – in fact, anyone that interacts physically with their enterprise? We believe a solution that combines thermal screening with face recognition, as well as identification, for secure and measured access control will assist employers to ensure the safety and wellbeing of employees and clients.

How can retailers implement safe social distancing between customers? By introducing a queue-management application that allows people to book their time in-store, by assigning QR codes to gain entry, that also gives them a view of how busy stores are and even shows them current stock availability.

If there’s one solution, above all others, that offers the perfect vision of a future that’s been brought forward by COVID-19, it’s the Smart Trolley. With this solution, you’re essentially (a) self-isolating, as it’s just you who has contact with the trolley, (b) social distancing from any other shoppers, (c) self-scanning items and (d) avoiding any queues as you pay using the point-of-sale card terminal on the trolley itself. Then simply bag your items and go!

Many organisations are likely to come out of COVID-19 stronger if they already had a digital transformation strategy in play, as it’s probably now been accelerated. If it wasn’t on the cards for you yet, you’re going to struggle to catch up – but today is as good a day to start, as any.


Vaughn Naidoo is the Chief Technology Officer at Altron BMS

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