What technology is helping us go contactless during the pandemic?

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how we go about our daily lives. Previously simple tasks, like going to get food, now require a degree of planning. Do you have your mask with you? Have you sanitised your hands? Are you keeping enough of a distance away from others?

What’s more, with research suggesting that the virus may survive on surfaces for a few hours up to several days, avoiding touching objects that other members of the general public have also been in contact with, is now considered one vital way to protect your health. In this post we list some of the technologies that are available to help you go contactless during this time.

 

NFC payments

Near field communication (NFC) payment technology has significantly increased in popularity during the pandemic. With contactless transaction limits raised in many countries across the globe, paying for higher value goods and services using our contactless cards, mobiles, or smart devices,  has never been easier.

One of the main benefits of NFC technology is that it allows users to pay with their device at a short range away, rather than having to input a PIN code into a point of sales terminal. For consumers, this presents them with a much more hygienic way to pay than with cash or a PIN. Contactless payments have even been mandated as the preferred way to pay in some shops and restaurants.

 

Autonomous Deliveries

Maintaining social distancing rules, in order to stay healthy and safe, matters now more than ever – including when we are receiving a delivery. With the coronavirus having a much higher fatality rate on older and vulnerable people, there is now a greater emphasis being placed on moving towards new technologies that can help these people avoid busy shops and COVID-19 exposure.

As a result, companies such as FedEx and Amazon have begun expanding their rollout of autonomous delivery robots and drone deliveries, for their customers. Not only do these technologies provide huge opportunities for companies and emergency services to reduce costs and be more efficient, but they also instil comfort in consumers worried about their ability to receive essential items, like food and medication, in a sanitary way during this time.

 

Biometrics for contactless authentication

The desire to avoid touching shared surfaces is also presenting challenges to authentication technology. This is where biometric authentication can help. By allowing people to verify their identity without having to touch any surfaces, (unlike when typing out a passcode) individual hygiene levels are maintained.

However, as you may have already experienced, biometric authentication has been put to the test since the start of the pandemic. With millions of us having to wear masks in public at the moment, facial recognition authentication technology is having to play catch up with our new way of life i.e., still being able seamlessly identify you even with a mask on.

Nonetheless, solutions to this problem are  already being introduced. In iOS 14.5, for example, you can use your Apple Watch to quickly authenticate and unlock your iPhone without inputting a passcode, even if you are wearing a mask. This shift away from typing passwords also paves the way towards the more regular usage of other forms of biometric authentication,  such as iris characteristics, voice patterns, and gait.

Once these contactless, biometric, forms of authentication have been adapted to function as securely and conveniently as possible, in spite of obstacles like masks, the way we verify our identity will likely become entirely contactless.

 

Video Calling Software

Keeping in close contact with relatives, particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable, has been one of the major challenges of the pandemic. The inability to physically see, and hug, friends and family while social distancing has left many of us feeling disconnected from the world and studies have shown the implications of COVID-19 on the general population’s mental health has been drastic.

Fortunately, with the numerous video calling options available to use today, we can at least participate in regular contactless interactions with our loved ones. Whether you prefer to use Zoom, Skype, or WhatsApp, each platform will allow you to make group calls at the touch of a button, so you can rest assured you’re not putting anyone at risk.

Have you tried any of these contactless technologies since the start of the pandemic? Let us know in the comments section.

And, if you’re interested in how else technology can help you during this time why not read these posts too?