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"THE SKY WILL SOON BE INFESTED WITH UAVS": CONSUMER HABITS OF A POST-COVID HUMAN BEING

Former pandemics scarcely changed the face of cities: that is how water supply and water disposal systems appeared. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected consumer behavior patterns. Neither business, nor governments had any ready-made technological solutions at hand. Companies had to rebuild the architecture of the domestic processes quickly and on the run. Speakers of the "Old New Habits" session discussed the way the world faced the coronavirus crisis reality and the trends that are going to continue after the pandemic. Which of the new realities is going to become permanent in future?" Professor Charlie Fink, XR Consultant, Reviewer of the Cinema School at Chapman University acted as moderator.

According to a RVC research called "The Russians' attitude to new technologies" carried out jointly with the faculty of economics of Moscow State University, 50% of the Russian residents today are loyal to the goods delivery by UAVs, 40% are ready to receive medical services online and only one third of residents are ready to use a self-driving bus.

"If we look at it at a socio-demographic angle, the greatest change in the attitude to new technologies can be seen among the residents of small towns and villages and people over 60. It means that the pandemic and the lockdown even up the availability of new technologies for those categories of population that were less involved in the digital world before", says Director for RVC Innovative Ecosystem Development Alexey Gusev.

It seems to be quite possible to change views at the time of crisis, Vice President and Head of CRM Department of Gazprombank Alexey Martyanov believes. According to him, thousands of the bank employees throughout the country were transferred to remote working regime within two weeks. The development of remote services became the main consequence of the lockdown.

"Today, provision of online banking services is actually a mandatory condition for a bank. Current conditions triggered by the pandemic and the lockdown have strongly accelerated the development and launch of those services that allow not only to receive banking products and services remotely but also to implement a number of service areas requiring no personal visit to the office", Alexey Martyanov commented.

Many companies are developing areas of UAV delivery. "They are going to grow in number in the near future, so the sky will soon be infested with UAVs like in some futuristic movie, says Founder and CEO for Manna Aero Bobby Hilly: "Today, this kind of delivery is already demanded by three or four people per square mile. UAVs are safe, they do not create any road traffic accidents and do not need petrol. This kind of delivery is much healthier than the traditional methods. Why not use these new technologies if they are that simple?"

"As to the new habits, it is important to stress the changing role of home in our life. It is no longer just home; it's also a working place, a place for entertainment, sports, etc. The second thing we are getting used to is reduced movement. As to the accelerated development of the old trends that already existed before the pandemic, - look at e-commerce. We are watching the settlement of new methods and forms of communication and purchase", says Expert of the BCG Russia Global Center of Future Cities Ekaterina Shapochka.

Participants of the discussion concluded that two approaches can be singled out in the evaluation of the consequences of the pandemic. According to "technocratic optimists", remote working and reduced movement around the city may significantly boost the technological development and help enter the digital era. "Market pessimists" believe that an important consequence of the crisis lies in lesser confidence in future and a decline in consumption standards: people are concerned about their future and spend less money on shopping.

In the speakers' opinion, these opposing trends will be balanced in due course and will finally form the pool of habits of a post-COVID person. Head of the Research, Innovation & Ecosystems Marketing & Communications Department of Amadeus Tatyana Peron noted that it is hard to predict what the "next normality" is going to be, though it will definitely be different from what we are used to.