Discussing the post Coronavirus economy is challenging, in part because nobody knows for how long the world will have to live with the crisis. Chances are, however, the longer we have to live a life adapted to the pandemic, the larger the implications for the economy post pandemic. However, a few technology trends are already emerging, and these will likely stick to some extent. Over time we’ll see even more changes, but for now we think these are the six technology trends that will become permanent features post-Coronavirus.
1. Virtual meetings are here to stay
Out of necessity virtual meetings are now the norm. After all, employees that are socially distancing need to collaborate in some way. Virtual meetings are, of course, a staple of many company’s collaborative efforts. Indeed, Convene’s remote meeting solutions reflect the need to collaborate more efficiently and at a lower cost particularly where board members and shareholders are geographically spread out.
Still, many companies have held back on virtual meetings, insisting on in-person collaboration even where it involves expensive and exhausting flights. Now that these companies are forced to go virtual we think that many will realise that virtual meetings can be very effective – and also cheaper to run.
2. A boost for virtual experiences
In line with the drive to virtual meetings, virtual experiences are also coming into the spotlight given the lack of practical alternatives. On the one hand you have cutting edge tech such as augmented and virtual reality that offer new experiences. Consider a virtual safari, for example. We think these technologies will get a solid boost to move beyond the novel and proof of concept and into the mainstream.
However we also think that everyday, run-of-the-mill technology will see increased and more novel use cases on account of social distancing. Consider virtual conferences in lieu of physical trade shows, for example. Done right these can offer a powerful marketing and collaborative experience, again without the cost and inconvenience of real-life equivalents.
3. Swifter deployment of 5G
While many home workers will rely on fixed-line broadband some do not have access to good, fixed-line services. Where that’s the case, workers are often reliant on mobile broadband services, but in some regions 4G services are too congested to deliver a good online experience. It puts employees in a tricky situation when conference calls drop or large file transfers get stuck.
As workers increasingly rely on high-bandwidth apps such as videoconferencing, and in the future, augmented reality, we expect 5G to become critical to effective home working. 5G’s high bandwidth and low latency powers home working applications for even the most critical services. Think telehealth, for example. So, we expect that mobile operators will roll out 5G faster and may roll 5G out more broadly, beyond city centres.
4. Renaissance for e-commerce
E-commerce is a case somewhat similar to virtual meetings. Some consumers have wholeheartedly adopted buying online, but there are plenty of holdouts. Again, social distancing leaves many people with little option than to buy online for home delivery. This has given e-commerce operators a big boost with record sales revenue.
Some of the shift to online buying will inevitably stick. Retailers will close due to the Coronavirus fallout while some consumers will have a newfound love for the convenience of buying online. That’s why we expect a permanent shift to greater use of e-commerce technology in the post Coronavirus economy.
5. Technology will increasingly be a core advantage
We’ve seen how companies that are technologically geared for agile remote working and collaboration efficiently adapted to the crisis. Similarly, retailers with big and successful online operations are surviving the storm better than their peers. We can point to other examples – consider industrial operations using automated maintenance or drone inspection, for example.
All the groups we mentioned are simply better positioned for the pandemic, in comparison to their peers. We think the current advantage of a tech-first approach will be noticed by companies around the globe. After all, technology will also provide advantages after the Coronavirus crisis. Tech-first organisations will simply be more flexible, more responsive to markets, and more profitable.
6. A focus on resilience
The world has seen economic crisis before, but the Coronavirus is an outlier – economists call it a black swan event. Companies around the world faced rapid, significant challenges to operations. From the involuntary implementation of remote working for vast offices, to sticky supply chain disruption. Technology solutions faced challenges too, as pinch points shifted.
Post-crisis we think that companies of all shapes and sizes will take a new look at resilience. Resilience for the technology solutions companies depends on operational resilience, and broader business resilience. Only through a resilient approach to business can an organisation position itself to weather tough storms – and emerge from a challenging period, ready to thrive.