The COVID19 crisis has brought about enormous amounts of change in the way companies in all sectors and regions do business. The virus changed longstanding consumer and business habits.
It would not be wrong to say the virus fueled a mass digital migration. Many activities and functions of companies moved online. Employees were asked to work from home, business travel was eliminated. Buying of groceries, school classes, exercising, doctor appointments and in fact even car sales started happening online. Digital tools started being used in new ways. Email, messaging, online meets saw unprecedented growth. E-commerce witnessed a two to five times increase in their sales in countries like China, France, USA, India, UK, Spain, Japan & Germany that contribute to 60% of global GDP. Medical consultations on Practo, our home grown telehealth company grew more than tenfold between April 2020 and November 2020.
Organizations have increased spends on their digital initiatives. Automation & AI helped companies cope with surges in demand.
But what is most astonishing is the speed at which the change has happened. As per a new McKinsey Global Survey of executives, their companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply chain interaction and of their internal organizations by about 3-4 years. Organizations have increased spends on their digital initiatives. Automation & AI helped companies cope with surges in demand. Fast food restaurants created ‘ghost’ kitchens. Some of these changes delivered more convenience and greater efficiency and are likely to endure post pandemic.
Let us look at a few technology trends that are here to stay even after the pandemic is behind us.
Immersive E-commerce: The exponential growth in E-commerce is here to stay. Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR) are here to make sure they do. The comfort and convenience of online shopping is unmatched. What it could not match is the in-store experience of seeing & trying what you want to buy. AR & VR can create a real immersive experience for buyers. Buyers can try and carefully choose what they want to buy.
Artificial Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence (AI) comprises Machine Learning, Object Character recognition, Big Data, Deep Learning, Natural Language Processing. These technologies when used in day-to-day business operations analysis, provides valuable insights about customers. These help accurate decision making and objective optimizations.
Cloud Services: Cloud Services help companies manage servers, networks, operating systems and data storage. It offers easy scalability and flexibility to businesses whether large or small. It helps companies to manage their hardware needs without creating any infrastructure. The subscription based model of Software as a Service is another application of cloud services that is growing fast. Remote work and online learning models that have emerged during the pandemic has accelerated the growth of cloud services that is here to stay.
Digitization of Entertainment & gaming: The COVID19 pandemic has multiplied the rate at which online entertainment is growing. Netflix has added 26 million subscribers in the first half of 2020 alone. It is expected to go further North from here. Online gaming has also been on the rise, during the lockdowns. E-game live streaming has grown in leaps & bounds. This pattern of entertainment consumption is not going to reverse any time soon.
Internet of Things: Internet of Things popularly known as IoT enables devices other than computers & smartphones to be connected to the internet. They are connected with various sensors, inbuilt technologies & software. IoT devices like health trackers & indicators grew in demand during the pandemic. Some examples of IoT applications are smart barcode readers, connected healthcare systems, smart farming, smart supply chain management. IoT makes life more comfortable and improves quality of life. IoT is definitely a trend that will keep increasing in popularity.
The COVID19 pandemic has created a crisis that no business would have thought of. It has now become imminent upon business leaders to rethink their response to such challenges. Technology & innovation have played a crucial role in helping businesses navigate this situation. Adopting digital technologies will enable businesses to be prepared for such situations in the future.