Our post-coronavirus future: The tech and services industry could be transformed

Post Pandemic era will prove to be a pool of opportunities for entrepreneurs to take advantage. We would see a dramatical rise in the number of collaborations for the availability of various tools, leveraging more opportunities for online markets as well.

Our post-coronavirus future_ T

Shawn Vij

Shawn is an accomplished business leader who has over 25 years of Industry and Consulting experience. He has worked in various leadership positions for Ford Motor Company, Ernst & Young, VISA, Deloitte Consulting, Microsoft, and Intel Corporation.

It was 2017 when Microsoft founder Bill Gates warned the world leaders that “Bioterrorism could kill more than nuclear war, but no one is ready to deal with it”. Its 2020 and here we are battling a pandemic affecting more than 210 countries worldwide. Economies have taken a steep dip and business are struggling to stay afloat, Bill Gates was right!

With the situation changing every minute, the entire economic system has come to a halt and businesses are now facing the aftermath of the pandemic ravaging nations across the world. In the Indian scenario, I believe the banks have come to the rescue, especially for the small business and startups being ground up in this terrible fiasco, but time will tell. Stalling EMI on loans for the next three months is a minor breather giving a chance for the budding entrepreneurs to come up with solutions to fight the economic crisis.

Many countries across the world are under complete or partial lockdown, impacting many sectors, some more severely than the others. What we have is the biggest ever lockdown in the history of humankind. While we struggle today, we are looking at the learnings and opportunities that this will lead to in a post-COVID-19 world. I believe that every crisis brings with its opportunities that will benefit you as an individual and the world but requires strong understanding and foresight. While today most businesses have been mandated to practice social distancing, technology solutions have the most to gain. There is an opportunity to do things we could not do before.

For one, Zoom Video conferencing showed exceptional growth, especially since the private sector turned to the work from home practice for their employees. Zoom enables you to have virtual meetings which meant it was quite in-demand, resulting in it becoming the most trending app on Google Play Store.

Another exciting tie-up is between a world-leading pizza chain, Domino’s and one of the biggest FMCG companies of India, ITC Foods. The tie-up aims to deliver everyday grocery essentials like wheat, pulses, spices etc. While allowing a free flow of essential items, it also prevents hoarding due to quantity and delivery restrictions. Following the same pattern, Marico and Swiggy are also working towards a similar team-up, and Zomato launched its grocery delivery services in India. Such strategic initiatives by food delivery companies not only solves the last mile accessibility of essentials but is also creating alternate ways to retain employees with a drastic drop in food orders. These are the same food delivery companies who experienced almost a 60% drop in the sales, even after declaring the availability of contactless delivery services for food. However, people do not mind using their service for the delivery of groceries and other essential items.

This pandemic has unveiled new challenges and opportunities in global healthcare services and healthcare-IT infrastructure. It made us question, Is Telemedicine as evolved as it should be? Are we integrating research effectively to come up with vaccines more effectively? This pandemic has also elevated our approach in technology, and we now are seeing much research being initiated at top institutes and pharmaceutical companies using Artificial intelligence to create antibodies to make such deadly viruses ineffective soon.

Post the lockdown, the concept of smart cities has gained prominence in many countries across the globe. Many municipalities in India are using the Smart city integrated commands and control centres as ‘War Rooms’ for COVID19 response. They use these centres for surveillance of public spaces, real-time tracking of ambulances and identifying hotspots through heat mats. It is also predicted that the data being collected will be crucial for predictive analysis and planning the way. For example, in India, the Pune municipal corporation has come together with the Pune Smart development corporation limited to create an integrated dashboard to map COVID19 cases. Similar initiatives have been taken by the Surat municipal corporation and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike. The use of data and technology to create a pandemic response system and use the same data for predictive analysis will pave the way for new and improved healthcare IT infrastructure in India.

There are many significant shifts too. In a developing country like India, where hard cash is the backbone of the economy, the fear of coronavirus led a massive chunk of the population to switch to digital wallets avoiding the exchange of any money yet again avoiding passing of the virus through money exchange.

The urgent need for 5g technology is also being discussed as the need of the hour is lightning-fast internet speed, near-instantaneous communications, and increased connection density opening yet another possibility to turn profitable for telecom players around the world.

The Indian govt is taking an active interest in creating a more robust backbone of the India technology industry, minimizing foreign direct investment requirements. Case in point is the central govt offering Rs. ! Crore to tech developers who can create an alternative to the video conferencing app Zoom.

Post Pandemic era will prove to be a pool of opportunities for entrepreneurs to take advantage. We would see a dramatical rise in the number of collaborations for the availability of various tools, leveraging more opportunities for online markets as well. Undoubtedly, IT and Tech will help us leapfrog the situation, but the most exciting aspect would be the role of India in the process.

India is a source pool of technically skilled people who can help scale global technology post the crisis and reverse the domino effect generated by COVID-19. Countries like America and UK who were already dependent on the Indian workforce for their R&D and production are now going to synergize more effectively with India. Also, with China suffering the worst impact of the pandemic, India has an undoubted opportunity.

Right now, while we and all our countries are busy battling the effect of Covid-19 there are a few questions which we need to address before we decide to start our world again- Are we going to learn from all this? And what will be the new normal for the entire world


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