Description: How the current COVID-19 pandemic is changing the global economic landscape? May it become a significant catalyst for innovation? What will technology look like in the near future? Read on to find out!
What seemed normal just a few weeks ago has been replaced by a whirlwind of panic buys, enforced social distance, and a whole lot of home time. Suddenly the world is upside down with no certainty of how long the social and economic repercussions will last. Some say that we might be looking at months of isolation with prospects ranging from dire to nonchalantly hopeful.
With all this confusion in the air, many businesses and technology companies are forced to rethink their working models or consider closure. All freedoms and losses are put aside. There seems to be not much wiggle room other than collectively adapt as much as possible to what we have.
Adaptation is proving to be a significant challenge, especially for those occupying the service and entertainment industry, who rely on social interaction to function. Broadly speaking, the current situation prompts companies to launch themselves fully, or at least partially, into cyberspace to stay afloat.
It might not be a dire time for all companies; however, technology innovators who will find a way to satisfy necessary demands will prosper. The role of technology is significant during these times. As companies are going to operate online more than ever, could this pandemic become a goldmine for future home technology and its various ways of implementation? The treasure hunting industry, for example, offers endless possibilities to earn money without leaving your home! Due to the technological leap and a variety of gadgets, one can explore abandoned and distant lands lying on the couch!
Signs of Successful Adaptation in Asia
In Asia, things changed quite drastically in February, when the government raised the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level from yellow to orange, with red being the worst. It was an unfortunate situation when the Ministry of Health was urging all kinds of organizers to cancel or postpone events. A significant hit, especially for both the Asian Crypto Association Access and the Singapore Fintech Association, who were almost done with the launch of a large-scale workshop, together with the Monetary Authority of Singapore. This would have helped 300 participants to be initiated into the new Payment Services Act.
The deadlines to implement the new regulations were already set, and new operating licenses needed to be issued. It was of utmost importance for the workshop to happen; therefore, ACCESS Chairman Anson Zeall had the idea of transferring the whole experience onto the cloud-based conference app named Zoom. Even though the idea was initially met with some thoughtful hesitation, the online event turned out to work astonishingly well, with many attendees churning out excellent reviews about the wonderful experience that internet technology was able to deliver.
New Technology Trends Shine Through
The trend of WFH (“Work From Home”) is now on an all-time high and is finding it’s way into the corporate culture at a pace like never before. The concept of working from home is not a novelty as such. Many crypto companies have been operating and basing their business on this model for a while. The notion of communicating to strangers via apps such as WeChat, Telegram, Discord, Slack, Signal, and WhatsApp is evolving to be the new standard due to its ease and efficiency.
For online communication companies, the enforced use of WFH tech is proving to be an ever-increasing success with no fall in sight. For those who can adapt, it is the only valid ship to jump on during this time. Numbers are showing that on March 5, Zoom stocks shot through the roof, reaching a 125$ all-time high (Rising from 68$ as of the start of January) and elevating the tech company considerably in the ranks. This significant rise makes the app one of the best all-round performers of this year. As companies will have to roll with the punches that this pandemic brings, ones geared to making use of home technology and communication are surely going to be the high risers of 2020.
The pandemic situation seems to be forcing something that was already bubbling underneath established, but outdated, standards. As smartphones fill pockets all over the world, it only makes sense to make more efficient use of the technological possibilities they allow. The super accessible, online, AI embedded smart home technology life is no longer the distant sci-fi fantasy it used to be. We find ourselves in an astounding time where so much of what is done for business and entertainment is a few clicks away. Everything can be regulated from the comfort of one’s home. It might be a valid question to ask whether a lot more could be done efficiently from one’s own house, as opposed to spending eight hours in an office.
A Catalyst for Beneficial Changes in the Use of Technology?
It is noteworthy to remember that a global crisis significantly changed the economic climate almost two decades ago. In 2002 the SARS epidemic was responsible for clearing the streets of China. Fast broadband internet was just beginning to emerge at the time, and millions of users started to favor shopping online instead of going out to malls. It sparked an exponential rise for the use of technology in the home, be it entertainment, shopping, or business.
It was also the SARS epidemic that caused the market giant Alibaba to move away from a business-to-business model and implement a more consumer-focused approach. This significant change was made in response to users who were beginning to discover shopping from the comforts of their premises. Now China is the number one leader in all things e-commerce with Taobao being the most successful e-commerce website, attracting a stunning 711 million users annually. Alibaba and AliExpress are also known to be the main go-to’s for merchants and re-sellers worldwide.
The success of Taobao and AliExpress begs the question of whether a worldwide health crisis turned out to be a necessary catalyst that propelled a business model to emerge, which is now so cherished and imperative to the way we live our day to day lives. Such a large scale change in the workings of the world may not be an easy task with all there to adapt to, but when resourcefulness is being forced to the maximum capacity, new ways of doing business become the norm with no need of looking back.
It could be that the situation we are finding ourselves in may force the latest home technology, business models, and smartest apps, all waiting in the wings, to emerge into a newly accepted norm. After all, necessity is the mother of invention. The rethinking of efficiency across all sectors may be the needed response that the climate crisis has been aching for. Flexible work from home models may become less of an exotic privilege than they used to be. After a weighting of gains and losses, perhaps fewer meetings will have to be made in person, thus promoting less air-travel, fuel consumption, and helping to keep up a healthier atmosphere. All in all, it is a powerful and humbling reminder to have the natural world remind us of our place in it. There is hope that the world will find ways to use the current situation to a better appreciation and take advantage of the resources at hand.
Do you think this pandemic will be a lesson to all of us? Do you predict any possible global changes? Share your thoughts in the comments!
About the Author: Thomas Quarry
Thomas Quarry is a finance and lifestyle enthusiast who enjoys keeping up with the trends of the culture and to put them into perspective through his writings. Thomas publishes his articles in various online magazines, including social media and weekly e-mail newsletters.