The novel coronavirus disease outbreak has dealt the most lethal blow to the economic and social lives of many nations across the globe more than any other event this year. It is landing heavy blows on all industries: from oil to automotive and transport. In the Information and Communiactions Technology industry, companies have halted production or release of new gadgets, cancelled their participation in industry conferences, and lowering financial expectations for the year. It’s all doom and gloom for everyone. Tech professionals. Tech companies. Our increasingly techy world.
As the world battles to control one of its worst disease outbreak in a very long time, we look at how this is shaping events in the ICT industry.
5 MAJOR IMPACTS OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC ON THE ICT INDUSTRY
1. CANCELLATION OF MAJOR ICT PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
The novel coronavirus disease outbreak has led to the cancellation of major ICT events and programs across the world. Prominent on this list of events is the prestigious Mobile World Congress which would have held on February 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain. The Mobile World Congress is an important annual event for tech companies from all over the world. Here, they launch new products and services to an audience that includes journalists and industry influencers from almost every country on the planet. This huge audience guarantees the widest exposure for new tech products and services.
The Mobile World Congress is also important for tech companies because here they get the opportunity to build gainful business connection, introduce their products to new clients, and seal lucrative partnership deals.
Other major ICT events cancelled because of the outbreak of the new coronavirus disease include the April 2020 Wholesale Agreements and Solutions Group meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, and the Capacity Middle East which was scheduled to hold on March 2 in Dubia, United Arab Emirate.
2. FINANCIAL WOES FOR ICT COMPANIES
With ICT companies suspending full operation because of the novel coronavirus disease outbreak, it is not surprise that they are losing money. Looming recession ocassioned by the pandemic means the demand for tech products are falling at an alarming rate. Recently, Microsoft, for example, announced that a very low revenue estimates that fall short of early estimates for this quarter of the year, explaining that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease means the company’s sale of its Window software and devices is expected to fall.
Other tech companies are on the same boat with Microsoft. Apple had also announced that their revenue for the quarters would fall below forecast, warning also that the global supply of its iPhone will be constrained.
Cancellation of international tech shows like the Mobile World Congress means tech companies have had to put on hold their plans to launch newer products, all of which impact negatively on their revenue forecast.
3. REMIND TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES THAT THEY STILL HAVE A LOT TO DO TO ELIMINATE THE SCOURGE OF FAKE NEWS
One visible acheivement of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease is reminding us that the challenges of fake news is still very much around, and it’s very powerful.
As the viral disease spread across most of the world, mischeif makers took to social media platforms to propagate falsehoods, conspiracy theories, and what have you, leaving behind fear, panic, and misinformation in their wake. Tech giants like Google and Facebook, are always quick to tell anyone that cares to listen about the efforts they are putting towards fighting the scourge of fake news on their social media and search platforms. And while, the spread of fake news relating to a pandemic like the COVID-19 does not say they have not done as they parrot, it clearly exposes their effort as not being enough.
4. INFLUENCE INVESTMENT IN VIRAL DISEASE PREVENTION AND ELIMINATION TECHNOLOGIES
The number of startups going into the production of face masks and hand sanitizers have jumped in recent months owing to the COVID-19 outbreak. Though this is not exactly the ventures I want to discuss here, they perfectly illustrate the kind of wave of entrepreneurship that a major disease outbreak — like the COVID-19, can catalyze.
The novel coronavirus disease outbreak means that in the coming months, government and big corporate organizations will prioritize investment in technologies seeking to prevent the spread of lethal viral diseases like the COVID-19.
Tech giants are already leading the battle against the spread of viral diseases. New systems that analyzes body temperatures have found their ways to airports and metro stations around the world. One of these facial recognition systems offered by Chinese tech giant, Baidu, measures people’s temperature and has an error range of 0.05C, a situation made possible by infrared sensors.
Drones and robots have also deployed in the fight against the COVID-19 as specialized personel to disinfect streets, deliver drugs to patients on quarantine, and spread public health information.
5. INFLUENCE INVESTMENT AND GROWTH OF COLLABORATION AND REMOTE WORKING TECHNOLOGIES
In order to adhere to WHO’s guidelines on social distancing as the novel coronavirus spread across the world, leaders and corporate executives have been telling their staffs the same thing, and it is: WORK FROM HOME.
Long after the pandemic has been brought under control, remote working will continue to gain higher acceptance, with technologies startups offering products and services in this sector getting increased attention from investors.
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