Corona virus spikes a Contact-less Economy! A new global reality or a temporary solution.

Traditional business formats in the face of the Corona pademic  Isolation and social distancing measures have been put in place, across a number of countries where the newest strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has made an impact. This has been followed by workers in some of these infected countries being asked to work from home since cities have been placed under lockdown and schools have been shut down. People in those countries have equally begun avoiding public, crowded places. Therefore under such circumstances eMarketer analyst Mark Dolliver is of the view that this could mean more adoption of ecommerce, an area where they’ve been laggards. People whose attitude has been ‘I’d rather die than buy online’ may rethink this if they feel going to crowded, germy stores truly could kill them.

Housebound consumers in China for example are turning to online groceries for their daily food supply. According to French retailer Carrefour, vegetable deliveries increased by 600% year over year during the Lunar New Year period. Chinese online retailer JD.com has equally reported that its online grocery sales grew 215% year over year to 15,000 tons during a 10-day period between late January and early February. However the aforementioned development has been followed by concerns about food delivery and the  possible threat of food contamination which have in turn spurred recent innovation in contactless pickup and delivery services.Companies like McDonald’s and Starbucks are increasing delivery services that limit human-to-human contact, and orders are packaged to keep them free of contamination. Companies such as JD.com and Meituan are experimenting with end-to-end “contactless” solutions using unmanned vehicles and drones in order to minimize human-to-human contact in ecommerce delivery.

On the other hand, increased dependence on Telehealth and teleconferencing as critical areas for enterprise operations amid the pandemic may help strengthen the appeal of 5G. The need for 5G technology has been highlighted by the growing need for remote interactions amid the coronavirus pandemic, potentially accelerating adoption in the long term.  In this context, 5G’s lightning-fast speeds, near-instantaneous communications and increased connection density make it priority for remote interactions, which has become an alternative solution for many organizations and enterprises as caution mounts over the spread of the virus.  Telehealth seeks to empower physicians to diagnose, treat and operate on patients without the need to be physically near them. In January, telecoms ZTE and China Telecom designed a 5G-powered system that could enable remote consultations and diagnoses of the virus by connecting physicians at West China Hospital to 27 hospitals treating infected patients. 5G therefore provided an ability to expand the reach of traditionally hospital health expertise and services, which calls for the need of more hospitals in this time of increased need, to tap into 5G and take advantage of the benefits it has to offer in this field. 

There has been an increased reliance on enterprise teleconferencing tools as employees switch to remote work due to public health concerns. 5G connection provides real-time and uninterrupted communication that’s not possible with most wired connections today, this coupled with the dependence of employers on such tools during the coronavirus pandemic is intended to strengthen the case for 5G connectivity as enterprises recognize the value that teleconferencing tools offer.  The cancellation of events requiring human contact/ presence presents a unique opportunity to explore the potential of virtual events. Over the next few months, Adobe, Facebook, Google and YouTube will all host virtual versions of their popular conferences, which should in turn equip us with a better sense of the format’s potential as a replacement. This same wave of event cancellations is leading some marketers to reevaluate how they currently distribute digital content and consider emulating the personalized experiences provided by live events i.e. marketers are distributing content in a format that is more event-like.  Randy Frisch, CMO of content marketing platform Uberflip, told Business Insider Intelligence that a key aspect of such strategies is “maintaining personalization over the entire course of the buyer journey as a potential client moves through a company’s content.” The trend could also place more emphasis on account-based marketing strategies, where marketers tailor content campaigns to smaller sets of target accounts, as opposed to the more organic approach typically relied upon for in-person settings. 

Brick and mortar bank visits will be reduced by the pandemic forcing banks to temporarily close branches or reduce their hours or by discouraging customers from visiting to reduce the chance of spreading the virus. Customers will still need access to their money, however, and in turn will therefore shine a spotlight on banks’ digital capabilities and customer experiences i.e. by leading  to a spike in activity in digital channels and call centers, making digital the primary channel for a greater portion of customers across the world. This migration to non-branch channels will benefit banks that enable customers to handle a wide range of banking functions through online or phone channels while hurting those with more limited offerings, and it will test their ability to handle the increased strain of higher volume. 

Lastly, the pandemic provides an opportunity to Cloud developers to tie up with researchers and drug makers scrambling to develop a coronavirus vaccine.  Some Innovative digital health firms have leveraged their tech in an efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine, for example, Massachusetts-based biotech Moderna—which uses Amazon Web Services’ (AWS’) cloud capabilities—is collaborating with several US government health agencies to create a vaccine for the coronavirus,  these computing capabilities of cloud developers can therefore be utilized to speed up drug development and boost collaborations between cloud developers, researchers and pharmaceutical companies as they concentrate their efforts on tackling the novel coronavirus.

Refer   The Biggest Business Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic eMarketer and BII analysts identify what to watch for in tech, digital marketing, banking and digital health. https://www.emarketer.com/content/the-biggest-business-impacts-of-the-coronavirus-pandemic-according-to-business-insider-intelligence Coronavirus’s Impact on Consumers and Businesses in China Article by Man-Chung Cheung, https://www.emarketer.com/content/coronavirus-china-us-covid-19-impact-retail-travel  

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