As COVID-19 continues its slow and steady march across our nation and the world, small businesses should take the time to consider how the virus will impact technology needs for organizations of all types and sizes.
In this blog post, we will examine how COVID-19 is driving technology needs and trends in a variety of industries, which your small company should recognize and try to benefit from as much as possible.
Government and Businesses Will Need A Greater Focus on Emergency Response and Business Continuity
If this virus has taught us nothing else, it is that an organization can never be too well prepared to face a manmade or human disaster. Government at all levels and businesses have faced a monumental challenge to find ways to promptly mobilize their resources to respond to crisis situations. The lesson they should have learned is to invest significantly in technology and services that will help them mitigate different types of crises and enable them to effectively recover from any disruptions.
Government organizations will need to invest more in public communications infrastructure, applications that will assist in emergency management, and tools that will make effective disease surveillance possible. Special attention will be necessary to use scalable IT infrastructure and advanced cloud services to keep essential public services functioning during an extended crisis timeline.
Businesses of all types will have to invest more resources in their business continuity efforts including the even greater use of remote work options and the cloud to ensure that they can continue their operations at a pre-crisis level.
In addition, an organization’s effective business continuity system depends on a combination of onsite and offsite backup systems that can quickly restore their disrupted operations. Companies will need to invest more in these backup systems and also in qualified resources that can run daily integrity checks on these systems. These efforts ensure that all the data backed-up from company networks is uncorrupted and maintains its integrity. As a result of the virus’ impact, there is a substantial growing market for companies that can offer tools and services to support this greater focus on emergency response and business continuity.
A Growing Number of Businesses Will Need More Advanced Remote Work Technology and Connectivity
Organizations of all types will increasingly move toward remote work options for more if not all of their employees. As many of us have experienced in the last couple months, remote work technology is impressive, but it still has some room for improvement in order to work as well as an onsite location in various situations. For example, some telework tools work exceptionally well for virtual meetings but run into issues when an employee tries to share a presentation. Some remote options work smoothly with Office 365 applications, while others work better with other tools. Almost all virtual meeting tools experience issues when the number of participants go up or when high bandwidth applications are used. Common problems during these meetings include dropped calls, poor audio or visuals, and annoying data lag time. In addition, with more rural companies required to use remote work technology because of the virus, there will be a greater need for improved rural internet connectivity.
There is also a growing need for innovative accessories and equipment that improve the remote work experience. Some examples of these include ergonomic and comfortable furniture and workstations, ear buds, headsets, and light-blocking screen protectors. Companies will also need to invest in training activities and tools to make remote work more comfortable and productive for their employees.
As a result of COVID-19, there is a massive opportunity for companies that offer any technology in the virtual meeting space to provide enhanced remote work tools and services for an increasingly larger and more diverse market. There is also huge potential for growth for companies who offer telework training, equipment, and accessories.
The Healthcare Sector Will Increasingly Move toward Virtual Care
The healthcare industry accounts for nearly 18% or $3.5 trillion of US GDP, and the current crisis is moving more of its focus toward “virtual care.” This broad term includes all the ways that healthcare providers remotely interact with their patients. In addition to treating their patients remotely in what is referred to as “telemedicine,” providers also increasingly have the ability to use digital tools including live video, audio, and instant messaging to communicate with their patients in real-time. Other interesting remote medicine developments include chatbots that can make initial diagnoses based on the symptoms relayed by patients as well as wearable IoT devices that can monitor a patient’s vital signs.
As a result of the growing necessity of virtual care in the healthcare sector, particularly among elderly patients, there is a huge opportunity for companies to develop tools to support and enhance these efforts.
Retailers Will Need Help to Offer a More Effective Online Presence
Retailers will need to pay more attention to their online presence in order to attract customers to their products and services as traditional brick and mortar sales have taken a devastating hit because of the latest crisis. The companies that already made smart investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve the interactive customer experience have seen their online retail sales boom during COVID-19. There is great potential for companies that offer services and solutions to improve companies’ online customer-facing features as well as the supporting functions of e-commerce.
Businesses Will Need Support to Overcome Supply Chain Issues
Retailers, manufacturers, and businesses of all types have been plagued with supply chain issues during this crisis that have disrupted, stalled, and closed operations. The entire world economy has suffered from an overall reduction in consumer demand, decreased production activity, and the delayed transportation of goods. Organizations worldwide have a huge collective need for artificial intelligence, IoT, and machine learning tools that will assist them in improving their core supply chain planning capabilities as well as their forecasting, inventory, and merchandising functions.
The Use of Robots and Drones Will Increase
By virtue of their ability to mimic human actions and not be affected by disease, the use of robots and drones to perform a variety of important functions has increased greatly. Some examples include food, medicine, and package delivery, disinfecting of essential areas in hospitals and other important buildings, and a wide variety of manufacturing functions. Although there is a legitimate fear that these machines will replace human workers, there will also be a growing number of human jobs available to design, build, operate, and maintain these devices.
Consult with a Trusted IT Support Partner
In order to better understand these technology trends related to COVID-19 and determine how your company can most benefit from them, we recommend you consult with a trusted IT Support partner like Network Depot. With the help of an experienced and reliable IT partner, your organization will be able to recognize the relevant trends resulting from COVID-19 and learn how to enhance your company’s operations as a result.