What a year it has been so far! Certainly, one for the history books, that’s for sure. But, out of the ashes, some exciting things have emerged. Just when we needed them the most, some tech companies really stepped up to the mark.
With many countries imposing a nationwide lockdown, it’s safe to say that the majority of companies were nudged into relying on online solutions to keep their businesses afloat.
From the rise in popularity of ghost restaurants, which work exclusively through online ordering and delivery, to virtual classrooms and new and interactive ways to educate ourselves: together, we soldiered on.
And, while it’s true that hackers had a field day at first, with the increasingly common form of cyber-attack known as “Zoom bombing”, users quickly learned to adapt to the intrusions and became more careful about who they shared their meeting links with. One can only assume that security will get tighter as we move from user-friendly focused solutions to more secure and dependable technologies.
In the tech game of the century, Zoom, which has seen its daily number of users balloon from 10 million to 200 million, has proved to be one of the biggest players in the league of conference call companies.
A recent report by Research And Markets points out that, “There are several factors that have been driving the market growth since the last decade… However, the outbreak of the coronavirus has impacted the video conferencing market positively. The ban on travel has limited the reach of enterprises in the foreign market, which in turn, has increased the adoption of video conferencing software. Companies are adopting an innovative recruitment process at such a time by engaging in video conferences. The government, on the other hand, is using video conferencing software to connect with doctors and administrative people of their region, and of other countries.”
In a press release earlier this year on Yahoo Finance, Zoom stated that the future of knowledge work will be a hybrid of virtual and in-person experience. Furthermore, it goes on to say that “In a recent study by IBM, 81% of respondents—up from 75% in April—indicated they want to continue working remotely at least some of the time. More than half—61%—would like this to become their primary way of working. Major corporations around the globe have already indicated that they do not foresee a return to pre-COVID ways of working. Additionally, according to a recent study by Morning Consult, almost half of adults who can work remotely believe that virtual meetings are at least as effective as in-person meetings. Zoom for Home meets the needs of the present shelter-in-place and the new normal of hybrid workforces.”
So it appears that the future is here, and rather than just a fad, going virtual is set to be the way forward – at least in part.
Cutting out the middlemen
But while some tech companies have proved to be worth their weight in gold, others have not been so lucky in corona times. It’s no secret that companies who act as middlemen are hurting.
Among those hardest hits: UK car sales are reportedly at their lowest level since 1946. Uber cut thousands of jobs in its offices. E-scooters have also had to shut down operations in some cities. Amazon also suffered considerably. Airbnb, which relies on people paying fees to stay in private households, had to stop due to social distancing which saw the company having to dismiss a quarter of its staff. Similarly, restaurant review site Yelp was forced to cut a third of its workforce, just a few weeks into the crisis.
Adaptability is key
In short, companies that were able to adapt, have come out on top. For the rest, it may be a golden opportunity to seek out new ways to keep playing the game in the era to come. What has been made abundantly clear is that this is no time to rest on our laurels.