COVID-19, the pandemic that invaded the world and altered work, society, and life as we know it. With the recent unveiling of new global vaccines promising a 95% effectiveness rating (Oxford, Pfizer, Moderna), the world appears to be slowly regaining a sense of normality. The age-old mantra ‘business as usual’ has forever been tainted as we embrace the ‘new normal’ in our lives. Despite this, the pandemic has not slowed innovation.
From a rise in smart solutions to the loss of opportunities, we analysed 7 ways COVID-19 has impacted the world of tech…
1. Start-up success
With investments come risks. Even more so during a global pandemic. So, where does this leave start-ups? Whilst some investors have shied away, others have recognised opportunity in the rising need for tech.
‘VC deals in Europe totalled €10.6bn in Q3 2020. That’s one of the strongest quarters on record, bringing year-to-date funding to €29.5bn and meaning it’s on track to eclipse the €37.2bn raised in 2019.’ – Sifted, 2020.
Software start-ups continue to dominate the space (30% of total European VC investments for the first nine months of 2020), with biotech and pharma growing to 20% – likely reflecting the space’s growing interest in light of the pandemic.
2. Jobs in the tech market
For some, the virus has meant furloughed workers and job cuts; for others, it has brought expansion and hiring. From MedTech to SaaS, logistics to eCommerce, tech professionals are proving essential in supporting the shift of businesses to remote working.
Following the outbreak, focus in the tech sector fell on IT and infrastructure as the compulsion of working from home created a rise in demand for tech talent.
Adam Nicoll, MD of Randstad UK, stated, “The economic slowdown has forced companies to focus on what jobs and skills are truly essential. It’s become clear that technology plays a critical part in ensuring a remote workforce is as efficient and productive as possible.”
3. Disruption to supply chains
With most technology products comes a host of collaborations from all over the world. Forced closures of many plants and factories have meant that vital parts are no longer accessible. 85% of global supply chains faced a reduction in operations, with 6% shutting down altogether.
With more than 200 of the Fortune Global 500 firms holding a presence in Wuhan, the highly industrialized province has taken the biggest hit. Unavailability of parts from China has led to a lack of iPhones on the market, leading Apple to suffer a 10% fall in shares.
Speaking on supply chain vulnerability Andrew Duncan, Partner and UK CEO of Infosys Consulting, noted:
“Digital tools and analytics will be a fundamental part of building resilience in the future, helping [to better] navigate uncertain supply and demand, adjust to disruptions in operations and supply chains, and adapt to sharp changes in consumer confidence and priorities.”
4. Tapping into the world of online payments
Retail therapy. Impulse buying. Call it what you will. Escapism comes in many forms. (The walk of shame now has a whole new meaning as you haul your delivery packages out for recycling 😬). Technology has allowed many of us to stay connected whilst functioning on an almost ordinary scale.
Amazon has seen both profits and power soar as a direct result of the pandemic. With surging online sales resulting in record-breaking profits, the billion-pound eCommerce company has carried out mass hiring efforts in order to keep up with increased demand.
Brian Olsavsky, Amazon CFO, stated during an earnings call, “In total, we have incurred more than $7.5bn in incremental COVID-related costs in the first three quarters of 2020, and we expect to incur approximately $4bn in Q4.”
One such company that has thrived during the pandemic is Adyen, the leading payments platform. With client names including eBay, Uber, Netflix, and Spotify, Adyen meets the rapidly evolving needs of today’s fast-growing global businesses through enabling merchants to accept payments in one single system.
With a partnership between Adyen and 2B Talent Solutions spanning 8 years, Adyen has not slowed in their hunt for the top tech talent as the company continues to prosper.
5. Smart solutions
With innovation comes smart solutions. Smart city technology has been leveraged across the globe in an attempt to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. From China’s thermal imaging drones, 3D printers used to roll out emergency PPE, and an Australian chatbot launched by the government to squash disinformation – technology has taken the lead in the fight against the virus.
Mikhail Japaridze\TASS via Getty Images
Investment interest has also risen as shares have seen a sharp incline in medical and tech sectors. NEO shares are up 1,200% in 6 months, whilst Tesla looks forward to joining the S&P 500 in December. Investors continue to pour in as technology proves to be shaping the way in a post-COVID world.
Business Insider Intelligence estimates that smart city investment will reach $295 billion by 2025, up from $131 billion in 2020. – Business Insider, 2020.
Sharing his optimism, John Wrennall, CTO at Advanced, stated, “There has never been a more relevant time for businesses to look to technology to enable the agility their organisations will need for the future.” Smart city solutions have proved to be a worthwhile investment space as they continue to be a valuable tool in the crisis response to the pandemic.
6. The rise of social
Remember Zoom? The go-to hub for all things quizzes, conference calls, and even court hearings. As isolation restrictions get tighter, the demand for software and social platforms widens.
Whether for reasons of work or personal, people need to remain connected. Zoom, Google Hangout, and Microsoft Teams are just a few platforms that have proved to be a necessity in the functioning of daily life.
[Zoom] lifted its revenue outlook for the full year to just under $2.4bn, up from $1.8bn forecast in June, as it sees firms adopting video meeting technology in the longer term – not just as temporary measure. – Sky News, 2020.
The compulsion of home-working has resulted in a growing need for remote interactions, which in turn has highlighted the need for 5G technology. Lightning-fast speeds, instantaneous delivery, and increased connection density form the perfect concoction needed to establish successful remote interactions.
7. Loss of opportunity
With cancellations comes missed opportunity. From one postponed event comes an avalanche of disappointment as prospects become fewer, and chances to forge new business partnerships become sparser.
The cancellation of industry events can severely reduce development opportunities, whilst travel restrictions lead to decreased client interactions. In the words of author Porter Gale, ‘Your network is your net worth.’
For start-ups to scale-ups alike, technology conferences can provide a lifeline into future business relations. Most noticeably may be the cancellation of telecommunications conference Mobile World Progress (MCP), with Facebook F8, Google IO, and Microsoft Build following suit in line with growing COVID-19 concerns. Incurring an estimated $1 billion in direct economic loss, online alternatives aid in limiting the fall-out from cancelled conferences yet withhold one very powerful tool: genuine human connection.
On the contrary, the spike in virtual events boast two major benefits; a reduction in both time and money. The concise manner of virtual events be it efficient schedules, choreographed content, or flexible viewing options, make virtual events a favourable choice in delivering effective presentations.
The restrictions of COVID-19 have created a digital opportunity as developments in technology allow us to benefit from high speed internet, HD video, virtual reality, and an abundance of teleconferencing platforms for ever-evolving virtual experiences.
Within the many difficulties presented by COVID-19, have arisen many opportunities. The crisis has become an extraordinary catalyst for change. Disruptive challenges have forced the technology industry to act faster and with more efficiency than ever before. With the IT industry set to experience a huge economic boom, the market is predicted to rise from $131 Billion in 2020 to $295 by 2025 (Market Data Forecast, 2020). A stronger emphasis on later rounds and healthtech companies reflects the changing attitudes towards tech.
At 2B Talent Solutions, we have experienced our own period of growth throughout the pandemic as we look forward to our best financial year yet! From doubling our headcount to upsizing to our new creative space in Bonded Warehouse, 2B continues to expand and prosper. Speaking on our recent success, Co-Founder James Branton stated, “Despite the challenges 2020 has presented, at 2B Talent Solutions, we were also lucky enough to experience growth and success in spite of the pandemic. I look forward to the new year as the company enters new ventures in 2021!”
Considering your next move or looking to add to your team? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team on ‘0161 806 0152’ or email ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’.