The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world of technology

When the world is going through one of the worst pandemics of the century, there is no doubt that the world economy will go through a can of worms and that is eventually having drastic effects on all the spheres connected to the economy. One of the sectors, which has been affected very badly due to the pandemic is the technology sector. When the whole world is going through a  lockdown, the technology sector is also facing huge losses and it is not only affecting consumer technology, but it is also affecting telecommunication, Technology events, E-Commerce businesses and all other fields of Technology that you can think of. 

It is still unknown when the technology Sector will again flourish after the COVID-19  pandemic is over, but it is expected that the year 2020 is going to be the worst year when it comes to global economic growth and Technology. If I start talking about how exactly the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the Technology Sector it will really be a long story. But today I will talk about the most vulnerable sectors which have been affected by the pandemic so that you can have a brief idea of the complete situation that is going on all over the world and also in India. As more than 15 million job losses and expected due to the COVID-19  pandemic, that is yet another reason why the Technology Sector will go through a slowdown even after the COVID-19, at least for the next few months to almost a year.

Corona Virus effects on Technology
Corona Virus effects on Technology

So without any further delay, let’s get started with the drastic effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the technology sector.

Cancellation of Technology events

All the major technology events at the beginning of the Year 2020 have been cancelled or postponed due to the wake up of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a few of the most awaited events which include the Google IO 2020 that was scheduled to be held on 12th May,  Facebook Global marketing Summit, and many more have been cancelled. A number of other technology events have also been postponed due to the wake up of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Furthermore, a number of global smartphone launch events have also been cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic and most major smartphone manufacturers, and other manufacturers are conducting the launch events online to prevent the mass gathering of people. The geeks wait all the year to find some new innovations in the world of Technology and the cancellation or postponement of the technology events is really a signal that things have started falling apart due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effects on the telecom industry

When most countries have been locked down due to the COVID-19  pandemic, most employers have asked their employees to work from home and talking about normal people, we all are pretty much dependent on the internet to spend our time when we are advised by the government to not go out. At this point in time, we are completely dependent on telecommunication services to access the internet and maintain communication with our loved ones at the same time. Even though when the usage of the telecommunication services is at its peak, we haven’t yet observed any blackout or any other drastic situation when the telecommunication services are out of reach. But that doesn’t mean, the telecommunication industry is booming. 

The mobile network operators and broadband operators along with all other telecommunication sectors are working with limited employees as a safety measure and when we are dreaming of faster 5G services, the network up-gradation cannot take place at the situation due to cash crunch in the telecommunication sector at least in India, and COVID-19 has added fuel to the existing problem. Even though it is expected that the telecommunication sector will boom in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic situation but it is yet to be seen. As a government has allowed employees to work in emergency services and the telecommunication sector is one of them, we will hardly find any network blackouts or any other unwanted situation during the pandemic period. So, we will eventually see even slower growth in the telecommunication sector due to the COVID-19 situation.

Effect on E-commerce businesses

The government has requested to limit The E-Commerce businesses to deliver only those products which are considered essential commodities during the lockdown situation. So, if you had a plan to get a new smartphone in this time period, you cannot get it online, nor you can get it from any local retail store. When it is really a trouble for us to get something that we might desire, at the same time, it is really a big loss for The E-Commerce companies as the can not deliver most high-value products as that will require more delivery guys who will need to go outdoors, and that might spread the pandemic. 

Even though it is expected, the E-Commerce companies will start delivering all types of products shortly after the lockdown, but I am pretty sure the products will go out of stock within a very short span of time, as there will be a sudden surge in the demand of products by the consumers. Thus, the E-commerce business can’t run smoothly shortly after the pandemic situation. The same is applicable for other E-Commerce companies, who deliver food and cab aggregators like Ola and Uber. As people are requested not to go out unless they have some emergency, almost all the E-Commerce services are really going through a tough time and the problem is more intense for smaller E-Commerce solutions, unlike Flipkart and Amazon.

Diminished availability of electronic goods

Due to the lack of workforce in the manufacturing sector due to the complete lockdown in different parts of the world,  it is expected that the world will see a dip in the number of available electronic goods. As the production plants are working with a limited workforce, they will hardly be able to cope with the demand of the electronic goods once the lockdown is lifted. However, considering the economic condition, demand for all types of electronic gadgets will not exactly be the same as it was in the pre-lockdown or pre-COVID-19 period, but there will be a lack of availability of electronic gadgets, and there is no doubt about it. 

Even in the pre-lockdown period in India, we have observed, several computer peripherals and mobile devices were not available abundantly, and a few of the products were overpriced and that was due to lockdown situations in China when the world was yet to see the apocalyptic situation of COVID-19 on the world. If the demand prevails, there can also be an increase in the price of several electronic gadgets, which can also have a cyclic effect on the consumer technology market.

Reduced advertisements leading to revenue shortage for online businesses

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, most businesses have come to a standstill and there are a number of brands that cannot do their businesses including a few of the leading ones, like the airlines, and other sectors. Most online websites like YouTube and others display advertisements, keep a part of the advertisement revenue with themselves and give away the remaining amount to the creator or the owner of the website. 

But as most businesses are not running at present, or is running with limited operations, they are also not advertising on a mass scale currently, which is one of the biggest reasons why YouTube earnings, and earning from most blogs have reduced. The businesses are not running any online marketing campaigns, which is yet another reason why YouTube ad revenue and ad revenue from other advertisement providers have also reduced at the same time. Even though there are certain ads, which are related to online products, but that is not as much as the advertisements of all the different types of products from different businesses, which have almost come to a standstill at this point in time.

There is no doubt about the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world economy and as the world of Technology is an integral part of the world economy. That said it is quite expected there will be some effects on consumer Technology as well as in different fields of Technology. I just talked about the major fields in technology, which has been affected by the COVID-19  pandemic. I didn’t go into finer details about each of the topics as there is a lot to talk about every single point I have discussed here.

The COVID-19 outbreak poses unprecedented challenges to businesses, governments, and societies around the world. Companies are reacting in different ways to ensure business continuity. Let’s see some IT industry leaders suggestions they have shared on how they are aiding channel community to leverage industry-relevant solutions to face COVID pandemic head-on.

Vikas Bhonsle, CEO at Crayon Software Experts India

“As we all know we are in middle of unprecedented global medical crisis that’s redefining the way we are leading our lives.

At Crayon we have taken strong measures to ensure safety of our employees. We have implemented remote working policy and our teams are staying connected by using collaborative tools to ensure business continuity of our customers as well as partners. Challenging times like this requires innovative and next gen technological solutions that define newer business models; a new normal.

Being a software and cloud solution organization, we at Crayon are extending all help possible to our business networks. We are making representations to the largest software publishers to relook the terms of our contracts with them and help businesses by financial concessions during prolonged lockdown. We are making entire gamut of our services around software and cloud available to our customers at attractive techno commercial value propositions. As the workforces are being disrupted, we are helping organizations quickly adopt new working models, by connecting employees and providing special access to solutions that maintain productivity and ensure business continuity. We have created an environment in the cloud where customers can host their desktops and continue working as usual. We have stepped up our capacity to address customers’ need to reduce costs by optimizing their infrastructure on premise or on the cloud and come up with better investment planning. On the account of this service our customers are seeing a dramatic shift in their cost.

I strongly believe, people, businesses and government need to work together to overcome this tough medical and economic emergency. Let’s pledge to maintain social distancing and stay safe”.

Mr. Rohit Birla, Co-founder at Book Keeper, an accounting solutions software providing startup says, ‘Jaan h to Jahan hai’ once asked about how are they dealing with the CoronaVirus outbreak.

The world is going through a pandemic of COVID-19 disease leading to a lockdown situation as the only way to avoid its spread. This has seriously affected the lives of people and businesses have come to a standstill. Startup ecosystem is no different and is highly volatile compared to established businesses as most of the startups are in various stages such as proof of concept, offshoot, and development stage and it becomes hard for such startups to keep it going in such times as resources are limited. However, the situation is very different for funded startups as they can tide over and it has severely affected startups who were looking to raise funds as the funding activity has taken a huge drop.
At Book Keeper as we are affordable accounting application & software for small businesses such as traders/retailers/manufacturers we have been affected after the lockdown situation as most of our subscribers and target audience is not operating and plan to renew/purchase only after the lockdown situation gets over. Usually end of March is our peak sales period as at the end of financial year demand for accounting application & software increases and now we expect the demand to come only after the lockdown situation gets over.

We are doing our bit by working from home since 17th March to keep us and our people safe. We have even advised our software resellers/distributors to give online demo of our product rather than visits to customers. Hopefully, we will come out of the situation in coming weeks; things will be back to normal and government will do its bit for businesses to manage its effects on the economy.

We are lucky that we have been bootstrapped and profitable so will be able to manage the slowdown with our existing resources. In the end, would say “Jaan hai toh Jahaan hai”

Satish Kumar V CEO, EverestIMS Technologies

“At EverestIMS we call this the new “Digital Normal”. Any good business relationship is based on trust and mutual give and take. Today the COVID 19 virus is testing the boundaries of these relationships as financial considerations stretch cooperation to its breaking point. The channel community depends upon interaction, information sharing, discussion, demos and a host of interactive elements that form their arsenal. However this has been halted completely due to the nature of the current pandemic. Realizing their need, IT Companies have rapidly pivoted and focused efforts towards digital solutions that promote business continuity through online/virtual touch-points and experiences.

These span web-sessions, VPN, video conferencing, etc., as the basic lattice. Many have quickly packaged their software into downloadable, trial or subscription versions. This makes it easy for Channels to fulfill a customer request online rather wait for a person or demo to be sent (after the curfew) is over. Many have also nimbly switched to Cloud based subscriptions making it easier for customers to get on-board without having to wait. On the hardware front many companies have quickly offered certain business essentials on rental. Items like laptops, routers, printers and other essential are easily available on rent, thus ensuring that the workforce is fully equipped to work from distant locations. Essentially IT companies have slowly been creating the “Digital Normal”.

For us at EverestIMS this is a two-pronged system where our product suite allows businesses to maintain a high level of continuity through 1 – ensuring that their own backend infrastructure is up and running, and 2 – that they are able to engage with customers and stakeholders on a continuous basis. These two crucial factors are paramount to keeping the show running and we are confident of supporting the channel community strongly on these fronts.”

Mr. Avneet Singh Marwah is the Director and CEO of Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd 

“As India comes together to fight the pandemic, we support the Government’s decision to extend the lock down until May 3rd. As honorable PM also mentioned, these steps have a huge impact on the economy, but its also a small price to pay in the short run. The Television industry alone has already seen an expected loss of Rs 1700 to 2000 crore and further damages are definitely expected. However, we need to use this time to reinvent workspaces and put stringent measures in place, so that as soon as the lock down is lifted, factories can be opened without further delay.

In this regards, Kodak TV has already invested in HUMAN SANITIZATION MACHINES for its manufacturing units and creating guidelines for employees to practice social distancing on the production floor- distancing six feet from each other, while wearing hand gloves, face mask and caps would be compulsory.

We have also recruited a floor manager to supervise and measure the body temperature after every two hours and we will give necessary medical assistance to those showing any symptoms. We are also preparing a Quarantine center for any immediate action, if need be. All such steps will help in prioritizing safety and health of our employees, and by extension consumers (through safe products).

We believe that with appropriate measures like these, the factories can become operational with a short turnaround time, and help the economy overcome the slump.”

Shibu Paul- Vice President- International Sales at Array Networks

“Enterprises across the world are struggling to follow remote work practices to limit the spread of COVID 19 and to ensure that operations are disrupted to a minimum. VPN security has become paramount with everyone working remotely. The key to success at work from home now lies in prioritizing communication. Therefore we look forward to training and developing our channel eco-system to be the facilitators for this digital transformation. The focal point will be to engage with highly skilled selected partners who can evangelize customers.

Business Intelligence has helped us optimize our work and focus on productive trends. Array’s channel program is devised to select partners and continuously trains them on leading-edge solutions. Recently we offered our full-fledged support towards enabling corporate workforce to work from home (WFH) amid the coronavirus threats by offering complimentary Virtual Secure Access Gateway (vxAG) and Direct Desktop Business Continuity Planning license for 30 days to all enterprises who securely wished to plan work from home for their employees.

Our mantra is to work with handpicked channel partners, train them and help them create build sustainable and profitable business models. Our strategy is to empower our partners by offering industry-relevant solutions that partners can successfully leverage in the Indian market.”

Ritesh Deodar, Country Manager, Milestone System

We are experiencing unprecedented challenges in the face of the COVID-19 virus worldwide. Milestone is closely monitoring the COVID-19 developments around our markets and has taken actions to secure the well-being of our employees, the business interest of our partners, and customers. We are following guidelines from local authorities and those of the World Health Organization and are taking all necessary precautions.

Our additional measures include:

Remote working: our teams are fully equipped and set up to work remotely. They have been doing this successfully since the local and national lockdown announcements.

Support: sales and technical support is operating within their normal hours to ensure our partners get the help they need, when they need it.

Online training: we have upscale our online training capabilities and capacity.

Community Webinars: While the current global situation makes it difficult for in person meetings, now is the perfect time to invest in oneself and take the time for a ‘virtual coffee’ together with our team and spend 30 minutes finding what is currently going on in the industry.

Enabling New Revenue Opportunities with CareTM

To give our partner community a helping hand in this difficult time, we’ve also launched a new Care Campaign. This includes upgrade offers, extra support, and lucrative offers for Care coverage to extend a helping hand.

Murugesan R – Senior Director, Sales – Private Networks at R&M

“In the present scenario, channel partners have a prominent responsibility in creating and expanding business opportunities across the globe. Digitization is changing the world in a way we never thought possible. We have realized that connectivity is the top priority and that there is no digitization without cables, connectors, distributors, and racks. R&M expects the demand for bandwidth to continue to increase in local data networks. To be prepared for upcoming traffic, data center professionals must now plan to support increased bandwidth by implementing optical fiber that enables simplified network transformation.

R&M supports the channel ecosystem with quality products for the creation of high-performance infrastructures in these trying times. Conducting Partner programs help us to enrich our channel partners with the knowledge of new products and updates done for the existing products. This helps us to collect feedback from the customers and have a clear understanding of market demands. Considering the current and future scenarios of the Indian market, we design effective partner programs that not only help us to increase our business figures but also accelerate the growth of our channel partners.”

Mr. Himanshu Mody, Founder & CEO of Tekno Point.

Impact on technology services company will vary depending on industries they are serving, BFSI will continue to accelerate making more and more things DIY for the customer. Extending the digital enablement for the agent ecosystem will take priority, specially for insurance. Manufacturing companies will slow down IT spends as their cash flows are severely impacted. The new form of partnerships and understanding will emerge where brands will expect technology partners to service the needs with certain room for delayed billing. This is the best time for companies to initiate digital transformation projects which they had been ignoring or did not have the bandwidth for.

Mr. Alok Bansal, Managing Director, and Country Head, Visionet India Pvt. Ltd.

The pandemic has created a global impact on businesses, economy and individuals. As a niche technology and BPM service provider, we are working with over 400 global organizations across Mortgage and Financial Services, Retail, Consumer Goods, Manufacturing, and other industries to keep them up and running by helping them navigate through this challenging time.

Our business continuity program allows our associates working from home, onshore and offshore through cloud-enabled infrastructure, collaboration platforms. We remain vigilant in adapting and developing additional measures as more information about the pandemic and its impact becomes available. We believe that this is the moment to demonstrate grace under pressure, our tenacity, and resolve. We can get through this together by helping each other in these tough times. We are committed to hiring 1500 more employees this year and much of my own time and thinking is now entirely focused on how Visionet can best play its role by finding newer opportunities to support more companies.

Mr. Vijay Gupta, Chairman and CEO, SoftTech Engineers Limited.

“There is surely a feeling of apprehension everywhere; and especially technology companies are already feeling the heat due to the lockdown. However, the current COVID-19 situation has also given us the opportunity to think out-of-the-box and introspect over every business aspect. Be it our customers, vendors, or employees, there is a need for hand-holding & confidence building. I believe the governments should take the initiatives to ensure that all projects are continued as usual, the budgets are not curtailed and payments are released speedily for sustained liquidity in the market. This is essential for recovery of business & market conditions post lockdown. Innovation and improvisation are two important vehicles today to pull everyone out of this situation, while ensuring all around safety and well-being.”

Mr Nirbhay Gupta, CEO Coirfit Mattress

“COVID-19 pandemic has affected every major to the minor industry including the mattress industry. Though all operations and retail stores have been shut, there is still a bleak demand for mattresses in the market. There will, of course, be a decrease in the demand for new furniture and we believe as the effect and covid’s tremors will wear off, the demand will eventually come back to its normal graph. To help our customers keep a tab on the brand’s activities and releases, the company has become more socially active than before. With IGTV and Facebook Live ruling the social media right now, there is no other place for a brand to be than social media.

It is not a ‘Me’ time but it is a ‘We’ time. If we stick together as an industry, we will move forward even stronger.”

Mr. Parag Naik, Co-Founder and CEO, Saankhya Labs

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disturbed the supply chain of the semiconductor industry. We were doing some system design in China and that is now delayed. So far we have not seen a direct ‘surge’ in demand. However, we have been getting some queries from US players to make some new chips and systems. As of now there is no concrete proposal but some interest has been generated. Despite the increasing uncertainty among businesses, technology suppliers should continue to maintain constant engagement with business partners and prospects, focus on long-term investments and explore specific markets for stability. Emerging innovative technologies including 5G Broadcast, Satellite communications, intelligent edge and IoT will be extremely crucial for an overall recovery to the technology sector in the country.”

Dr Vivek G Mendonsa (Director-Marketing, LYNX: Lawrence & Mayo)

“The Indian construction and Infrastructure segment has been at the forefront of the recent reforms across the country and had been growing steadily. Key Government initiatives like the smart city projects, digital India and Make in India programmes had further driven the exponential growth of the sector. However, given the massive pandemic that has forced global economies to slow down and caused major lockdown across financial and manufacturing hubs of the world, the Infrastructure and construction sector has also slowed down and come to halt. As of now, the immediate impact of the pandemic has been felt by both established brands and the SME & MSME’s sectors which are dealing with temporary stalling of current projects, thereby delaying completion. In the coming months, however, as the global economy starts to take stock of the overall commercial damage due to COVID-19, the resultant domino effect might bring some serious damages to the infrastructure sector. As a legacy brand working closely across projects with the public and the private sector, we at Lynx Lawrence & Mayo are well aware of our responsibility towards the country, the people, our stakeholders, and our employees and strive to do our best to fight the pandemic. We stand in solidarity with the Government and vouch to be a part of the rebuilding of a new India post the COVID-19.”

Mr. Vikram Kumar – founder and CEO Letstrack.

“No one in the business will be spared from the sudden stop of the trading. All the business owners will have to bear the cost of these harsh times. The level of impact will depend on the duration of their establishments and how financially strong they are like I said no one is will be spared. The company will have to pay to their service providers and employees as per their cycles which is not possible for the business where the company’s revenue is dependent on the collections from sales. This is a war against an invisible enemy and we have to take some immediate severe steps to combat the situation like the UK and the USA. We are affected severely and it will leave a huge dent in the working of the company ”

Ms Rohini Walia, Director, Sales and Marketing, Thomson Audio

The coronavirus outbreak is a human catastrophe, affecting hundreds of thousands of people globally. It also has a growing impact on the global economy. All industries, segments and sectors across the world are bearing the brunt of the epidemic. The most significant segments that are taking the worst hit are – SMEs and smaller businesses, especially the ones which are self-funded along with the Organized Retail industry.

Retail stores had to close down even before e-commerce platforms stopped their services. This is because the big stores are generally in malls and they were the first ones who had to close as per the government orders. As observed, organized Retail business is always manpower-intensive whether it’s on the seller side like Croma store or brand side like us where we need to hire a lot of people for account management, product training or product demonstration (called as ISD- In-Store demonstrator). As they sit at home, it creates a huge impact on the bottom line of any organization. The regular backhand expenses like marketing, finance or logistics were common across all the sales channels any which way.

Despite the fact that the market will come back in a few months, Retail will take the longest to come back to its full glory since it has a lot of levers which need to fall in place.

Deekshith Vara Prasad, Founder & CEO, Air Ok Technologies

Covid-19 and the lockdown triggered by it has posed before us an unprecedented situation and heightened challenges. As mentioned by a few world leaders, life may not remain the same as it used to be before the pandemic outbreak, and hence the need is to prepare for the unseen, especially for when the lockdown phase is gone. One prime concern that would rule the roost is ensuring a clean surrounding and clean air. This assumes utmost significance given the possibilities of corona-type viruses getting transmitted through air. We need to brace for a safe and secure future.”

Mr Achin Gupta, Country Head-India at ZOOOK

“The world is currently experiencing an extremely intense time on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has really shaken the majority of enterprises on the planet. The impact has been on varied sectors such as raw materials supply and electronic value chain. The lockdown has upset the electronics value chain, thereby causing decrease in demand because of factors like increased pricing and decreased buying power and depreciation of Rupee against dollar as a factor in increase in prices. Almost all players in the economy have been affected adversely, and the economy world over is feared to be headed towards a massive recession. But on the other side, the disruption has sped up remote working, online teaching, e-meetings. This disruption can lead to a lot of technological advancements which will capitalise on mass awareness created during this pandemic. We might have our regular automatic temperature in form of smart band, automatic thermal cameras to detect temperature, ultra-violet sanitization devices for mobile phones, electronics, toothbrushes and a lot of other stuff. The new advancements will promote social distancing and personal hygiene.”

Mr. Mandeep Arora, MD, and Spokesperson, UBON

COVID-19’s effects have a direct impact on the technology industry, affecting gradually the supply of raw materials, disrupting the value chain of electronics and increasing commodity inflation threats. More importantly, the transition has led to an expansion in working remotely and a growing focus on the end-to-end value chain being analyzed and de-risked. For example, as the global tech industry — including India — is largely dependent on Chinese vendors for components, device designing and manufacturing, COVID-19 has caused a significant disruption to the global supply chain. The closing down of Chinese factories and supply networks has further dented the consumer electronics business significantly. Additionally, future reduction in carbon emissions could lead to a renewed emphasis on sustainable practices.

Mr. Lalit Arora, Co-founder VingaJoy.

The cases of COVID-19 have not only surged in the country but globally, and the entire world has been exposed to a large number of cases within the past few weeks. This is an alarming situation for the whole world which includes the most developed nations like the United States, Germany, Canada, etc. This deadly virus has resulted in 1.2 lakh deaths and 2 million people with infections of Coronavirus cases across the globe. India imports goods worth $70 billion from China and exports products amounting to $17 billion. Even for the spare parts and assembly, the Indian market largely depends on China because of mass production. China accounts for 85% of the total value of components used in smartphones that are assembled in India; in the case of television sets, it is 75%.

We at VingaJoy strongly believes that the lockdown has led to a heavy loss in the market but nothing is more important than our people’s lives. Not only this, the decision of lockdown and suspending all the international flights has directly resulted in the discontinuation of import and export. However, this was the need of the hour to safeguard the people of our country to help and prevent the spreading of this dreaded Covid ’19. There could be a shortage of life-saving drugs, sanitizers, PPE kits, etc. in many nations which has to be fulfilled. Also, we need to protect the medical staff and the general public as well. Since nothing in this world is more important than the lives of our people, our focus should only be their personal safety and security.

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