Murali Krishnan, Senior Industry Analyst, Visionary Innovation Group, Frost & Sullivan

The global impact of Covid-19 is widespread amongst economies, industries and businesses, with some facing greater distress than others. The world continues to witness GDP declines, business closures and bankruptcies. As the world trudges towards recovery, leaders must identify trends and leverage opportunities arising from Covid-19. Leaders can drive technology transformation efforts to build resilience into the organisation and stimulate growth. In Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, “The Reshaping of Industries caused by Covid-19”, we have listed nine key trends that will emerge due to the reshaping of industries. These are:

  • Connected living: Increased adoption of contactless surfaces post pandemic will power the home automation and security markets
  • Connected work: Restructured connected work scenarios will accentuate the need for cloud everything
  • Digital health: Digital health driven by telemedicine and robotic care will become the new standard of care delivery
  • Geopolitical balance: Global trust must be restored post-Covid-19
  • Human augmentation: Behavioural data will be used to enhance healthcare systems, financial services and cybersecurity post-Covid-19
  • Lights-out operations: Post-Covid-19, the preparation for such outbreaks will drive the need for remote monitoring solutions, digital twins and contactless commerce
  • Smart cities: Smart cities are set to create significant business opportunities with a market value of $2.46 trillion by 2025, globally.
  • Supply chain optimisation: The market for on-demand delivery (mobile robots, drones and autonomous vehicles) is set to reach $81 billion in 2030, globally
  • Technology advancements: Pandemic preparedness will speed up the deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and accelerate AI innovation

Below are opportunities emerging from three of the above trends across industries:

Digital health

  • Telehealth: The post-pandemic world can use telehealth as a solution to actively support health and wellness. Covid-19 has driven an unprecedented uptake of virtual visit services. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) usage will witness robust growth in 2020 and 2021, as providers, payers, and patients endorse the increased value in tracking patient data. mHealth, the largest revenue generator across telehealth, will see significant growth in 2020. The use of consumer wearable devices will rise significantly as focus shifts to prevention.
  • Robotic care: Robotic care continues to grow in various forms. For instance, autonomous robots are used in health facilities to disinfect patient rooms with zero human interference. Usage of AI with medical robotics can revolutionise the patient care system. From help desk to diagnostics to operative procedures, the future of hospitals could be controlled by fully autonomous intelligent robots without human intervention.

 Lights-out operation

  • Digital twins: Increased adoption has been noted in the manufacturing and heavy industries sectors, primarily for product development, optimising asset performance, improving process efficiency, and minimising time and cost. Digital twin technology is also increasingly finding application in healthcare, construction and smart cities.
  • Remote asset monitoring: Firms with remote asset monitoring have been able to operate during the lockdown by analysing data to make informed decisions about plant site and equipment.

Connected work

  • Remote work: The need for a contactless work environment and physical distancing will lead vendors to incorporate contactless interfaces, including voice interfaces and gesture recognition features, to replace any remote-controlled devices in the workplace. As remote working models grow, workplace wearables will enable hands-free work and remote collaboration amongst employees, contractors and customers.
  • Virtual collaboration: Enterprise collaboration tools such as IM apps and project management software will see a surge due to the pandemic. The Covid-19 crisis will become an accelerator of existing trends for AR/VR adoption in enterprises as companies find new ways for internal and wider external teams to communicate and collaborate.

Success imperatives during times of disruption

Companies can explore agile business models that will adapt to new remote working models. Technology will play a critical role in shifting from on-site to a virtual workplace that is mobile and more flexible. The focus on cost optimisation and prevention of further production losses is accelerating the adoption of professional-service industrial robots across industries.

As workplaces become more decentralised and distributed, organisations should prioritise cybersecurity, get involved in business continuity planning (BCP) as well as conduct risk assessment of critical business processes.

Covid-19 has impacted multiple facets of our lives, including how we work, conduct business and leisure. While some of these impacts have transformed into major trends, the underlying technology shifts have significantly accelerated. While this disruption has brought to the fore several gaps in the existing operating models, it also provides an opportunity to build more resilience into the system. This is where companies should strategise, build and grow in such times of adversity.