Yugal Kishore Sharma, CEO, ONEOTT iNTERTAINMNET Limited (OIL)

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown the global economic activities into an unprecedented spiral. However, several businesses are taking the virtual route to get back on track. As a result, there has been a significant spike in the demand for long-term digitally-driven solutions.

As a matter of fact, the adoption of digital technologies is being hailed as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

It poses a thought-provoking question – has the Coronavirus outbreak triggered a digital revolution 2.0? Let’s take a look.

A brief history of the digital revolution 1.0

Even though India emerged as a hub for Digital and IT services in the early 21st century, this technology was neither pervasive nor omnipresent. Thus, India’s actual tryst with the digitisation started with the announcement of the Digital India campaign.

Launched in 2015, Digital India, the program launched and introduced schemes and technologies like BHIM-UPI, Jandhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM), Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT), and BharatNet to promote socio-economic parity. While efforts are still underway to make digital technologies a household presence, its penetration throughout the country has been impressive.

How has Covid-19 affected the current scenario and future prospects?

After the Digital revolution 1.0, it became apparent that digitisation is inevitable. However, Covid-19 has accelerated it further. Digital fitness and adaptation have now become a matter of survival.

The following trends highlight the growth and maturation of digital technologies:

Mobile-led digital revolution 

After the Covid-19 outbreak, delivery apps registered a peak in downloads and install rates hiked by 166% in the USA. A similar trend was observed in apps for entertainment, gaming, social media, at-home exercise, teleconferencing, and telemedicine.

Necessity-driven overnight digital revolution

Companies were transitioning to a digital model for a variety of reasons ranging from customer-centricity to audience expansion. The pandemic has been a wake-up call to organisations resisting this change. Digitisation has brought out scalability as a unique feature that maintains the business’ relevance in the current situation.

As consumers are relying heavily on digital stores and outlets, businesses have to remain scalable and highly productive to cater to their needs. As “going digital” emerged as a necessity for companies and consumers both, digital fitness is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

Business solidarity and partnership                     

The pandemic is blurring out competitive boundaries and is promoting a feeling of oneness. Businesses are at a crossroads where they adopt this ‘we’re all in this together’ approach or perish.

This transformation comes because the business response in such tough times will define its reputation for the years to come. Further, shared technologies are leading to the formation of symbiotic relationships between businesses to build unique partnerships.

Naturally, it is bound to result in something fruitful for businesses and customers alike.

A glance at coronavirus-driven digital revolution 2.0

Here’s an overview of how different sectors are utilising digital technologies to stay afloat:

In Education

Educational institutes are forced to shut down, affecting nearly 70% of the world’s student population. As a result, these organisations are expanding their digital infrastructure to normalise e-learning. Interestingly, it is predicted that in some countries learning from home will continue to stay in practice even after the pandemic.

In Medicine

Telemedicine has emerged as a thriving sector amidst the pandemic. Apps offering online consultation, on-demand medical services, and medicine delivery will continue to stay in demand. On the other end of the spectrum, teleconferencing is enabling better collaboration between doctors and quicker dissemination of information.

Pickup and Delivery         

With measures like self-isolation, social distancing, and quarantine, consumers are looking at doorstep delivery services to get their needs. Whether it is ready to eat food items to raw grocery products – delivery personnel are life saviours in the current times.

eCommerce

The eCommerce sector was already flourishing even before Covid-19 struck. However, the fear of getting exposed to the virus is keeping buyers away from offline stores. As per a Quantum Metric report, online sales have shown a 52% increase YoY with 8.8% new users additions signing up for these services.

Conclusion

From the above reasons, it becomes apparent that Covid-19 has catalysed a pivotal change. It has pushed for the development, refinement, normalisation, and higher adoption of technological aspects like WFH and digital marketing. Furthermore, these changes will take root and continue to stay even after the pandemic is over.

Hence, it is safe enough to admit that we are in the midst of a new and accelerated digital revolution.