How the Tech Industry Could Benefit from Coronavirus

Many businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Necessary shelter-in-place orders have had dramatic effects on industries like food, hospitality and transportation, leaving these industries damaged and unsure about the future. Similarly, the tech industry has also been negatively affected by coronavirus. But in surprising other ways, some believe that the pandemic and its consequences could actually benefit tech companies in the long run. 

Coronavirus’ Negative Effects on Tech Companies

When coronavirus began spreading in China, tech companies like Apple and Microsoft began to feel the effects of the pandemic early on. These companies depended on factories overseas to make their products that their software would be installed on. Without those factories and potential customers abroad, these tech giants worried about the effects of the coronavirus on their profits. 

Companies like Airbnb and Uber are facing similar repercussions from coronavirus as their customers can no longer travel or try to safely social distance to protect their health. 

Additionally, tech conferences around the world were canceled out of growing concern for coronavirus. F8 Developers Conference, an event put on by Facebook, and Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest phone show, were both canceled. Organizers wanted to avoid hosting large events with international participants as this could worsen the spread of the disease. With the loss of such conferences, the tech industry loses out on sharing new tech and inspiring potential innovations for the year. 

The Upside of This Pandemic for the Tech Industry 

With many required to shelter in place and work from home, tech companies are seeing a dramatic increase in the usage of their products. Amazon has had to hire 75,000 more workers to meet demands of online shoppers. Facebook said that messaging and video calling traffic on their platforms has “exploded.” And of course, this goes for other communication platforms like Zoom and Slack, which have become essential for not only businesses, but schools holding virtual lessons as well. 

Also, the use of technology to help facilitate daily life during a pandemic applies to those working in the medical field. Because hospitals are overwhelmed with so many coronavirus patients, there has been a shift towards remote monitoring of Covid-19 patients experiencing mild symptoms. This creates a new market for tech companies as hospitals “[ramp] up use of video and phone consults” in addition to remote monitoring tools like “software devices designed to monitor blood pressure, temperature and respiration.” Having these more sophisticated technological resources will be crucial if the pandemic worsens. 

Some speculate whether or not this increasing reliance on tech could lead to an increased investment in smart city technology to help control the spread of coronavirus. This has already been seen in countries like South Korea and China, which respectively used a smartphone app and drones to mitigate the fast-traveling virus. Governments may now be more inclined to put such solutions into effect after seeing the consequences of coronavirus in their own communities and those across the world. 

Overall, like many things in the world right now, we’ll only be able to see how much the tech industry is affected by coronavirus in the future. Whether or not the positive effects of coronavirus outweigh the negative effects, we’ll only be able to tell with time.