Not many can argue that life post COVID-19 will not be the same. Many aspects of our lives will change; some because the situation demands it and others by lessons learned throughout the ordeal. The lockdowns and quarantine revealed weaknesses and strengths of the world we live in. In this blog post, I plan to focus on some of the expected effects of the Corona crisis on the business world, and in particular on the technology end of it, and will at the end reflect on the ICT sector in Jordan.
Indisputably, we are up against a challenging and difficult year. All indicators and global financial reports confirm that the World will face the worst recession in history. Loss of revenues will force many businesses to downsize while others will be unable to withstand the pressure and will be obliged to shut down. Though technology is a key element in keeping businesses afloat, with continuity and survival being the top priority, it is inevitable that many businesses will opt to postpone or cancel non-essential scheduled projects to save and survive.
But it is not all bad news, once the economy begins to recover from the recession, technology providers will be the biggest beneficiaries of all. One of most important outcomes of COVID-19 was that technology proved to be instrumental in enabling the economy to continue to function, even if at a slower pace, and without it life would have simply come to a halt. Many businesses were able to resume work from home. Critical systems at banks, such as credit card transactions, money transfers, LC and LG issuance, continued to serve customers virtually and uninterrupted during the lockdown. Online and distant Learning enabled school and college students to resume their education remotely. Company employees worked from home and ironically many claimed they were more productive at home than in offices.
Thus, I would confidently predict that once the world comes out of the economic shock it has fallen into, technology providers will see the biggest opportunity in their history and will witness an astronomical growth in their businesses. COVID-19 did not only prove that technology can offer a workable and practical substitute to an on-premise environment, but it also proved that it is cost effective, efficient, accurate and possibly an easier way for doing business. Citizens who learned to use technology in the lockdown, found it more convenient to transact online than commuting to seek services. A new online culture appeared and became visible, acceptable and desirable.
This will inevitably increase with time and will put pressure on governments and businesses to transform their services to become digitally and remotely available. And for that, investment in technology tools will become a top priority. And as we see more and more services go digital and remote, the IT infrastructure will be under pressure to perform and to withstand an ever-increasing load. So, a revamp and upgrade of the infrastructure will be become necessary.
Demand for faster servers, larger storages, higher speed networks to move functionality from physical to virtual will increase. This will present the technology providers with the opportunity to expand and grow their operations. With the influx of huge volumes of data, technologies like Big Data Analytics, Cloud Computing, Open Platform API’s and Artificial Intelligence will see unprecedented levels of demand.
And, with more transactions out in virtual space, Security will become a nightmare for businesses. Professional hackers and intruders will increase their attacks and exploit the opportunity. Thus, Security Solutions will be most needed to secure critical data and protect confidentiality and privacy. So, with this increase in demand banks, government agencies and enterprises will be obliged to give technology a larger share of their annual budgets than they ever had. I firmly believe that the next decade will see the biggest rise of the century in technological inventions in the ICT field.
As for the ICT sector in Jordan, and like everywhere else, it is required to take all necessary measures to maintain existence and strength, protect its human and financial investment, cut all unnecessary cost, and prepare for the next phase. The main feature of this next phase is to build knowledge in the new technologies, train and certify resources, develop local IP, and get ready for what I think will likely become the Golden Age of technology. We at STS are planning to do just that.
Co-Founder and CEO