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The Pandemic Has Accelerated Digital Transformation: Will the Momentum Continue Post-COVID?

As a result of the pandemic, companies across industries are racing against the clock to implement digital tools to tide over the crisis. While this race towards digital transformation is a welcome one, the question remains which of these solutions will be in use event post-COVID. 

Digital transformation initiatives require significant time, resource, and monetary investmentsThe pandemic has forced even small and medium players to fork these out or risk getting buried in the rubble.  

We examine how a select few sectors are facing this crisis and how successful they have been. 

Healthcare is Embracing Virtual Solutions 

Telemedicine, often seen as a niche service targeted towards rural users is now seeing a surge in usage across demographics. Teleconsultation in India is seeing a growth of 100% week-on-week since the pandemic began. Healthcare advisory apps like Practo have also seen a 50% jump in the number of doctors signing up on the platform.  

In India, Teleconsultation guidelines were relaxed due to the pandemic, now allowing doctors to prescribe medicines over the internet.  

But will telemedicine continue to be used at high level post COVID-19? 

The response seems to be very positive according to the Telehealth20: Virtual Series. “96% of the series’ participants believe that the role of telemedicine will continue to grow even post-pandemic.”

Contactless Retail is Gaining Traction 

The retail sector has always been at the forefront of adopting digital transformation tools. The high penetration of eCommerce stores and the various features they come with have been garnering significant consumer interest.  

A recent study found that 25% of surveyed retailers added an eCommerce sales channel. Keeping in mind investments required to launch an eCommerce store, this is indeed a bold moveThis is a winning strategy for retailers who have cash reserves to fight through the pandemic and want to thrive in a post-COVID-19 world. 

But the digital offering most hyped-up for retail is the adoption of AR & VR. 

AR/VR-powered tools help retailers offer their loyal consumers with a more immersive and engaging experience than what an online store can offer.  

While this renewed interest in V-commerce seems like a gimmick for the consumer, we also see many positive signs pointing to long-term adoption by retailers. Alibaba’s much-hyped Buy+ virtual mall, still in development since 2016, is proof that AR/VR still has a long way to go. 

We have recognized AR/VR as yet to cross the POC stage and reach widespread adoption. Instead, in-store solutions like self-checkout, automatic stock replenishment, and mobile navigation are expected to gain huge traction in the post-COVID scenario. The success of Amazon Go is proof that technologypowered stores are the future of retail shopping. 

Media & Entertainment Sees More Virtual Offerings 

Marketing was the first industry to feel the squeeze of the pandemic. Companies raced to cut their marketing budgets and this in turn caused a ripple effect of sorts throughout the industry.  

Companies and agencies are changing how marketing is being done from the ground up. 

Virtual events, virtually unheard of before the pandemic, have become all the rage. Pre-COVID, during live events, hosts were spinning off a parallel channel where virtual participants could still take part and feel a part of the conversation. 

Conferences, exhibitions, and industry trade shows have taken to the virtual route in a big way. Tech giants like Samsung & Sony, among others, are also embracing live streaming of product launches in a big way. 

So, will virtual events replace “real” events post-COVID? 

“Not entirely”, analysts think. Part of the appeal of holding trade shows is the sensory nature of them. Nothing can replace being amidst the crowd and getting a feel for the tech. However, this has not stopped the virtual events industry from blossoming.  

It is not just the pandemic; people are concerned about the carbon tax they have to pay for hosting and attending real events. This has led to a concerted industries-wide push to encourage virtual events wherever they are possible.  

The $10.8MM funding that virtual events startup Run The World received in its most recent funding round is proof of this. Our analysis of job families also reveals a lot of emerging talent in technologies that are the crux of virtual events.  

If the funding and talent is there, the virtual events industry will continue to grow.  

Capture the Right Opportunities 

Across all industries, we have been continuously monitoring solutions and initiatives that have been gaining huge traction among enterprises. Service providers need to seize the opportunities and take advantage of this huge surge in demand and deliver innovative niche solutions. 

A few niche solutions that service providers have delivered include Tech Mahindra’s Remote Patient Monitoring SolutionOptumera™ by TCS for digital merchandising, and Airmeet, a virtual events platform. 

Draup for Sales tracks business intentions and digital themes of accounts across 30+ industries. Our signals help service providers identify the right opportunities to seize, especially in a disruptive and dynamic scenario like the ongoing pandemic.