Over the past few years, there has been a rising shift to remote work and work from home policies. This has been exaggerated due to Covid-19 in particular. Many countries have implemented work from home regulations for non-essential work. In India, about 75% of industry workforce may continue to work from outside office through 2021. This short term shift has been witnessed across the world straining the telecom infrastructure globally. Given the fast spread of Covid-19 combined with a rise in countries imposing constraints on travel, lockdowns, and work policies, there has been a shift to people spending more time at home resulting in higher usage of data. The increase in network bandwidth requirements from the millions of employees as well as consumers driving bandwidth requirements due to Stay at Home regulations has significantly impacted the Telecom sector too. Most companies have already implemented business continuity plans by work from home and remote work policies. However, those plans may have issues addressing the fast-moving and variables of an outbreak like COVID-19 which can limit the policy implementation. Though this can create potential issues, companies have been forced to implement these policies due to government regulations. Companies have already started implementing network connectivity and telecom business solutions to end users. Thus, service providers are needed to enhance home-based communication and collaboration capability through more reliable solutions.
The Covid-19 pandemic has created significant economic catastrophe and change in governmental policies for consumers and enterprises globally. The Covid-19 pandemic has showcased that telecom infrastructure is critically essential as well as showcasing the outdated nature of most networks. Also telecommunications services during the lockdown have enabled many to work remotely from home as well as help institute studying and shopping capabilities as well as improve access to entertainment and healthcare. Governments and policy drivers are reconsidering regulations surrounding telecom networks, to both improve network bandwidth and also enhance cybersecurity. Telecom companies are focused on ensuring that there is adequate network capacity not just at peak times but throughout the day as the change in static traffic has increased exponentially due to Work from Home option. With the potential shift of atleast a part of the workforce to remote work/work from home in the mid to long term, there is a vital need for the telecom networks to be able to handle peak traffic driven by this demand. The ongoing shift to Work from Home policies will raise the demand for networking infrastructure and connectivity, as enterprises have never needed to collaborate and communicate digitally before. However, the peak demand could overwhelm the connectivity requirement, especially at peak times. Thus, the network overwhelming can create issues in the short term. Telecom companies, internet service providers, and software and application providers will be more integral in the enterprise sector than ever before. At the same time, the core services offered by these companies will need innovation for better performance, reliability, and customer service. This combined with the implementation of 5G technology has resulted in a need to overhaul the telecom infrastructure.
Investment into new Networking Technologies/5G
The Covid-19 pandemic has showcased the need for improvements to the network in order to keep up with rising demand, especially for increased bandwidth to handle the work from home model as well as post the pandemic when offices start opening back up. Lately, there has been a significant surge in data traffic due to Work from Home policies as well as rising smartphone and computing penetration. The deployment of 5G is expected to further add to this demand. This rise in data requirements have led to consumers focusing on improved speed and quality experience on their networks. To satisfy customer’s requirements, telecom networks have to become more agile and capable. Fiber Deployment is a major way to achieve this as fiiber allows services that require high speed, ultra-low latency and limitless bandwidth. Moreover, implementation of fiber networks can make the telecom network more secure due to its sensor-driven disaggregated architecture. Moreover companies in the fiber network realm are focusing on exploratory means to increase fiber deployment at the backhaul and across the last mile applications. The emergence of 5G with the deployment of small cells and penetration of new age technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and IoT across enterprises further increase the need for fiber networks. Moreover, the surge in data usage due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has led to a shift in data traffic patterns and bandwidth requirements. This has made the case for improving network infrastructure by deploying fiber or 5G Technology.
However 5G deployment has been hindered by Covid-19 as rollouts in 2020 were delayed by government regulations due to Covid-19. However, the rollout is set to be back to pre Covid-19 levels in 2021 and only temporarily being halted in 2020. A third wave of stay-at-home orders could impact 5G rollouts. However a number of tower companies in are looking to get the 5G implementation process to pre Covid-19 levels showcasing that while there was a pause in 5G rollouts, it was only temporary and pushing back 5G implementation by a year only. Despite the rollout slowdown, however 5G has only showcased the need for improved data bandwidth through the deployment of 5G. While a number of countries are focusing on enhancing their network through deployment of 5G and fiber technology, some such as Greece’s public sector telecommunications infrastructure are looking for a more comprehensive overhaul. A number of African countries similarly have looked to overhaul their telecom network despite the slowdown due to Covid-19. Covid-19 in the long term however is going to have a positive impact on the deployment of 5G and fiber connectivity due to the rising need from various application areas ranging from productivity to entertainment solutions.
Explosion of Video Collaboration Platforms
One of the prominent technologies that has been driven by the Work from Home and Remote working growth due to Covid-19 has been Video Collaboration Platform adoption. The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted and derailed a large number of industries. The pandemic has also led to some sectors that are struggling to survive. However others are seeing a surge in demand driven specifically as a result of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The video conferencing industry is one of the markets being significantly driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing employees who have been forced to work from home to communicate and collaborate remotely with colleagues and clients. This has allowed companies, both large enterprises and start-ups, to capture this market. One of the success stories of the video collaboration industry in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic is Zoom, a formerly niche video communications company which found itself adopted not only by enterprises the world over for both enterprise and personal consumer applications. Solutions such as FaceTime and WhatsApp are widely utilized video calling tools in the consumer market today. However, there is a significant separation between consumer video calling tools and enterprise video calling tools which Zoom has been able to collate in a Covid-19 impacted world.
As remote workforce and Work from Home Policies drives the need for video conferencing continue to grow in the enterprise sector, video quality improvement comes to the forefront of the industry. Employees with the implementation of Work from Home Policies need to connect and collaborate with their colleagues and customers through a method that can simulate in-person interactions. Video quality is key to achieving that and has become a primary improvement area in video collaboration tools along with reliability in the connection. In the Future, HD video and audio will become the industry standard for video conferencing tools driven by consumer demand and improved network bandwidth. However UHD (ultra-high-definition) and 4K video meetings, will continue to be deployed as computer and mobile displays improve along with improved data services with the implementation of 5G Infrastructure. By 2024, the video conferencing industry is projected will be worth $20 billion. The impact of video conferencing especially on remote work from home policies has been immense as the solution provides enhanced communication and collaboration capability. The implementation of video collaboration solutions driven by Work from Home Policies have significantly transformed the enterprise workforce productivity and have showcased the potential of implementing remote work even post the Covid-19 pandemic. The video conferencing is not just limited to within a company. Intercompany, especially with clients or suppliers, is also a market of focus for video companies. Productivity features like transcription, video clipping, file sharing, translation, and integrations with productivity apps is set to rise significantly in video conferencing solutions. In addition to the rising need for security and privacy, integration of these productivity solutions remain at the forefront of technological innovation in the work from home market.
Rise of Virtual Data Rooms and File Sharing Solutions
Driven by the workforce shift from the desktop to shared collaborative spaces, the adoption of virtual data rooms and collaboration software solutions. This has made the files a lot less individual and a lot more collaborative. Adoption of collaborative workspaces such as Zoom, Teams and Slack will lead to more demand for these collaborative file sharing solutions. This collaborative file sharing is driven by real-time communication, file exchange and editing solutions that enable continuous updates to files. This has transformed the idea of a file being a singular static and discrete file where changes are done by a single author and documented through iterative versions to a more collaborative continuously updated file. Companies are using collaborative workspaces as their primary hub for employee communication and coordination during Covid-19 pandemic. A significant share of these companies will continue to use these tools post the lifting of Work from Home Policies especially in a more global environment. These companies will benefit from these cloud-based tools that will incorporate more collaborative document editing and data analysis tools. The improved data discovery and indexing allowed by collaborative file sharing platforms are a major driving factors as well. This is especially prevalent in the enterprise market where enterprise file synchronization and sharing solutions have witnessed significant adoption. These solutions include a number of on-premises or cloud-based capabilities that allow consumers and employees to synchronize and share documents, photos, videos, and files across multiple devices. File sharing through these virtual data rooms and file sharing platforms can be done internally within a company as well as externally with partners and customers. This file sharing is not just limited to desktop but can also be done on smartphone devices using data sharing among mobile applications. These collaborative sharing solutions are designed to address the collaboration issues faced by large enterprises during Covid-19’s Work from Home scenarios.
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven many organizations to digitally transform their workplaces and training to operate effectively. Companies have increasingly relied on advanced technologies, such as cloud, AI, and IoT, to transform their business model by fast-tracking digital solution deployment. Even companies that have been largely hesitant to the concept of a distributed workforce prior to the Covid-19 pandemic have been forced to allow Work from home policies so that work can still be accomplished while taking measures to limit the spread of Covid-19. The growth of the digital and mobile workforce among enterprises have become the driving forces behind the adoption of collaborative file sharing and virtual data room solutions. Since the turn of the century Virtual Data Rooms (VDRs) have become one of the fastest growing markets for computing software. They have uncovered all the roadblocks in current file sharing solutions by bringing people together all over the world through collaborative solutions. This market has been particularly driven by the impact of Covid-19. Virtual Data Rooms have transformed the transaction process in today’s business environment. Deployment of cloud based solutions allow users to get instant access to files from any location, and on any device. Secure data management and storage saves a large amount of time and money. Virtual Data Rooms have evolved to become a tool that allow coordination of an entire deal and have been expanded from just due diligence tools. While Virtual Data Room is largely used for Mergers & Acquisition activity, they have been gaining adoption for loan syndication, private equity, and venture capital across many different industries. Covid-19 is impacting the adoption of virtual data rooms and other file sharing platforms globally.
New Modes of Entertainment
Cvoid-19 has had a significant impact on the means of entertainment being witnessed by people. There has been a significant shift towards streaming and OTT services even prior to Covid-19 that has been exacerbated by Covid-19 and the subsequent implementation of Work from Home Polices. The lockdowns implemented as a result of Covid-19 has led to people stuck at home without much in terms of entertainment. People are not just working from home, but spending their complete time at home where they are learning new skills and entertaining themselves through a plethora of online content. This includes OTT platforms, video hosting websites like YouTube as well as productivity improvement tools such as utilizing video conferencing tools and software for hosting webinars and internal meetings. These solutions have transformed the way consumers and employees function. Consumers in U.S for example spent 25% of their TV time streaming content. This number jumps up significantly to over 60% for People under 24 years of age according to Nielsen. This combined with total entertainment time per day jumping up over 75%, the demand for OTT and streaming services has risen dramatically. The number of streaming services that consumers are subscribing to has jumped to nearly three in U.S from just one streaming service prior to Covid-19 lockdowns. According to the Nielsen survey, just 2% of adults are likely to reduce the number of paid services they subscribe to during Q2 to Q4 2020, while 25% have added a service in the Q2 2020. This number is even more prevalent in developing nations such as India where the penetration of streaming services among consumers continues to rise significantly. There is growing number of new streaming platforms coming to the market and the demand for both original and legacy content, particularly in regional languages, is growing daily. The evolution of the streaming market in the short to long term is not just relevant to content creators but across the entertainment platform as well as consumers. These trends should particularly be relevant for media owners seeking to license programming as this can affect their revenue generation from streaming due to content dilution. Advertisers and brands who focus on connecting products and services with engaged consumers through in-content brand placements and advertising on OTT platforms could also have an impact on their bottom line due to the change in streaming services. This can potentially create a situation similar to cable TV where cord cutting could become a significant issue as consumers resort to ending subscription services or minimizing subscriptions due to dilution of content available on various platforms.
On average, globally consumers spend an average of 1 hour per day on online video. This has increased drastically during the Covid-19 pandemic to more than 4 hours per day, over four times an increase on pre pandemic viewing. In its annual study into UK media habits, in 2020 the BBC found that adults spent 40% of their time in front of a screen, on average. Screen time overall was up 31% on the pre pandemic time in 2019. Streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, were watched for one hour 11 minutes per day. In 2020, 12 million people in the UK joined a service they hadn't used previously. Three million of these streaming service viewers had never subscribed to any streaming service before the Covid-19 pandemic. This is becoming more prevalent in developing nations. In India for example, the average viewing is at 5.27 hours per day. Chinese consumers spent nearly two hours a day watching videos online. In addition to this, in the post-Covid-19 pandemic world, new local OTT platforms will continue to grow as the interest generated in regional language content will drive the demand. Further, the increased accessibility to the internet and smartphones across developing economies will change the strategy being utilized by content providers. Asia has been a major proponent of OTT Content growth as the demand for regional content on OTT solutions has driven the development and adoption of local streaming across all countries. Even after the Covid-19 pandemic, the psychological overhang from the virus might mean it would take some time for consumers to shift back to external consumption models such as theatres. The recovery in demand for outdoor Media and Entertainment will lag behind other external models such as Retail and Healthcare that will likely be relatively less impacted. This shift can create opportunities through innovation and outreach solutions where consumers turn to new models such as virtual live events and new delivery models for consumers alongside streaming solutions.
Looking Beyond Enterprise and Entertainment – Education and Healthcare
The shift in recovery model is not just limited to Data Sharing, Video Collaboration and Calling and Streaming services. It is finding applications in a number of industries ranging from gaming, particularly online gaming, e-learning, medical services including home healthcare and retail/e-commerce among others. The education sector has been a major exponent of this growth. With schools being shut down across the globe, schools and colleges have looked at alternative ways to ensure the students are educated and massive 1.2 billion students have been affected by the school shutdowns. The major method being following is the institution of online classes and e-learning. This prevalence of e-learning has not just been limited to schools. Edtech platforms across the world have launched new e-learning platforms in a market which has witnessed significant demand driven by work from home and lockdown policies. On demand digital education programs, especially from MOOC platforms, have become increasingly common place among both students as well as working professionals. With lockdowns extending through 2021 in a number of countries along with schools being shutdown, the need for online learning platforms will also continue to grow. A number of countries such as India, U.S, Canada and U.K have also looked at providing computers from the school, especially for underprivileged children to ensure that their education does not suffer. This has driven new demand in the Computing segment of the ICT industry consequently as well. A number of schools are forming unique partnerships that enhance not just digital learning but new learning models. For example the Los Angeles Unified School District and PBS SoCal/KCET partnered to offer local educational broadcasts, with separate channels focused on different ages, and a range of digital options for education. Media firms like the BBC are also powering virtual and online learning. For instance Bitesize Daily, launched by the BBC on April 20th 2020, is offering 14 weeks of curriculum-based learning for children across the UK with curriculum taugh by celebrities such as leading Manchester City footballer Sergio Aguero. While the demand may curtail post the reopening of schools, these online learning platforms will continue to significantly remain in the forefront of the Education sector for both Students and Working Professionals.
The healthcare sector is another area which is witnessing significant changes in operation due to Covid-19. One of the most significant changes due to Covid-19 has been the digital transformation of the healthcare sector. Digital healthcare companies have consistently focused on maximizing patient care and improving patient service. Doing this requires establishing and maintaining customer trust by improving convenience, ensuring consistent and timely delivery of services and improving security for Patient health information and other medical data. Increasingly, digital healthcare providers have focused on improving EMR storage where clinicians can capture data through web-based applications from these firms. Apart from this ambulatory and hospital services providers rely on these digital EMR applications to maximize patient care. This has been driven by the need for improved patient care as well as a more flexible and risk-taking mindset requirement. Telemedicine, AI-enabled medical devices, and blockchain EMR solutions are a few major examples of digital transformation deployment in the healthcare sector which are completely remodelling communication with medical professionals. According to a recent survey by Adobe and Eon Consultancy, only 7% of Healthcare facilities had gone digital. This is significantly lower than the 15% average in other industries. However over the mid to long term with improved security in these digital solutions, there will be a significant transformation in healthcare sector. One of these technologies transforming the medical industry is the home healthcare demand.
Home care is gaining traction as a result of the significant increase in transmission of COVID 19 pandemic. A strict regime defined by healthcare experts needs to be followed at home in home healthcare applications. With a lot of hospitals operating at capacity and the potential of spreading Covid-19 due to overcrowding in hospitals, home healthcare has come to the forefront as an alternative. Although insurance coverage is limited in most countries for home healthcare, there is a shift in attitude due to the Covid-19 pandemic which could have long term implications in insurance and home healthcare adoption. The home healthcare industry has been driven as a result of Covid-19 driving its awareness across the globe as it helps treat those with mild Covid-19 symptoms at home itself, with professional medical help. The pandemic has enhanced the adoption of home healthcare and has changed the way the sector functions. The standard operating procedures and the services offered have also changed to be more in line with consumer demand. Even for patients who are suffering mild diseases unrelated to Covid-19 home healthcare is an option. Psychiatric/psychological services in particular have witnessed tremendous demand especially with the large number of lockdowns as well as work from home policies. Covid-19 has enhanced the market for home healthcare providers. Thee providers are focused on providing both at-home healthcare and remote healthcare to consumers, as well as partnering with corporates for company backed healthcare programs as well. This rise of home healthcare will continue to grow in the long term period. The work from home policies and lockdowns imposed due to Covid-19 will have long term impact not just in the healthcare sector but across a number of industries.
The implementation of Work from Home Policies and Lockdowns have created new market opportunities across a number of industries. These range from expansion in adoption of Video Collaboration and Streaming services as well as investment into new networking technologies particularly 5G. Apart from this, new opportunities have emerged in education, healthcare, gaming and enterprise sectors for ensuring productivity and demand continues even among lockdown conditions. However, this growth will not be limited to Covid-19 period only. The growth will continue post the Covid-19 period in both the short term and long term. The implementation of work from home policies and lockdown measures will have permanent effects on a number of sectors, not just in the entertainment, ICT and enterprise industries but also in other related industries.
Mr. Venkat Reddy
Email: [email protected]
Contact Sales: +1-970-236-3677
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