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How has COVID has impacted Information Technology sector?

Today we are experiencing a never-seen-before situation caused by a tiny microscopic foreign killer. The world is fighting the impact of a pandemic, which has until today affected more than 25M people across the globe.COVID19 has been given the status of a ‘Black Swan’ event- a term popularized by a finance professor Nassim Talab in his book of the same name. The term is bestowed upon certain historic events which are extremely rare, have severe impact and look obvious after their occurrence.

The world has very swiftly gone digital in the past six months. Virtual meetings, lectures, webinars, parties, concerts, social gatherings and festivals have become a new norm. Undoubtedly, the situation today has impacted all sectors in one way or the other. India is the main outsourcing hub for IT activities of major firms across the globe. Following are five main ways in which the pandemic has impacted this sector-

1. Rise in virtual meets- The role played by technology in everyone’s life has increased tremendously during lockdown. Be it for binge-watching a favorite series on Netflix or for catching up with friends through a video call, the borders between real and virtual worlds have thinned. Tele-conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Air Meet etc., which were unheard of before, have become a crucial part of our work lives. Recent launch of home-grown Jio-meet is another addition to the virtual conferencing bandwagon. There is also a rise in new Tele-Health tools to enable virtual consultations for medical issues to ensure that a doctor’s support can be accessed within safe confines of your house. Efforts are on to enable people to get diagnosed, treated and operated remotely.

2. Boost for Freelance or gig industry- The lockdown situation has taught how physical meetings can be successfully replaced with virtual ones. People may not be very particularly happy about this social setting, but many companies have witnessed rise in productivity during lockdown times. As more and more people get accustomed to the remote way of working, freelancers or gig workers would see a growth in demand. Geographical barriers, demanding the employee to be physically present in the location of work, would reduce. This would open a wide range of options for the employers as well as the employees.

3. Future of VR and AI- Developers are constantly trying to make the virtual experience as close to reality as possible. Virtual reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools have enabled many events to take place smoothly in the virtual mode. Very recently, IIT Bombay created a virtual campus tour and digital 3D avatars of each student and Chief guest for a surreal e-convocation experience. Tourism industry is also using VR headsets to enabled virtual tour across the globe from your couch at home. Big events and expos are exploring different innovative ways to conduct interactive events with people online. Not just formal events, a theatrical play was released solely on Instagram after the theatre were abruptly shut. The entire play dialogues were enacted through comments on Instagram by accounts made for every character of the play.

4. Cyber security risks- As most of our work, financial transactions and social media activities are happening online, there is an increased risk of cyber attacks or data theft. Inspite of the huge danger associated with personal data misuse, Indian laws pertaining to data protection are still not refined enough to handle the probable ill-effects. Special focus needs to put on the information shared online, since cyber crime is rampant and the world generating not less than quintillion bytes of data every day.

5. Demand for analytics- Analytics as a sector has been booming since quite a long time. But COVID19 has brought more emphasis on the importance of data science. Many companies will soon be in crossroads over their future strategy and immediate next steps. Data analytics would enable companies to research and understand customer behavior and take radical steps towards new strategy for their business. Since money and time would be a very important factor for every business after COVID, it is crucial to analyze past trends and conduct research to find the possible impact of their probable plans to make a well-informed decision. Thus, data analytics would be a very crucial factor driving progress of organizations in future.

In conclusion, the world economy has definitely taken a huge hit due to the coronavirus pandemic situation, but technology has helped to soften the blow.

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