James McCann, CEO and Co-founder, ClearStory International discusses the tech trends that have emerged as a result of Covid-19.

Since the coronavirus first emerged over 3 million globally have been infected, causing a trifecta of health, social and economic crises which governments have struggled to respond to and society, to understand. The commercial reality for businesses is relative to a tsunami, a giant wave of economic uncertainty has hit businesses suddenly, and companies are left to pick up the pieces with some sadly facing financial ruin.

The dynamic has changed, business has changed, supply and demand are suddenly unpredictable. The bottom line of millions of businesses has been decimated, long standing companies have temporarily or permanently shut shop with millions of jobs lost or furloughed. For those that remain, it is largely about survival and adapting to this new reality.

Globally, we discovered that interest in Remote Working and Video Calling had surged to 14,000% and 17,500%, respectively on average from relatively low positions.

As a way of assisting businesses of all shapes and sizes, we carried out a preliminary report on what areas of innovation are most of interest, based on findings across 4 countries. We researched numerous industries from the first mention of COVID-19 to 5th April when most of the world was on lockdown. The four countries we selected were Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, and Ireland.

In some cases what we found was not a surprise but the volume of the surge effect was significant. Globally, we discovered that interest in Remote Working and Video Calling had surged to 14,000% and 17,500%, respectively on average from relatively low positions. Interest quickly boomed in March as lockdowns came into effect cross-country and mentions of companies and apps linked to specific sectors received unprecedented attention, good and bad.

These two tech trends led across the board except in Hong Kong where E-commerce and Bio/MedTech were leading trends. This is partially due to the fact that HK has not suffered the same type of strict lockdown conditions as elsewhere in the world meaning media focus has largely shifted to other market impacts.

Another finding was the fluctuation in interest in the gig economy which saw an increase in coverage of 1,500% globally but has largely slipped in recent weeks except in the UK (up 3,300%) where debate continues as it is a key underliner of the wider economy, especially in London.

As a whole, E-commerce has largely remained stagnant compared to other trends, recording an average increase of coverage of 261% globally, however, it did start from a much higher base than the other topics. 

Despite these key trends, virtual conferencing and events have not turned into the topic of interest many had hoped for based on volume of coverage. Despite some high profile pivots by some key organisers, the E-learning/Remote Teaching revolution doesn’t appear to have taken hold, with coverage of the trend focusing largely on news announcements of school and university closures being quickly reversed.

Another surprising finding surrounds E-commerce. As a whole, E-commerce has largely remained stagnant compared to other trends, recording an average increase of coverage of 261% globally, however, it did start from a much higher base than the other topics.

Our research poses many questions, including “will remote working and video conferencing disappear back to obscurity once things return to normal, or will the new normal be centred around these technologies? How will the conversation around tech trends evolve and how will media coverage continue to be impacted by COVID-19 past the crisis? Nobody knows.

We hope to provide an in-depth analysis and understanding of these questions in December when we publish our full findings. In the meantime, you can find a copy of our preliminary report here.

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