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Coronavirus has brought misery to people but respite and glory to tech industry

Coronavirus and COVID-19 have brought misery across the world but to the tech industry, it seems to be benefitting in surprising ways.

twitter-logoAnkita Chakravarti | March 27, 2020 | Updated 13:54 IST
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Representational Image

Highlights

  • The covid-19 pandemic has sparked lockdowns across the world.
  • The crisis is helping the tech industry regain space it lost earlier and has made tech companies important.
  • With people inside homes, tech companies are helping governments in keeping the life going.

Coronavirus is bad. Very Bad. But for the global tech industry, it's a little less bad. In fact, you can argue that it is not bad at all for the tech industry. The Tech industry is thriving, it is looking at new windows of opportunities that are opening even as roads close and people shut doors in their homes.

See the bigger picture. Social media giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter among others have become more sought after than ever now. Earlier, these social media apps were looked upon as a mere source of entertainment but now due to the coronavirus pandemic that the world is battling, these applications have become the primary mode of communication. Apart from personal communication, it is now being used for sharing news and it has proven to be an important tool even for governments that want to reach out to people.

Here are some examples. Recently, the US government knocked on the doors of Google to create a screening website that would help people get tested for COVID-19. The US government is also talking to Apple, Facebook, and Google in a bid to create a mechanism where the phones can be used to track COVID-19 infections and patients. The Indian government, meanwhile, has collaborated with Google to share basic information about the coronavirus to people in the country.

WhatsApp is now being used by the World Health Organization to promote accurate information about the novel coronavirus and Covid-19. A WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub has been created that will help in delivering official information on topics such as how to protect oneself from infection, necessary travel advice, and debunking Coronavirus myths.

And it is not just big companies.

A video conferencing company, Zoom Video Communications has become a household name. Now that most working professionals across the globe have been asked to work from home, the Zoom video conferencing app is in high demand. Recode journalist Kara Swisher in one of her articles revealed that "Zoom is now worth more than four US-based airlines combined - United, Delta, American, and JetBlue - with a market cap of just above $44 billion". Zoom's share price in the market has gone up from $62 to $160 in a year.

Every aspect of life now gets a slice of tech. Entertainment? Now that most people are self-quarantining, there is obviously a limited scope for entertainment. People cannot go out for walks or parties or even long drives to ease their nerves, so the one big source of entertainment now are either the channels on the TV or the streaming apps Netflix, Amazon apps among others.

Shopping? Tech comes to the rescue again. In India, when the entire nation is on a 21-day lockdown, many people are relying on online supermarkets like BigBasket, Grofers, Amazon and Flipkart for their basic grocery items. The number of orders have gone up by many folds and this has almost made it difficult for the e-sellers to deliver their products on time.

While the number of users for the tech industry go up - so much so that Facebook is struggling to under load - there are some other ways too that are helpful to the tech industry. Given that the tech companies are some of the richest companies in the world, they are donating money and masks to governments to earn some goodwill, something that they badly needed after the fiasco over privacy, data security and dodgy tax practices in the last 10 years.

In a way, the tech industry has been able to use this crisis to show to the world and the governments that not only the tech companies vital to the way the world works and lives, they are also good citizens of the world, doing their bit in the time of crisis. We don't yet know for how long Covid-19 pandemic is going to last, but one thing we are sure right now is that the tech industry is going to emerge stronger from it, not only because it will prove its worth through its products and services but also because the pandemic gives it an opportunity to take the center stage in the world, play messiah and get pally with the governments. So far, the tech industry is seizing the opportunity enthusiastically.

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