There is no doubt that the covid-19 pandemic has injured the world’s economy and brought several businesses to a halt. While the pandemic has forced some industries to pivot completely, others have managed to thrive; especially those that have adopted and accepted the oncoming digital influence.
Businesses have had to embrace digital strategies and develop a technological transformation that is set to remain a priority for the foreseeable future. Startups that have made advances into the digital realm and eased the effects of the pandemic on consumers, have flourished. As of 2020, london emerged from lockdown with 6% more new businesses as compared to the previous year. As dan higgins and nicola morini bianzino mentioned in the harvard business review, if organisations want to survive and thrive, they will need to “evaluate existing and future technologies to see if they’ll be able to deliver the innovation at scale.”
Here are some of the key trends that we predict the startup space to evolve in over the coming years:
Undoubtedly, remote working has penetrated the market in the past year to allow businesses to continue surviving with video-conferencing service zoom, rising to the top. It went hand in hand with the rise of virtual offices like virtual inc. Gaining popularity.
Remote working didn’t just make working possible, it proved to be equally productive and cost-effective, where several startups either left their office spaces or reduced in size. However, even with several companies adapting newer ways of remote working, a common issue was highlighted. As reported by techcrunch, vcs did not believe that the current tools solved remote working completely. “all the security and compliance while being remote is still largely untapped as companies are figuring out the answer,” said techstars’ cazalot.
Several opportunities have stood out for startups in this space, some being front of office collaboration and personal remote process automation.
With increase in digital working strategies, education has been at the forefront of digitization as well. Schools, students and teachers have all found ways to remain effective during the pandemic and several institutions have been recommended to complete a portion of their curriculum online, even after the pandemic. They’ve had to time manage to be able to maintain the same level of productivity in which case time management apps like rescue time have been of use.
Digital education platforms like coursera, udemy, futurelearn have also gained popularity and many edtech startups like mytutor, tech will save us and kide science have closed rounds during the lockdown.
We see corporate online education as a sector with potential growth, for example go1 has risen to the top with their focus on re-training employees. Andrew barnes ceo and co-founder of go1 recognized that “the awareness that organisations and individuals have around the importance of continuing to upskill and re-skill is really at the forefront, particularly as people get back into a new state of normal.”
Virtual and telehealth care
Several private and public health practices have started offering telehealth offerings to lower the exposure of covid-19 to patients and workers. Doctor-patient video chat has been heavily implemented and proven beneficial for both sides. Studies have even shown that 80% of primary care services can be delivered virtually and telehealth visits surged by 50% during the pandemic. Babylon health, a uk based company, caters to ten thousand ai interactions per day.
There is huge growth opportunity for startups in not just the telehealth sector but also with advancements in biotech, robotic healthcare and ai and machine learning to support diagnosis and admin work. Suki ai, for example, offers a voice-enabled and ai powered platform to automate clinical note documentation and billing enquiries.
Robotic delivery has been slow in the past years because of the willingness to adopt the technology. But with contactless delivery becoming the new norm, robotic seems to have emerged as the hottest new trend this year.
China has jumped ahead on the trend and ramped up its deployment of robots to deliver orders- delivery app like meituan dianping have started using autonomous vehicles to send groceries to customers. Startups such as manna, starship technologies and nuro are also coming in from the western world to globalize the robotic theme. With grocery e-commerce doubling in 2020, this technology’s deployment has been accelerated further to meet the growing future demands.
Seeing as the entire business world has moved online, companies are investing a lot more into online advertising, and people are using technology platforms way more due to remote work requirements. Hence, high-speed internet is very sought after, which in turn has pushed the advancement of 5g. Many telcos worldwide are on track to deliver 5g services, with verizon announcing the huge expansion of its 5g network that aims to reach more than 200 million people. There are several exciting areas emerging within this sector that startups have started to explore. Here are some to name a few:
Movandi are working to help 5g transfer data at greater distances
Novalume help municipalities manager their public lightning network and smart city data through sensors
Nido robotics, a spanish company will be using drones to explore the seafloor where 5g networks can help the drones to navigate better
Seadronix from south korea use 5g to help power autonomous ships
As you can see, covid has only encouraged forward thinking and digital advancement. Several of the above mentioned trends have already taken off in the last year and will continue growing tremendously in the coming years. For some businesses, it’s only just the beginning and we’re excited to see what transpires next.
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