Telecom major Ericsson expects the uptake of 5G to increase because of the coronavirus pandemic, as the focus shifts to new emerging trends like remote working and telehealth. Ericsson’s virtual ‘Unboxed Office’ conference Monday saw the Swedish tech giant talking about the importance of the telecom sector in the post-COVID-19 world. Here are five trends that will have the biggest impact on the rest of 2020 and beyond as per the company.
Ericsson says the coronavirus pandemic has put the spotlight back on the telecom sector. The demand for seamless connectivity for work and leisure helped the telecommunications industry keep everyone connected during the crisis. Jasmeet Sethi, Head of ConsumerLab at Ericsson, said telecommunications will become a must-have category. “We see almost seven in ten consumers, globally, say connectivity, and especially resilient connectivity, will be very critical not just during this crisis but in future crises as well.”
Countries like India and China used drones to monitor and spray disinfectants in public areas. Ericsson says there will be a “broader acceptance” for automotive delivery drones and driverless fleets in the future. Once these autonomous and contact-free technologies start gaining high acceptance among consumers, there is a greater chance of self-driving cars and semi-autonomous technologies succeeding.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of workers to work remotely from their homes. The trend is likely to continue even after the pandemic is over. “A lot of consumers, especially white-collared workers, have started to believe remote working is going to be the new normal from here on,” Sethi said.
Telemedicine has been in existence for the past few years, but everyone embraced virtual medical appointments during the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead of going to a doctor, patients can use their smartphone to video chat with a remotely-located physician who can evaluate their symptoms and determine what next steps to take. “We see about six in ten consumers believe that online health consultations will be more popular than physical visits to the doctor because you absolutely don’t want to be waiting in a room in an environment which is kind of prone to infections,” Sethi said.
As cinemas, theme parks and tourist hotspots are closed, consumers are staying home and spending more time online. Many are going to online platforms for socialising and get out of boredom. Sethi says this could drive consumer interest in augmented and virtual reality. “If you start spending more and more time online, it is very likely that virtual goods will become much more important to you than actually physical ownership of goods,” he says. Sethi predicts the progression of the experience economy to the virtual experience economy fuelled by the pandemic.