Are we ready to go 100% virtual?
Angelica A.
May 27, 2020
  |  

Are we ready to go 100% virtual?

Angelica A.
May 27, 2020
  |  

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Everything changed for us recently. The new coronavirus came around, and we needed to switch many of our routines. How we work and interact, where and how we shop are all part of that list. Especially how we tend to take care of our medical needs! Are we ready to go 100% virtual, though? We’re taking a look at changes across tech, health care, and real estate to give that answer a try. 

Thriving commerces in tech

Omdia, a global tech research company with 400+ analysts covering “150 markets and thousands of technology, media, and telecommunications companies,” sheds light on how tech is moving in recent times. And one of their reports focuses on eSports as “seeing an uptake in viewership.” So, we’ll start with that for now. 

eSports

As a research company, Omdia already sees a potential boom for advertising as more eSport tournaments take place online. Virtual Grand Prix events are happening. Those are online motor racing circuits in which celebrity drivers now compete. And they bear the advantage of space for trackside ads.

Omdia had already predicted a 15% drop in advertisement via regular TV media. They furthermore calculated 1.5 to 2 years for a full recovery. So, it’s good news for marketing to see some spikes via other virtual means. 

The downside to this kind of online event is “potentially compromised connectivity and the greater risk of cheating,” says Omnia. Yet, even those traits seem like a small price to pay for their audiences right now. That’s most likely the case as they face the only alternative of having no eSports at all. Contrary to demotivating viewers, some online competitions are even breaking records.

If you’re wondering what the number of viewers can be to these, this same source reports 1.7 million streams for the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix. That event is the one that replaced the canceled Bahrain Grand Prix, for example. And that’s just one competition out of many. Numbers start adding up quite quickly, right?

Local News Sites

If you’re considering advertising, though, also take into account there are enormous jumps in traffic for local news sites. That’s happening as people want to find out more about how their immediate surroundings are handling the pandemic. 

The leading brands for news, however, which include the New York Times that reports on this data, say that news sites such as theirs, CBNC, and the Washington Post also grew in their amount of readership. That figure tracked at more than 50% as of this crisis’ start.

Streaming

Movies and TV show streaming is also on the rise with this lockdown, especially over platforms such as Netflix. The reasons are quite clear with people forced to spend more time at home. 

Yet, new to this respect is the shift from cell phone screens to computers. Mobile tech was on the rise as human mobility was a natural way to live. However, under our current confinement, people have largely turned over to bigger screens. 

Working from home

Remote work abilities are maxing out since day 1. So, to a certain degree, people can justifiably be fed up with working from home by the time a vaccine comes around. 

It’ll also be true that everyone will have had much more experience with Zoom video conferences. That’s also the case with subject-specific chats via Slack, or whatever remote job tools they’ve needed to face this confinement while staying productive. By the beginning of April alone, MIT Tech Review had already published how “more people started using the video-conferencing software Zoom in the first two months of 2020 than in all of 2019.” 

In answering whether we’re ready to go 100% virtual, chances are we keep what works well and discard what’s more troublesome about remote work by the time confinement is no longer mandatory. Agility can surely count as a differentiating factor in that respect. 

Another likely fact is that the words “remote position” will be far less scary for employers and team members than before this pandemic hit us. 

What’s likely to happen with physical office environments?

With so much time spent in social distancing, live team meetings and group brainstorming will be more appreciated than the normalcy with which they were taking place before this crisis. When physical office spaces become a safer reality, they’ll most likely be more about socializing. 

Cafeterias, snack bars, and all the perks used to attract team members to great places to work will likely be of more frequent use. They can well be more sought-after and simply more appreciated. In that sense, green areas, open spaces, places for team grouping, and more will likely be of higher value as more demand starts kicking in. 

Tenant liquidity as a determining factor

Deloitte, the provider worldwide of a wide range of financial and consulting services, issued a document of guidance for real estate executives titled Understanding COVID-19’s impact on the real estate sector

In the above, the server of 4 out of 5 Fortune Global 500® companies focuses a bit on the sub-sectors in hospitality, retail, and development. They see them as those that will “face more immediate impacts.” Especially when compared to non-traditional owners, like cell towers and others. And we’re seeing that happening. However, Forbes considers them to be part of the ones to see a more prominent surge that they can handle once the economy stabilizes. 

More importantly, tenant liquidity is what Deloitte determines as a weighing factor. For them, this aspect could either secure a safe spot for long-term leases or put those at risk. 

As Forbes reports, “The U.S. housing industry is on lockdown.” Wholesalers and manufacturing plants are indeed at a halt. The risk any workers might face to COVID-19 exposure is inevitably setting some businesses at a forceful stop. On top of that, Forbes also reports how “Year over year short-term rental reservations for 2020 summer travel are now down by 75%.” 

However, this source also recognizes how natural human events will keep sales transactions happening one way or another. 

New measures for real estate agents

So virtuality brings 3D tours as an alternative, Forbes says. And this is why real estate virtual presentations have become increasingly more important. It’s even more imperative to craft top-notch impressions through those. We’ll come back to this, of course. 

The truth is that there’s always been a need for high-quality pictures when it comes to real estate. Yet, videos of housings are now even more relevant. We can consider this a trait that will stand beyond this pandemic. Here, too, social media video tools are coming in to lend a helpful hand. 

Reasons for digitalization in healthcare

COVID-19 has undoubtedly sped up the way teleservices occur in the medical field. Cerner, for instance, an American supplier of health IT solutions, services, devices, and hardware, reported a daily virtual appointment increase of more than 100fold. 

There are three main reasons why healthcare needed to go as digital as possible since the outburst of the new coronavirus. One motive is to protect its workers. Their health is essential so they can continue to see patients. The other is the amount of necessary triage, and the most obvious one is to keep populations guarded against becoming infected. 

All of the above needs are part of Digital Health’s journal publication titled “COVID-19: A new digital dawn?” This study also highlights three broad categories into which services have mostly needed to go digital. Those are: 

1. Communication strategies

2. Educational initiatives

3. Patient management solutions

Widespread use of social media in healthcare

As the above study also reports, WhatsApp and Slack are of more frequent use among healthcare workers now. Facebook and Twitter are also coming on to lend a hand. 

And features that ease electronic transactions, such as DocuSign and eCheck platforms, are proving very useful. They make medical enrollment processes a more agile operation. And they also cut down on the need for physical paperwork.

On the customer service front, FierceHealthcare reports how CVS saw a “30% increase in March alone in encounter volume through CVS Specialty’s secure messaging tool”, for example. There’s a real possibility here for enhanced tech in healthcare to provide the required assistance. 

Bluetooth and GPS technology, for instance, help with infection identification and other sorts of services. Apple and Google came together with contact tracing tech that relies on Bluetooth, precisely. These don’t come without risks and concerns. Yet, the two companies have gone ahead with APIs that function in both Android and iOS devices. The link with public health authorities is foundational. Let’s cover those in greater detail below.   

Telemedicine during a pandemic vs. regular times

Consultation via internet platforms also rose quickly as a reaction to the pandemic. It did so as a way to create new workflows to mitigate the crisis. However, the level of care via telemedicine inevitably comes at a higher medical risk than real-life appointments. They cannot conceivably fully replace face-to-face doctor visits, let alone in all scenarios.  

Hospitals and health care facilities also claim to lack the necessary equipment for full-on digital assistance in many cases. Ironically, certain underprivileged countries must make the best of the simplest technology, like cell phone use. However, it’s also true that telemedicine is harder to conceive in cases where advanced testing is required. Especially so when the equipment is unavailable to users at home. 

Legal challenges to solve in healthcare

On the other hand, The American Journal of Managed Care recently published an article titled Incorporating Telemedicine as Part of COVID-19 Outbreak Response Systems. It concludes that “certain legal, regulatory, and reimbursement challenges remain.” Especially when tied to Google and Apple’s efforts, for example, concerns of user privacy certainly awaken. 

The hope is for this pandemic to bring legal concerns to the forefront of regulatory entities. 

In numeric terms, a high-level of diverse costs paired with reduced digital pricing is also a relevant variable. 

A lot simply needs to be solved out of a pandemic scenario for telemedicine to settle as a reliable long-term healthcare replacement practice. 

Public-private partnership opportunities

For the private sector, the current pandemic and the way public healthcare systems are doing reflects opportunities in public-private partnerships. Mostly geared toward COVID-19 tracing and test assistance, these scenarios can include federal government subsidies, for example.

As Stat News considers, measures can be “implemented in partnership with state public health departments and local hospitals.” And that’s not far from the reality we’re seeing. 

The National Institutes of Health, which are a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the nation’s medical research agency, announced they’re bringing 12+ leading biopharmaceutical companies together with health agencies to do COVID-19 related research. The measure translates into pairing up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the European Medicines Agency, to name a few. 

So, are we ready to go 100% virtual?

With everything we’ve considered in tech, healthcare, and real estate so far, we can now tackle this question directly. While it seems we’re ready to go considerably virtual in our news sources, on some healthcare and even by changing the way we do sports to the digital plane, it seems we’re moving onto virtuality as pretty much “the better (if not at times only) option” during this lockdown. 

However, once mobility is normalized, virtuality will most probably stop being the only or the forceful better go-to-point that it’s proving to be during confinement. 

All of the above doesn’t mean our measures throughout this crisis cannot aim to withstand it. They can furthermore help our businesses thrive not only during this pandemic but also beyond it. 

Ready to make a pitch deck?

We hope this information has been helpful for your business ideas. 

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