Information Technology (IT) Industry is a highly treasured industry in the world striding on a contribution of US$ 5 trillion in 2019 to the global economy while employing more than 50 million across the globe. Software is a key emerging category of the IT Industry contributing to the highest revenue growth of 44% over Tech services (22%), Hardware (19%) and Telecom services (7%) (CompTia, 2019).

While the industry is growing at an astonishing rate worldwide, The International Trade Administration (2019) declared that IT Industry is one of the key growth component in service sector of Sri Lanka earning US$ 995 million in 2018 showing an 8.9% growth compared to the previous year. IT Industry of Sri Lanka has grown by 120% over last 5 years to be the 5 th largest export segment in the country while predicts to generate US$ 5 billion revenue with 1000 start- ups creating 200,000 jobs.

Besides this knowledge intensive field with a vast potential faces higher levels of uncertainty and often come across complex management scenarios due to its limitless facets but has made wonders in the present world while often resulting in delays, failures, incompletions and rejections adversely affecting the IT firms across the world amidst the emergence of new tools and techniques to ensure success. Due to the significance of forecasting trends for this multi- trillion industry, here is an assessment vis-à-vis disruptive technology trends which poised to redefine a post COVID 19 world.

1 . Online Shopping

Global Consumer Insights Survey 2019 disclosed that almost a one third of consumers buy products online weekly and the number increases by 5% year-on-year from physical stores to digital channels such as e-commerce websites and mobile apps. COVID 19 definitely brought an apocalypse to luxury physical stores worldwide to close down or lessen their physical operations and embrace online shopping from a nice-to-have to a must-to-have.

Omni-channel experiences are on the rise where 73% of shoppers acknowledged that they use multiple channels during their shopping journey and prefer an in-store experience by spending more time and money while being loyal than online shoppers. Overall, it is a connection of sales, marketing, operations, inventory and more information equally offered over having an isolated customer database or gamut of disparate systems.

2 . Contactless Payments

Contactless digital payments enable consumers to make online purchases, purchase goods and services and instantly complete transactions by few clicks while receiving fast fund transfers. MasterCard polled 17,000 consumers from 19 countries to discover “the cleaner way to pay” and contactless payments was rated highest even in the post-pandemic condition.

58% of consumers doubted about digital payment security and resulted in the introduction of PIN and password authentication. However, studies indicate that 66% of consumers feel there is a plethora of PINs and passwords to remember and 41% use the same PIN or password to overcome that hassle, causing security and privacy issues. But in 2020, one UX will rule the world. This will be the year that biometrics in payments got a gear offering a high level of security in personal authentication for mobile financial services such as payment verifications, accessing banking apps and fund transfer verifications.

3 . Remote Work

Including Tech giants like Google and Facebook practice Work from Home or remote working powered by technologies including but not limited to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), Voice over Internet Protocols (VoIPs), work collaboration tools like GSuite for Business and Office 365 and Cloud technology. This method has proved to save commute time, provide flexibility and improve individual productivity while imposing challenges in information security, privacy and work-life balance.

Meetings with 4-5 participants to huge international conferences, seminars converting to webinars will remain to continue to maintain social distancing etiquette and the same has given a sudden spurt to virtual meeting facilitators like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Skype. Need for faster data sharing, connectivity speeds and overcoming bandwidth and capacity challenges has accelerated the rollout of 5G technology more real than ever, sooner than expected.

4 . Telehealth

Consumer adoption for telehealth has skyrocketed from US$ 3 billion to US$ 250 billion in United States healthcare. Since the shift was not forecasted, challenges remain in bringing in improvements for information exchange, broadening access and integration of technology for on- demand virtual urgent care and studies suggest that 20% of usual emergency visits could be replaced by virtual or near-virtual care.

A “Front door” to cover overall consumer integrated platforms from scheduling to appointment tracing, clinical visits, record access, post-acute care and all in one solutions, teleICU applications and empowering provider workforce with applications encompassing centralized scheduling, feedback monitoring, Lab reports and prescription management will certainly contour this opportunity.

5 . Distance Learning

EdTech revolution has indisputably provided more access to quality education and learning content worldwide giving more data-driven insights by using in-depth personalization to suit different individual learning needs with an immersive education despite where they are, being flexible, interactive and efficient to deliver. Technologies involved in distant learning range from those of remote work and Virtual Reality to Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence enabled robot teachers, Big Data and Machine Learning.

Off-the-Shelf eLearning and Learning Experience Platforms (LXP) directed at Self learning are major trends coined for distance learning in a post COVID 19 world. Enabling online content sharing through online content libraries, ready-to-use courses on different domains which are generic and customized, recommending skills and developing personalized learning journeys integrated with Learning Management Solutions (LMS) will offer instant solutions to reskill or upskill the consumers.

6 . Online Entertainment

Mental health is one of the most debated topics amidst ongoing concerns about novel coronavirus redefining the significance of human interactions, creativity and entertainment for life. Online streaming of concerts such as “iHeart Living Room Concert for America” hosted by Elton John (attracted 8.7 million viewers according to Nielson ratings), livestreaming of nightclubs where clubbers can tune in, comment and dance to the rhythm via Cloud Raves, online film releases, virtual tours of museums and international heritage and tourist sites and online gaming were widely held since the pandemic.

Arrival of new gaming subscription services with cloud based gaming will unquestionably take a new turn in the gaming world while At-home entertainment will embrace personalized platforms to share capabilities, capture advocacy and wallet share for subscriptions.


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