How 2020 Changed the IT Equipment Landscape as Know it.
Let’s admit it, 2020 has been one hell of year. No matter what industry you’re in, you’ve felt an impact in one way or another. Some industries were hit hard than others, and some are even still trying to find way to recover. In fact, the IT equipment and consumer technology industries continue to feel the impact of the pandemic.
Initially, the coronavirus outbreak disrupted global supply chains, but as it grew into a global pandemic, effecting over 118 countries, the impact became even far more reaching and less predictable.
The IT equipment and technology industries discovered ways to help when it mattered the most, by supporting companies that were struggling with videoconferencing technology, assisting governments with sharing accurate information to its citizens, and finding uses for smart city technologies to help fight the pandemic.
The most obvious and immediate impact on the IT equipment market was a major disruption to supply chains.
With the pandemic originating in China, the country was hit hard, leading to partial and full shutdowns of plants and factories where prominent technology companies manufactured their products. Even, Apple experienced shortages on its iPhone supply as a result of the company’s primary manufacturer, shut down much of its production in China.
Usually larger companies have backup plans, including increasing production in regions that aren’t impacted as badly, but the rapid spread of the coronavirus around the world made it extremely difficult to determine which regions would be least affected.
Some of the most important tech conferences were canceled, resulting in many missed partnership opportunities.
Some companies rely on annual conferences to land partnership agreements and expand their client portfolio. One example is the Mobile World Congress (MWC), which was canceled due to concerns over the virus. MWC is a keystone event in the IT industry as it brings together the most important companies in the space to network, share innovations, and forge new business partnerships.
Facebook was also forced to cancel its F8 Developer Conference and Global Marketing Summit, Google shifted its Google Cloud Next event to a virtual event, and IBM had to livestream its developer’s conference to over 30,000 attendees. Some organizations are starting to wonder if virtual conferencing will be the wave of the future as online alternatives helped limit the fallout from canceled conferences.
Conference attendees just don’t have the same opportunities to network while livestreaming as they do when attending events in person. Even though it’s hard to truly know the lost value of missing these encounters and network sessions, the effects are certainly felt throughout the technology industry.
The growing need for remote access highlighted a need for 5G technology, fast-tracking implementation.
With the rapid spread of the coronavirus, numerous organizations were forced to turn to remote work in order to reduce the number of staff in the office. The increase in remote workers also led to an increase in edge computing and the adoption of a 5G network.
5G’s lightning-fast speeds, immediate communications, and increased connection density makes it primed for remote connections. In fact, two main areas, telehealth and teleconferencing, became critical for enterprise operations amid the pandemic. Increased dependence on these areas will only help strengthen the need for 5G networks.
Healthcare Goes Virtual
The technical advantage of a new healthcare standard enables physicians to visit, diagnose, and treat patients without the need to be in the same room as them. In January, telecoms ZTE and China Telecom designed a 5G-powered system that enabled remote consultations and diagnoses of the coronavirus by connecting physicians at West China Hospital to 27 hospitals treating infected patients. 5G gave us the ability to expand the reach and services offered by hospitals in a time of need. Going forward, we expect more hospitals to tap into 5G and take advantage of the benefits offered by the new network standard.
The Upsurge in Remote Work
Due to public health concerns, many employers increased their dependence on enterprise teleconferencing tools as employees were forced to switch to remote work. Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and Zoom all saw an uptick in usage this year. A 5G connection provides real-time and uninterrupted communication that’s not possible with most wired connections that exist. Along with an increase in remote work, came a rise in employer leased IT equipment. Many companies loaned equipment out such as laptops, printers, tablets, and smart phones to ease the transition from office to home. School districts experienced the same phenomenon with online learning and virtual classrooms.