How COVID-19 Impacted on Distance Learning Market in ICT Industry ?
COVID-19 Impact on Distance Learning Market in ICT Industry Coronavirus or more popularly known as COVID-19 has created an unprecedented pandemic situation which has wreaked havoc across the world. After originating from Wuhan, it quickly spread across the globe affecting more than 60 million people and responsible for more than 1.5 million deaths. Major companies are cutting down their regular expenses by closing offices and introducing work from home facilities for their employees. Other medium and small businesses are cutting salaries, firing employees as well as filing for bankruptcy due to their unsustainability. Major pharmaceuticals are collaborating with government agencies to get emergency approvals and roll out vaccines on a commercial level. However, any vaccine shot is far away as their vaccines are not able to pass basic clinical trials. Amidst all this, digitalization has accelerated at a rapid pace as the citizens have been forced to stay indoors due to lockdown restrictions. The entire education system was turned on its head as the educators were forced to change their mode of teaching from offline to online which has turned from a choice to necessity. This distance learning was facilitated by video conferencing applications such as Zoom, google meet and Webex among others which have accelerated them to new highs. For instance, Zoom, a video conferencing platform saw its daily number of participants grow more than 25 fold in one quarter as well as their quarterly revenues became twice of their previous year annual revenues. STRATEGIC DECISIONS FOR VENDORS AFTER COVID-19 TO GAIN COMPETITIVE MARKET SHARE The demand for distance learning has surged exponentially as the students and educators are using the video conferencing platforms on a daily basis. They are introducing newer features and tweaking their subscription plans to in order leverage this situation and convinces the users to subscribe to their plans. They are also rolling out free trial versions. The companies are focusing on achieving economies of scale through predatory pricing tactics. AFTERMATH OF COVID-19 AND GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE TO BOOST THE MARKET COVID-19 overall has had a positive impact and a boon for the platforms over which online or distance learning is conducted. Even though, the concept of distance learning started many years, it truly took off or was rather forced to take off due to this pandemic. Many schools and universities have completely digitalized their operations and the others are on the way to replicate the same. A large number of students can be gathered all at once and the lecture can be delivered quite efficiently. One of the biggest challenges that the universities are facing is this massive transformation within a very short span of time and it encloses distance, scale and personalized teaching. Amongst the rising cases, some of the economies have decided to continue distance learning as primary mode of education. They are also opening online portals for the same. For instance, In November 2020, Reuters reported that Sweden have decided to give the flexibility to the high schools in deciding their optimum mode of education and whether they want to switch from online to classroom based education while maintaining social distancing. INCREASING NUMBER OF USERS TO CATER TO DIGITAL DEMAND OF SERVICES The companies are taking various strategic decisions to increase and sustain their active users by rolling out various types of plans. Not only that, they are also increasing their back end support to ensure the smooth running of their front end operations. In addition, they are also raising funds to increase financial support and expand their operations For instance, In September 2020, Fokuz, which is a video conferencing platform, has raised USD 2 million from angel investors from US-based healthcare and manufacturing company. TO FORM PARTNERSHIP, ACQUISITION STRATEGIES TO INCREASE THE REACH AND STABILIZE THE SUPPLY In November 2020, Lumen has expanded their partnership with Zoom on their already existing contract which they entered back in September. IMPACT ON DEMAND The pandemic has exponentially accelerated the demand of distance learning as the government has mandated the requirement of social distancing and the educational institutions are being mandated to switch their courses to online mode. IMPACT ON SUPPLY CHAIN Even though there has been a disruption in supply chain, there has been no disruption in distance learning as the entire mode of delivery has been through internet. IMPACT ON PRICE The COVID-19 has impacted the price of video conferencing platforms as the demand for distance learning has surged among schools and universities. CONCLUSION COVID-19 has positively impacted the distance learning as the educational institutes such as schools and universities have been forced to switch up their mode of delivery from offline to online due to social distancing norms put in by government. Due to this, the video conferencing application on which distance learning takes place have seen a huge surge in users and have been scrambling to keep their operations running smoothly. Governments have been actively supporting distance learning due to this. These platforms are raising funds in order to improve their backend services to ensure that there are no outages. Distance learning has become mandatory as they have introduced flexible study times and will continue to further as this pandemic rages on. This