Well into its second year, it is safe to say that the COVID-19 global pandemic has forever impacted the way we live and conduct business. As the pandemic gets progressively under control thanks to vaccine rollouts, countries across EMEA are beginning to implement their plans for economic recovery.
When it comes to contingency strategies, though, there is no such thing as a fit-for-all approach. This is because COVID-related health & safety measures such as lockdowns, travel restrictions, and social distancing have impacted different sectors in different ways, resulting in every industry following its own course of action. Notwithstanding, there is one element that is consistent with all business environments: the crucial role played by telecommunications in the recovery.
Forced to disrupt their routine virtually overnight, an overwhelming number of businesses in the EMEA area have relied on telecommunications to proceed with their operations. Confirmed by IDC to be the most resilient industry in COVID times, telecommunications will still help businesses in the “next normal”. This is particularly true when taking into account how the recent digital acceleration has seen a shift in customer behavior.
Across EMEA, successful businesses have learned to value their customers as long-term assets and are investing in state-of-the-art communication channels to maintain outstanding levels of customer service and support. Furthermore, this increased reliance on remote channels is no longer exclusive to B2C retail but is extending to other areas such as entertainment and even healthcare. Shortly after the onset of the global epidemic, the telecommunication industry and the UK government pledget to support the NHS during these difficult times. This somewhat groundbreaking event was brought on by the suddenly increased need for telemedicine and remote consultations, proving one of the many ways telecommunications are bound not simply to let businesses survive but to help them thrive.
The industry contribution will continue to be needed in virtually every sphere of business – from catering to an ever-so-demanding digitally-savvy customer base to the management of critical events through multi-channel platforms and everything in between. Moreover, telecommunications will help speed up the inevitable digitalization process in a cost-effective way while also fine-tuning new approaches to networking infrastructure, capacity, and connectivity.
In spite of the tireless efforts of both top-grade governmental and extra-governmental entities, the road to economic recovery in the EMEA region is still likely to be a long and bumpy one. In fact, a recent Mckinsey study shows that pre-pandemic levels of economic wellbeing should not be expected before 2023. This is likely due to the fact that it is still hard to accurately project what structural changes will outlive the pandemic and how the current industry trends will reshape the business landscape.
While we might still be fuzzy on the details, one thing is sure: the telecommunication industry will continue to be the engine behind the recovery.