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BW Businessworld

Internet Is The New... Water

Internet and data are about to become very important to the way we live our lives from here onwards

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Change sometimes leaves you gasping with sheer intensity as well as speed. While one may have anticipated the direction but the suddenness and finality of the same can be unnerving. Something like that is happening to us right now with a virtual lockdown of the whole world due to COVID 19 outbreak. Our transportation, our manufacturing, our services are paralysed as we all stay at home in isolation as this deadly virus attacks virtually all tenets of life humans have built over the past many centuries. One thing, however, has outperformed and probably will save us and will also be the change backbone to the new world. No prizes for guessing that - Internet and Data!

Working on the technology demonstrated by Robert Kahn and Vintage Cerf, Tom Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in early 1990. From starting as a military tool it now is the defacto communication standard across the world. From here on it probably will dominate your life in many ways not thought possible earlier. For the last 15 days, the world has been in lockdown, data and Internet have supported our daily living needs, our need to speak to one another, our needs for entertainment, our healthcare needs and the ability to work from a lockdown. Not to say how many lives it has saved by offering these services as we struggle to find a cure.

This new way of life, with new standards that we have discovered, is about to gain some permanency even when the world comes out of this catastrophe. At least three business sectors come to mind where demand and supply characteristics will change ;

Entertainment and Media - Internet and the digital revolution have already affected many parts of the Entertainment and Media. The print and some other parts of the businesses have seen a substantial part of their value erode in recent times. COVID 19 lockdown, I'm afraid, will hasten that process with people getting used to accessing content digitally. Content continues to be key and the form is likely to be Video. Streaming OTTs, digital music, gaming are areas which are likely to see substantial growth while the physical formats decline. Theatrical or venue-based consumption of content both for films and live events could decline over time. The online distribution of movies or events has been slow, not due to technology but the subscription and advertisement revenue not being commensurate with the progress. It may be about to change!

E-commerce and Retail - Necessity is the mother of invention as we all know. Pandemics like the present one will hasten the process of online purchase of services as well as goods. Though delivery systems and logistics still have a long way to match up there can be little disagreement that it is a substantial way forward. So not so good news for large retail formats as well as huge malls. While they will continue to exist the growth may not be exactly like the past. The small format, as well as the neighbourhood Kirana, has proved extremely crucial in the current crisis and that last link will be enhanced. Time to reassess our thinking. 

Commercial Real Estate - With proven technologies, adequate bandwidth, speed, there is no task if reorganised which cannot be done from the house and that too professionally. Having been exposed to the Work From Home (WFH) during the current stressed times, the businesses have reordered their SOP's to be drawn up. My sense is that this knowledge will not disappear when we come out of the lockdown but be used to reassess the costs and efficiencies. Real Estate and office facilities are expensive fixed costs and some rationalisation in the same is imperative. Further, if e-commerce picks up and there are fewer cinema screens to be built or rented then we are in for a major overhaul. 

Internet and data are about to become very important to the way we live our life from here onwards. They are the new ....'WATER'

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Timmy Kandhari

The author is Founder & MD, Sapphire professional Services

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