1. The Coronavirus Outbreak
In the media this month the Coronavirus has taken centre stage, one of the most serious epidemics of the century. Speaking with my colleagues based in China who are homebound, it’s unimaginable to think how difficult life must be with your home essentially becoming your prison, and even more so for those everywhere suffering from the loss of loved ones. My thoughts are with everyone affected across the world.
Technology is not the most important element of this story by any stretch, but through the media focus on the global impact, it has received notable attention. With China not only being a heavy producer of goods that impact supply chains across the world, it is also a large consumer of luxury products. Apple, as an example, is a company that is affected on both ends of the spectrum and has subsequently issued an earnings warning to shareholders. Others will no doubt follow suit.
Away from the mainstream however, three things caught my eye. Firstly with so many people unable to go to work, many are at home and using the internet. This has generated a surge in traffic which has been problematic for some services. Secondly, oppsite to this, interests have been raised around the potential of remote working. In China, the emergency adoption of such methods has allowed some companies to still function that previously hadn't embraced remote working. Will we see a long-term behavioural change in working practices as a result? Thirdly, with fewer businesses operating at their capacity, if at all, electricity demand is lower thus resulting in less pollution across China. NO2 is down 36% YoY over the outbreak period.