How’s the coronavirus pandemic affecting the tech world? Here’s your research roundup of the latest forecasts and findings.
Overall IT spending: ouch
There’s no nice way to say this: Gartner predicts that IT spending worldwide this year will total $3.4 trillion, down from last year by 8%.
Nearly every tech segment will feel the decline, Gartner expects. It says the worst drops will be seen in devices and data-center systems.
That’s because CIOs are prioritizing their IT spending on projects deemed mission-critical. Those projects aimed at either growth or transformation are being put on the back burner.
“CIOs have moved into emergency cost-optimization,” says Gartner research VP John-David Lovelock.
There is at least one bright spot: public cloud services. Spending there will grow this year by 19%, benefiting from the growth in remote working, Gartner expects.
Looking ahead, the hardest-hit industries — such as entertainment, air travel and heavy industry — could take 3 years to return to 2019 IT spending levels.
“Recovery requires a change in mindset,” says Lovelock. “There is no bouncing back.”
Digital transformation? Yes
A more optimistic take comes from Wind River. The embedded-software supplier recently surveyed 400 senior technology execs in the U.S. and China working at companies with annual revenue of $100 million to $1 billion.
Nearly a third of the U.S. execs (35%) said the COVID-19 pandemic has given them an “impetus” for digital transformation projects.
Respondents also said they’re planning to invest this year in certain technologies. These include 5G (cited by 63% of the U.S. execs), container-based development (38%), cloud-based app dev (35%), and IoT (33%).
That’s not to say it’s all smooth sailing. Nine in 10 respondents to Wind River’s survey said their ability to meet customer demand has been hurt by the pandemic. And only about 1 in 4 said the pandemic has left their priorities unchanged.
Remote working works
Here’s another bright spot: Working from home is going pretty well for most employees. So finds a survey of 40,000 employees of 30 companies, conducted by HR tech provider Quantum Workplace.
In its survey, 6 in 10 respondents said that working remotely is good for their engagement. More than three-quarters (77%) also said it’s improved their productivity.
Only 4% of respondents said working remotely has had a major impact on their day-to-day performance. About a third said it's had some impact. And more than half said it's had no impact.
It’s worth noting that many employees lack experience in WFH. In Quantum’s survey, nearly 40% of respondents said they had never worked remotely before. Another 16% said they had worked remotely, but only a few times. Prior to the pandemic, more than half the respondents had worked in an office every day.
Contactless payment cards get a boost
Another technology could benefit from the pandemic: contactless payment cards.
ABI Research predicts that more than 2 billion of these contactless payment cards will be issued this year. That would mark an increase over last year of 14%.
What’s driving the rise? Contactless cards are seen as a safe and hygienic alternative at the point-of-sale to both cash and conventional credit and debit cards. That’s important, because scientists now believe the virus can be transmitted by touching objects.
“COVID-19 will further increase the speed of contactless adoption,” says ABI research director Phil Sealy, “particularly within countries and economies where cash remains king.”