As with organisms, the ability for technology to subsist depends largely on adaptability. And as with organisms, survival requires sustenance. Enterprises need resources to persist in the long term. The key, then, is for money to not run out faster than ingenuity.

Happily, the technology is the best positioned to adapt to new circumstances, as its lifeblood is innovation. When it comes to adapting to the new environment, tech startups are paving the way. There were already streaming apps like Quibi, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. And community streaming via such tools as Zoom and HouseParty. Pursuant to the pandemic-induced economic downturn, certain tech companies have managed to thrive to the new environment. Let’s look at some of the most notable:

Allset was initially focused on enabling a quick “dine-in” experience. It let customers make a reservation, order ahead, and then pay directly through the Allset app. Given social distancing, the company quickly shifted to offering contactless take-out.

Vancouver-based startup Hoovie lets people host movie screenings in any venue–be it homes or restaurants. At a time of social distancing protocols, the company quickly added a way to virtually host screenings–including post-film discussion via Zoom.

Enrich, a company in the Bay Area, created a system to give up-and-coming executives a peer group. It had been focused on in-person gatherings, yet soon realized a need to go all-digital once the coronavirus hit. A virtual forum for executives is just what the doctor ordered.

Spaces is now focused on its VR workspace, which has been downloaded more than 3,000 times. With only 13 employees, the firm has had to move lots of people into new roles. CEO Brad Herman had an early warning about COVID-19 because his startup supplies VR attractions to a number of theme parks in China. Realizing that the business he spent the last few years building was going to evaporate, Herman quickly found a new way to re-apply his team’s acumen: Helping companies host Zoom teleconferences in VR.

There are three main reasons that explain why certain tech companies are pivoting. First, the previous business was never going to work. Second, the idea could have worked before, but will no longer work given the new economic environment. Third, the industry in which the company was seeking to participate has been rendered obsolete.

Pandemic-era pivots have so far taken a couple of different approaches. First: Trying to do a different version of the same thing that doesn’t require in-person meetings. Second: Augmenting what the company was doing before with additional offerings that are more relevant in this moment.

In tele-health, there are two primary drivers for change:

I High volume demand, due to the increasing difficulty to physically co-locate the patient, the clinician(s), and the associated data

II High criticality applications, where specialized expertise is necessary at the precise moment of clinical demand.

Irrespective of the modality used, delivery of care inevitably necessitates some face-to-face clinical interaction.

In tele-health, ICT (Information and Communication Technology) can be used to address the mis-allocation of healthcare services, which has been a common problem. AI could assist with this by developing algorithms to match the availability of care providers with appropriate clinical skills to the need for such skill-sets in the immediate vicinity.

The coronavirus has posed formidable challenges. During this health crisis, every company must adapt. In other words: Successful companies are pivoting in ways large and small. Even those that aren’t changing the goods and services they provide are having to do things differently than they did pre-pandemic. Judicious pivots can pay off handsomely. Indeed, some great products and companies have been created as a result of such pivots. Twitter began life as a podcasting company. Slack started as a game maker. When it comes to tech, the world is our oyster–even in times of adversity.

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