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26 March 2020 | Posted by Innova Institute

The 10 areas in which you can start a business after the Covid-19 pandemic.

A study from the Innova Institute of La Salle - URL on how the Covid-19 pandemic can drive new business opportunities.

All crises leave their mark and change our way of doing and being. From privileged observatories such as the Harvard Business Review, they already warn that the world we live in will not be the same when we return to normal life PostCovid-19. Even amid a pandemic, each of us already perceives that we are going to be different. Both our way of doing and our perception of what is important, our values, will be different.

The effects of crises are detected, among many other things, in business opportunities. During PostCovid-19, the response to the renewed values ​​or perceptions of people will generate business opportunities. As a result of our investigative action on how technology generates wealth and employment at the Innova Institute, we dare to propose 10 areas in which it will make sense to explore business opportunities that will satisfy PostCovid-19 needs. These areas are telecommuting, online training, connection security, access to healthcare, 3D printing, services to help the elderly and disadvantaged groups, well-being at home, business and entertainment, access to culture, logistics, and supply chain.

1. TELECOMMUTING

With the confinement of people in their homes, the use of communication tools such as Skype, Google Hangouts or WhatsApp itself, by voice and video has exploded. Also, the specific platforms for webinars and videoconferences such as Zoom, Slack, Webex or Gotomeeting. Once the pandemic is over, in PostCovid-19, companies must select a good provider of this type of service and train their employees in time so that on the next occasion it is only necessary to activate the telework protocol and expect everything works perfectly. We spot an opportunity in consulting and training to help companies establish and maintain remote work protocols.

 

2. ONLINE TRAINING

Institutions around the world have had to decide whether to transfer all their training to online systems or to cancel classes. This decision is not easy and requires prior planning. Most universities, after a week of confinement, still do not offer alternatives to their students. However, this is not our case in La Salle-URL, during the first morning of confinement around 1,300 undergraduate students connected to our online platform, and some 200 class sessions were held throughout the day. During the first week, 98% of all face-to-face training at our center was taught online.

We detected several opportunities related to online training for the PostCovid-19 era such as, the creation of multimedia content, workshops, and specialized sessions, companies dedicated to the creation and maintenance of technological platforms, and businesses with a teaching staff that can attend students remotely promptly. Online training is a sector in full growth, according to Fundación Telefónica, its annual growth is 20%.

 

3. CONNECTIONS SECURITY

Given the current situation of the Coronavirus, the large cybersecurity operators SOC (Security Operations Center) / CSIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Team) alerted companies that started teleworking, as well as hospitals, of the increase in the rate of cyberattacks.

Following confinement, employees around the world have connected to their jobs from home networks and personal computers. Most companies do not have a VPN (virtual private network) line for accessing sensitive data from homes or duly checked computers with guarantees that they are virus-free for their employees.

Companies like Light Eyes (CSIRT), located in La Salle Technova, La Salle URL's innovation park, warns that telework does not have to be dangerous if it is well protected, but that many companies have not yet realized the vulnerabilities in their data and servers because circumstances like the present one had never occurred. We detected a PostCovid-19 opportunity for the creation of companies related to telework security (firewalls, backups, VPN, antivirus, etc.).

 

4. ACCESS TO HEALTH

An emergency such as the one we find ourselves in causes the saturation of outpatient clinics and hospitals, which are already working in Spain under minimal conditions.

For the PostCovid-19 era, we have detected opportunities mainly related to online diagnostics. In the market, there are already remote diagnosis platforms (telemedicine) that allow real-time medical diagnosis at a distance in fields such as radiology, cardiology, ophthalmology, and dermatology, these platforms can also facilitate the monitoring of treatments, still, there is space for companies that offer different types of tests that can be done from home and companies that can combine artificial intelligence and medical diagnosis.

The public administrations have also detected this need, and both the government of the Community of Madrid and the Generalitat de Catalunya have contracted and adapted Covid-19 diagnostic apps and case monitoring. With the deployment of 5G the possibilities of new ventures multiply. The 5G technology allows, for example, the processing of thermal images for contagion monitoring, which means, that it makes it possible to accurately monitor the temperatures of a moving object in real-time without contact and issue abnormal temperature alerts. We have also detected opportunities related to Big Data systems and complex data management, for the understanding and sharing of all the monitoring data that is generated in real-time between all the monitoring apps.

 

5. 3D PRINTING

The 3D printing industry may also find opportunities in the wake of the challenges created by this pandemic; for example, through the bio-printing and printing of health tools and objects. Production via 3D printing of 100 respiratory valves in 24 hours has already been implemented in Italy and Spain in record time. Its application is also envisaged in other items for personal use, such as antimicrobial masks and oxygen masks, adaptations to open doors and press elevator buttons, to help avoid direct contact with metal surfaces where the virus has a greater active permanence, among other small accessories.

 

6. AID SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY AND DISADVANTAGED GROUPS

According to INE data for 2018, there are more than two million one-person households above 65 years in Spain, and although life expectancy reaches 80.7 years for men and 86.7 for women, the last ones are the ones that present a worse perception of health conditions. We have detected PostCovid-19 opportunities for the creation of startups such as YASYT Robotics, part of the La Salle-URL Barcelona robotics research group, and which has created a robotic tool that assists the geriatric community, seeking to optimize some healthcare processes and health or therapeutic education. There are also initiatives such as Renacer Digital from the Fundación Telefónica, which provides a methodology to face the technological gap by connecting volunteers with people of legal age. These days we have seen how the web app born in Granada supervecina.com, built to manage neighborhood communities, included an app and a printed form to stick on portals or elevators, to help connect neighbors who ask for help and those who offer help within a community taking precautions for Coronavirus.

There are also initiatives such as Renacer Digital from the Fundación Telefónica, which provides a methodology to face the technological gap by connecting volunteers with elderly people. We have seen how the web app born in Granada supervecina.com, built to manage neighborhood communities, included an app and a printed form to stick on portals or elevators, to help connect neighbors who ask for help and those who offer help within a community taking precautions for Coronavirus.

 

7. WELLBEING AT HOME

The state of alarm in the country has led to the closure of all businesses related to sports and people's well-being. Some sports facilities have started classes of activities directed online via Facebook or streaming via Instagram so that users of their facilities can stay in good shape and follow the classes of sports technicians. Even so, we detected the need for initiatives related to food and personalized diets, consultations with nutrition professionals, training and monitoring of professional and amateur athletes, classes of activities directed by streaming with the possibility of delayed viewing, online sale of accessories and natural and sports supplements, mindfulness activities, yoga, meditation, etc. All these services can be offered by gyms and sports organizations, but they will undoubtedly need companies to help them implement them online.

 

8. LEISURE AND ENTERTAINMENT

The quarantine has greatly boosted the digital entertainment sector. This niche that is still becoming known has been discovered by a large number of families. In times of confinement, we must adapt our leisure and entertainment activities. This is even more complicated if we have children at home, who require and are used to outdoor activities, greater contact with nature and playing with other children. Many parents these days face the difficult task of teleworking with children at home. That is why many children's educational applications are offering premium content for free so that children can continue learning from home. Among some outstanding apps, we can mention Kahn Academy, Academons Elementary, Ta-tum or Smartick. We detect PostCovid-19 opportunities related to the creation of educational content and at the same time entertaining, aimed above all, at a children's audience.

 

9. ACCESS TO CULTURE

Regarding culture, the effect of the Covid-19 has led to accelerating the transition of its model towards digitization. Museums, movie theaters, theaters, libraries, academies, theme parks and other spaces that concentrate the public have had to accept the ban on crowds of people with more than fifty attendees. Similarly, concerts, tours, sports and cultural events such as book fairs and festivals have been canceled or postponed due to crisis warnings and alerts by public health and in response to decrees generated by various government entities, which besides, generates large economic losses for the organizers. Although we hope that once the pandemic is over, people recover their cultural habits, we observe PostCovid-19 opportunities for companies that help in the digitization of cultural companies and for companies that facilitate total immersion in remote events.

 

10. LOGISTICS AND SUPPLY CHAIN

The lack of access to China due to Covid-19 has had a high impact on the supply systems and has highlighted the absence of resistance of a centralized approach to production. There is a great need for a more distributed, coordinated and traceable component sourcing across multiple geographies and suppliers while maintaining the benefits of economies of scale. We detect opportunities in creating global platforms that use sophisticated technologies such as 5G, robotics, IoT and blockchain, to help link multiple buyers with multiple suppliers in a reliable way through a "mesh" of supply chains, a provision that will continue to be useful PostCovid -19.

On the other hand, the permanence of people in confinement and at home translates into an increase in demand in e-commerce companies such as Amazon, which has already announced that it will hire 100,000 more workers in the US due to the increase in orders. Since people are homebound, e-food, pet food, DIY, furniture, and appliance stores are increasing their sales. Undoubtedly, this will increase the penetration of electronic commerce in Spain and further develop the logistics involved in “last mile” parcels.

In short, with the analysis of these areas, from the Innova Institute of La Salle-URL, we propose that the health crisis offers opportunities to alleviate the situation that the Coronavirus has come to bring. Not only that, but it will also open up possibilities for individuals and companies to decide to launch or develop business initiatives to satisfy needs that will arise in the new way that we will have to "be" and "do" in PostCovid-19.

This article was written collaboratively by:

Francesc Miralles, Fàtima Canseco, Montserrat Peñarroya, Alessandra Giglio Hirtenkauf, Juan Nihoul, John Sanabria, Carina Rapetti, Liliana López and Katalina Soto.

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