Upside of coronavirus crisis: tech-driven innovations whose time has come

Any lingering hopes coronavirus would quietly pass SA by evaporated yesterday. The hits came thick and fast, led by another 8% tumble on the JSE with percentage declines deep into double digits for Implats, Old Mutual, Growthpoint, Redefine, MTN and poor old Sasol. Even previously resilient Biznews portfolio stalwarts Naspers and Richemont fell sharply.

Another sad feature was an inbox choked with cancellations of every kind of event imaginable. Plus a resurgence in Fake News, including a chilling note about the disease to Discovery staff from “Adrian Gore” which went, well, viral. But when I asked him about it, Discovery’s CEO said it was a hoax, prompting Rational Radio guest David Shapiro to brand the note’s creator “a criminal”.

Among yesterday’s postponements was the visit to SA by global AI guru Dr Vivienne Ming. She won’t be coming – but instead the organisers will be linking her by video. Which got me wondering if among Coronavirus’s consequences is that SA will finally embrace webinars – a cost effective way of achieving a better outcomes than suddenly high risk face-to-face events.

For a couple of years already, Biznews has been hosting and facilitating webinars for some customers. Priced at less than the cost of room hire and refreshments, those with the courage to break traditions have become overnight converts. With Coronavirus now forcing the issue, webinars are one of surely many tech-driven ideas whose time has finally come.

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