|[E Wallet Money Transfer. Source: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/e-wallet-money-transfer-payment-3958918/]|
The world is in whirlwind of confusion, adaptation, and innovation. With the world being flipped on its head by the novel coronavirus, our entire lives have been transformed in order to protect ourselves and each other. These methods of prevention, including social distancing and staying at home, along with the fear of catching the virus have caused the near-collapse of numerous industries, even in relatively sturdy and necessary sectors like transportation and food service. While nearly every industry sector has undoubtedly been negatively affected by COVID-19, smart-technology businesses have instead been thriving and growing during this economic downturn.
With remote meetings and classes being utilized worldwide due to social distancing, virtual conference services have become vital for citizens, businesses, and governments across the globe. Furthermore, smart-technology-based apps enable citizens to navigate daily life during this pandemic safely, easily, and efficiently, from purchasing KF94 masks online to digital case tracing of the most recent COVID-19 cases in their area. Although smart-technology is still a relatively new field, it has steadily become a core element in the operations of almost every large-scale industry worldwide.
As smart technology continues to permeate every sector of our society, the potential economic growth is boundless. While researching into the field, I learned from a CNBC article what the true economic value of such technologies was expected to be in 2019- 4 trillion dollars worldwide. In other words, smart technology’s place in the world alone is worth nearly triple the amount of Korea’s GDP which was approximiately 1.7 trillion dollars in 2019. Recently, large investment banks, especially industry leaders like Barclays and Goldman Sachs, have expanded their operations in their ‘Technology, Media & Telecommunications’ (TMT) departments as a result of this sector's rapid growth, along with its ability to attract venture capitalists and private equity firms. Investment banking professionals are now paying unprecedented attention to companies that specialize in cloud computing, artificial intelligence and security solutions.
|[Screenshot of the writer interviewing Mr. Lew, Investment Banker at UBS.
Photo courtesy of Jay Ji]
For further insight on this trend within the finance sector, I interviewed Hyuntai Lew, an investment banker who facilitates private equity investments within Korea. He highlighted the recent exponential growth of the TMT sector, stating that, “We’re seeing a big explosion in the work-from-home culture. The share prices of internet giants such as Netflix, Zoom, and Amazon are increasing and attracting new capital. Media companies and content providers are definitely at the topnotch of our recent observations”. Furthermore, he noted, “While technology has been transforming rapidly, the financial industry has been quick to adapt to such changes and innovations. Such adaptations can be seen in internet banking, FinTech [Finance-Tech], and the adoption of blockchain technology.” However, the TMT sector’s threats and concerns were not very different from other companies and industries. With that said, he added, “Since technology is such a big part of this integrated global economy, you can say that security is one of the largest issues where there are countless hackers and security breaches.”
|[Interviewee’s namecard. Photo courtesy of Jay Ji]|
As illustrated by the current growth of the TMT industry and other smart-technologies, post-Coronavirus society has been even more thoroughly connected and intertwined digitally than ever before. Even outside of the finance and investment sector, other fields like public health and education are utilizing these new technologies to maintain some sense of normalcy amid this new frontier, a reality in which even standing beside another person could be your direct cause of death. Smart technology is providing tools to protect and serve our modern world’s people and societies. Now, only time will tell how much more innovative and pervasive these technologies will become in our daily lives.
Harrow School (Hong Kong)
Jay Ji firstname.lastname@example.org
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