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I had a great concall this morning (yes, on a Sunday) about how organizations are approaching the possibility of the virus impacting their infrastructure. The tech giants are asking for home working, and the educational institutions are looking for virtual and remote learning.

But there are several business models here that are going to be damaged.

First is the model of insurance. As seen by SXSW this week, the organizers held off cancellation hoping that Austin would ask for it first. This is because the insurance company did not see the virus as an Act of God or natural disaster. As more and more companies will take financial hits going forward, how will insurers be pressured into adapting existing types of policies to cover (or not) pandemics?

The next is the model of conference calling. Many of the mainstream providers (Zoom, Cisco with WebEx, Google) have tried to take advantage to building the business with free 90 day trials during this period. But the uptake of Zoom recently has started to impact the quality and bandwidth provided for calls, as noticed by several users this week. Is there enough infrastructure for everyone to go virtual? I see an opportunity here for other models that exist (virtual universities, virutal events in the form of an electronic open day) to take hold.

The third model is the sick leave model, focusing on the amount of time off that a contracted employee can take. I know I had to take sick days for a family member being ill last week, and have already used up my days for the six month allocation period. Hourly workers, and those who work on freelance contracts, will be badly hit. Will people change what they do for work based on a pandemic? Certain industries will be short of workers if this is the case.

The final model I want to discuss is the retail high street. If we have social distancing, how we shop and how we eat out will change completely. E-commerce models still need fulfillment, and if workers cannot work in warehouses or shipping, we have a fulfillment problem. Will 3D printers be the answer that you can make your own? Will be there be fixed locations to pick up your goods with quarantine information available as to its preparers?

Will we have virtual dinner parties, or be exchanging recipes for self quarantine kitchens? Or will you book a restaurant based on distance from other diners and with a health certificate from the kitchen staff? (Note: already happening with delivered food in China, comes with temperature reading from kitchen preparer as well as delivery person.)

Having stocked up on canned goods and toilet paper, I am not as ready as I would like, but already thinking past this season until next Fall…… Can we turn this into an innovation moment?