Editor’s note: If you’re like most people, you’re stuck inside your home waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic… while the mainstream media feeds you nonstop doom and gloom about the outside world.
That’s why we wanted to share today’s essay with you from tech expert Jeff Brown. Because of his connections across the tech world, Jeff believes the talking heads on TV are missing the bigger picture… and that the post-COVID-19 world will present numerous opportunities for savvy investors.
(He talked about one of those opportunities this past Wednesday in a special presentation. You can go here to watch the replay.)
Below, read Jeff’s take on some of the biggest – and most surprising – breakthroughs that will change the world after COVID-19…
Suddenly, the world has been forced to change.
In the wake of COVID-19, our society has come to a standstill.
Nonessential businesses are closed. Entire cities have been quarantined. International flights are empty. Entire hotel buildings have been shuttered. Cruise ships sit dormant at their ports.
These days, a big outing usually means just going to the supermarket…
We could spend all day listing how COVID-19 has changed our world in just the past few months.
But today, I don’t want to spend time discussing how this virus has changed our present. Instead, I want to show you what it means for our future.
Things are going to get better… rapidly. The world will get back to school and work in the months ahead.
But the world we enter will be very different than the one we left when society entered “self-isolation.”
That’s because this virus is the catalyst that technology companies have been waiting for.
Our slow, gradual digital transformation is over. Technologies that were once “nice to have” are now vital to businesses’ survival and have even become a part of our lives outside of work.
Few have thought about the long-term impact COVID-19 will have on how we work, socialize, and entertain ourselves.
So today, I want to show you the three biggest transformations I see coming.
Transformation No. 1: Making Manufacturing “Antifragile”
As production ground to a halt in China, it didn’t take long for supply chains to be disrupted.
Around 80% of the drugs taken in America and Europe have key pharmaceutical ingredients made in China. What if people don’t have a supply of life-saving drugs?
What if pharmaceutical companies don’t have the ingredients to produce more?
What if medical device manufacturing companies don’t have the key electronic components required to make ventilators?
Suddenly, the world has realized how fragile its supply chains really are.
Today’s centralized manufacturing models are vulnerable to these sorts of black swan events.
I believe that this experience is a catalyst for changing where and how products are manufactured. Rather than having a highly centralized manufacturing infrastructure primarily in mainland China, companies and countries will look to bring their manufacturing back onshore.
The reality is that the labor cost differentials just aren’t that large anymore.
And with technologies like 3D printing, computer vision, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and automated manufacturing, companies can now affordably produce products in developed markets.
I’m envisioning a future where goods will be “printed” or produced at smaller manufacturing sites close to the markets they serve.
Not only would this reduce the risk of supply chain disruptions, but it would also cut logistics costs and speed up delivery time.
The reality is that this massive shift had already started during the tense trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. The global pandemic simply kicked this into high gear.
And contrary to what many people think, this new revolution in manufacturing will create jobs, not eliminate them. Millions of new jobs will be created to build and maintain this next generation of manufacturing facilities.
This is a decade-long process with a completely new manufacturing infrastructure that needs to be built. We are being forced to rethink and reinvent how and where the world produces the things that it wants and needs.
Transformation No. 2: AI-Powered Health Care
Last month, an early stage biotech company called AbCellera received a blood sample from a patient who had recovered from COVID-19.
AbCellera’s mission was to screen the blood sample for antibodies that helped the patient fight the virus. Knowing which antibodies are effective against the virus is invaluable data. It can help researchers create an effective therapy against COVID-19.
Typically, this process would have taken years. But get this: AbCellera screened more than five million immune cells. The company then identified 500 antibodies that were effective against COVID-19.
And it did it all in just 11 days…
Their secret weapon was artificial intelligence. The company “unleashed” an AI on the sample and got results in under two weeks.
This is incredible. These antibodies may very well be the key to fighting COVID-19. And they were found in a fraction of the time thanks to AI.
The entire biotechnology industry is moving in this direction. The pace of development is unlike anything I’ve seen before.
The exponential growth of COVID-19 has taught the world that we can no longer wait years or even decades to develop effective therapies. And thanks to AI, we won’t have to.
In the future, AI will make the world nimbler when reacting to new viruses like COVID-19. And it will accelerate new drugs and therapies to cure diseases the world over.
Transformation No. 3: 5G-Powered Remote Applications
With businesses shutting down their offices, legions of workers – some for the first time – are learning to navigate videoconferencing and teleconferencing technologies.
And businesses are learning that cloud-based applications are no longer just convenient pieces of technology to have. They are essential to continuing daily operations.
Even when offices are reopened in the weeks ahead, these technologies will continue to be utilized.
I’m not saying that we’ll never go into a traditional office again. But I predict work weeks will change. We will spend fewer hours at the office. All business travel will be reconsidered. Anything that can be done remotely will be.
And technologies like augmented reality and telepresence – even the use of holographic images – will only speed up this shift in how and where we work. Imagine having a holographic version of yourself “broadcasted” into your next staff meeting.
That day is fast approaching.
But all these technologies have one thing in common. They require exponentially more bandwidth. And today’s wireless and wired networks simply aren’t up to the task.
Nokia just released data saying that most 4G wireless networks around the world see 30–45% growth in traffic over a year. But peak usage has jumped 20–40% over just the past few weeks.
It’s gotten so bad that the European Union (EU) even asked companies like Netflix, Disney+, Zoom, and Facebook to reduce the quality of their videos to ease the strain on the networks.
And that brings me to the final transformation. Thanks to COVID-19, countries are racing to adopt 5G wireless technology as well as upgrade their fiber-optic networks and data centers. Otherwise, it simply won’t be possible to handle all the traffic.
Remember, 5G will be – on average – 100 times faster than the global 4G networks. It will be able to support the bandwidth needs of these applications that are being adopted so rapidly. It will also be able to support a new generation of applications that will take advantage of these high speeds and virtually delay-free connections. A 5G-powered world is close at hand.
Events like COVID-19 don’t happen often. But they do happen. And while they are painful, events like these can be a force for radical change.
When the dust settles on COVID-19, the world will be forever changed. There’s no going “back to normal.”
Many industries are going to suffer. More airlines will go bankrupt. Hotels will shut down. Rental car agencies will face tough times ahead.
But a handful of other companies are already thriving and will continue to do so. And for well-informed investors, it will be the best investing opportunity of this decade… and perhaps of our lives.
Editor, Exponential Tech Investor
P.S. As I mentioned above, the world is racing to adopt 5G networks.
As we speak, wireless network providers are spending billions to erect this 5G infrastructure. City after city is “lighting up” with 5G connectivity. And before the year is out, hundreds of millions of 5G-enabled phones will go up for sale.
For us as investors, this presents an incredible opportunity.
Because of COVID-19, the world needs 5G now more than ever.
And yet – thanks to the fear-induced selling – some of the best 5G companies are trading at “bargain” valuations.
This is too good an opportunity to pass up.
That’s why on Wednesday, I hosted The State of 5G Summit.
During the event, I showed you why COVID-19 has jumpstarted 5G adoptions. And I even revealed the details on which 5G stocks to own to potentially 10x your money.
If you weren’t able to attend, don’t worry. You can go here to watch the replay.