Drastic changes have not only occurred in social and health perspectives but also in the booming global economic growth since the start of COVID-19. The impacts of this devasting disaster are challenging us in countless ways that are unprecedented even in this advanced technological age we strive in. Nevertheless, there are certain solutions among various sectors of the VAS services, which have dramatically relieved the lives of millions in the world with comfort and ease.
One of these life-saving resources available to the mass of people includes digital payments such as mobile banking and mobile-based money transactions. All the contactless types of payments play a vital role for those with safety and health concerns during this period of uncertainty and fear where one could easily be infected with the virus. According to a research conducted by Mastercard, while contactless payments rose by 100% in March 2020, mobile wallet transactions have also ascended by 78% in the UAE compared to the same time-range from the previous year. Moreover, the same survey revealed that 6 out of 10 respondents have used contactless services with trust as an alternative to their top-of-wallet card. As time goes by, nobody could be certain whether a digital revolution could develop and how much the statistics may rise up in the meantime.
While it is fortunate to possess such services mentioned above, new products have also been brought to life due to the coronavirus pandemic. An example of such service is the all new online video-conferencing product from Ooredoo, “WebEx Meetings,” that has never been sold before as an individual pack. Likewise, the number of daily participants for other existing video-conferencing tools, allowing connectivity between people anywhere at any time and virtual meetings for those working from home, has risen tremendously as well. An article by “the Verge” stated mind-blowing facts such as the amount of daily meeting participants for “Zoom” soared from 10 million last December to 300 million this April and at the same time, daily active users of “Microsoft Teams” rose up to 75 million daily users within a month, which is by 70%. Surprisingly, there have also been records of Microsoft reaching 200 million meeting participants in just one day.
Furthermore, it is undeniable that the impacts on the Entertainment category have been immense and can be vividly illustrated, especially for those teenagers in lockdown during this period. Usage of social media apps such as “Facebook”, “Instagram,” and Video Streaming Upload and Download Services like “Tik Tok”, “You Tube” and “Like,” one of the most trending lockdown activities for entertainment at almost every age-range, has even become more popular worldwide along with Over the Top (OTT) streaming services like “Netflix”, “Mahar”, “Cookie” and “VIU.” For instance, based on Facebook’s official investor relations information, there were over 2.6 billion monthly active users (MAUs) starting from the end of March this year, which is a 10% increase compared to last year’s MAUs. In addition, as for OTT services, an article from BBC News stated that “Netflix” has already gained over 16 million new subscribers in just the initial 3 months of 2020 that is almost twice as the amount newcomers in the last intervals of 2019.
Last but not the least, another trending topic, particularly for young adults and adults, among VAS services even before the corona pandemic can be technically referred to as Offline to Online Services (O2O), in other words, online shopping, food ordering services, delivery services and so on. An online survey regarding how spending behaviors have changed for food delivery services in May this year in Singapore by Milieu Insight indicates that about three-fourths (73%) of the total respondents chose “spent more” as their answers. While only 13% spent the same amount and 11% spent less than the usual, the remaining 3% decided not to order any food ordering services during this pandemic period.
All in all, while existing VAS services are certainly a helping hand for various aspects of our daily lives during this global pandemic, new products are born into this world to help ease the fear of everyone worldwide amid different types of adversities. Therefore, despite the hardships we all are facing, Myanmar Digital Contents Association is going to hold a workshop between key industry players with regards to how to move forwards in Myanmar VAS ecosystem that would help determine MNOs, content providers, and content owners a taste of what it would look like after this pandemic ends.