The coronavirus outbreak has changed the buying habits of consumers and the way institutions do business forever. The services that we can use without leaving our homes continue to grow exponentially every day.
Those practicing self-isolation or social distancing are increasingly drawn toward products and services being offered by various startups ranging from education to entertainment, from shopping to cleaning and health. Government agencies propose the use of the e-government app. The consumption of internet data is also growing rapidly.
Turkey's leading information and communication technologies company Türk Telekom has experienced a 50% increase in fixed home lines in just a few days as the most important precursor of the transformation underway. Now, people of all ages are turning to online shopping, and all businesses must act accordingly to keep up with the changing consumer demands.
Startups will emerge to make testing the infectious disease at airports as simple as going through a security search. Just as terrorist attacks have caused electronic search devices to become widespread, coronavirus is also out to make some permanent changes.
Time of home delivery
Due to COVID-19, there has been a lack of availability of cologne – traditional ethanol-based scented disinfectant hosts offer guests who use it to clean their hands – in pharmacies and garlic in the markets.
The demand for disinfection across Turkey is at a record high. While individuals look for disinfectants like antibacterial wipes or colognes, offices need products or services to disinfect their workspaces. According to the data received from Armut.com, one of the fastest-growing technology companies in Turkey, disinfection demands have increased 116-fold compared to the previous week.
Instead of going to the markets, those who use fast-delivery services such as Getir, Banabi, and istgelsin ordered mostly food, cleaning and baby products. Startups that reject excessive demands have started to serve the elderly in the high-risk group. In other words, startups have begun to show that they are ready for solidarity.
Data usage increases
The use of fixed internet lines increased the most as people stay at home. Assistant General Manager of Türk Telekom Technology Yusuf Kıraç said within the framework of the measures taken against the coronavirus outbreak affecting the whole world, schools going on an early break, starting of the distance education process and switching to work from home has also changed data usage habits.
“The fact that individuals are forced to stay at home reveals that the increase in internet traffic has turned into a situation that extends to the afternoon from the rush hours in the evening,” he continued. “In the period from the first case in our country until Monday, March 16, when we compared the data usage volume with the normal days last week, there is an increase of about 50%. We continue our operations within this framework. Nearly 90% of Türk Telekom's fiber internet subscribers receive unlimited tariffs. We use our capacity most efficiently and encourage our entire team to give our customers the best experience possible.”
Online demand for disinfectants booms
There are over 300 disinfection companies across Turkey that are listed on the Armut online marketplace. According to Armut data, the highest demand of all time came on Monday, March 16. The demands made on this day are more than the sum of all requests made between 2014-2019.
Some of the highest demand has come from offices. While the workplaces currently operating create demand for regular disinfection service within the scope of health measures, it is possible to say that the service demands of workplaces over 1,000 square meters are higher. According to Armut.com data, the demands of the workplace in the disinfection service are followed by apartments and hairdressers. Disinfection demands have also increased in pharmacies open within the scope of health measures.
Growing interest in video conferencing, headsets
Operating in the field of communication technologies, Bircom's CEO Can İlkhan pointed out that all manufacturers and service sectors, from medium- and large-sized companies to holdings, from universities to the bank sector and financiers, have begun to take measures against possible crisis scenarios.
“Preparations are being made for video conferencing systems that are not yet widespread, but that can be practically implemented, and for employees who work from home,” İlkhan said. “As we all changed our daily habits while minimizing personal contact, millions of people faced physical isolation for a long time at home. The overwhelming majority of the population is not only healthy and productive but also technologies that enable everyone to work effectively from home are largely in place. All eyes and ears turn to video collaboration and unified communications as the key to enabling technologies to maintain business continuity over a long period of time.”
3D printers save lives in Italy
During the outbreak, amid significant disruptions in the global supply chain, problems in respiratory equipment manufacturers and spare parts supply have been solved with 3D printers.
The 3D printing immediately has a beneficial effect when the supply chain is completely broken for any reason. In other words, the coronavirus is not only changing shopping, education and transportation but also production and service habits.
A northern Italian hospital needed a replacement valve for a reanimation device, the absence of it led to the use of 3D printing. The respiratory devices maintained their functions thanks to 3D printing, saving the lives of 10 patients. At this point, perhaps the only way to save the lives of hundreds of people is to have as many working reanimation machines as possible and to operate them.
Instant valve printing
Massimo Temporelli, founder of FabLab in Milan and a very active and popular supporter of the It3D printing culture, said that on Friday, March 13, valves were urgently needed for the intensive care device, and the supplier was unable to supply it in such a short time. In just a few hours, Cristian Fracassi redesigned and produced the missing piece. In other words, not only health care but also the production processes are being reshaped. Due to China's inability to fulfill global demand, devices that constitute a small part of the supply chain but crucial in operation cannot be found. Perhaps this is why startups of 3D printing devices need to be supported.
3D printing in Turkey
Integra 3646, a robotic team consisting of Istanbul Bahçeşehir Science and Technology High School students, has announced that they have prepared a respiratory device prototype that can be produced inexpensively and serially amid a shortage of vital respiratory devices that are vital for patients infected by the coronavirus.
Bahçeşehir students said one of the important needs of the worldwide efforts against the virus is respiratory devices which are quite insufficient in number and are used in hospitals. They stressed that the production of this device is very important and can make a huge difference on a large scale. Turkey could benefit from the development of a 3D printing ecosystem.
Domestic respiratory device
In Italy, the use of respiratory equipment in intensive care during the outbreak was effective in reducing the death toll. Supported by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and ASELSAN, Biosys – one of the most important Turkish firms in the field of design and production of high technology medical devices – is engaged in respiratory equipment production in Turkey.
In the advanced stage of respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, the need for respiratory equipment increases. Biosys, which set out to produce these devices in Turkey, continues to do so with support from TÜBİTAK at Bilkent Cyberpark. Biosys carries out research and development (R&D) studies of advanced medical devices with engineers and doctors specialized in the biomedical field in collaboration with TÜBİTAK.
As a result of the five-year R&D studies, it manages to produce the first advanced domestic mechanical ventilator.
Domestic startups take on the production
The ventilator, one of the most important devices that support vital functions, provides respiratory support with the gas flow to the patient's respiratory tract. Biosys produces domestic breathing apparatus with the support of ASELSAN in Turkey. The startup, established in 2012, is expected to meet a significant demand during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Mechanical ventilation is considered one of the most important forms of supportive treatment for patients in intensive care.
Used in emergency units
After the intensive care service, some of the patients may remain dependent on the mechanical ventilation device at home due to chronic respiratory failure. Ventilators are also essential at the emergency services of hospitals. Many patients arrive at emergency units with acute respiratory failure needing respiratory support and are connected to the ventilator device.
Managers' digital assistant receives $ 5 million investment
Apsiyon, which provides integrated solutions for apartment or housing complex managers from dues to financial management and digital security systems, signed an investment agreement of $5 million.
Founded approximately eight years ago, Apsiyon offers an integrated solution as a digital management assistant in more than 750,000 issues in Turkey. With the additional $5 million, the start-up will now have $10 million to focus on growth in the global market
Having succeeded in being one of the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in Turkey according to Deloitte in 2019, Apsiyon has received an investment from the EarlyBird venture capital fund for the third time. It aims to grow by opening up to the international market as well as domestically with the new investment.
New investors arrive
Apsiyon, which is also in use in countries such as Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Montenegro and North Macedonia outside Turkey, has new markets in Europe and the Middle East among its 2020 overseas expansion targets. The investment in a startup from Turkey in such a critical period is of great importance. In this investment tour, Apsiyon added Jak Baruh together with the early investor EarlyBird Digital East Fund to its portfolio.