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New Zealanders feel digitally empowered amid COVID-19

A report from international digital services and consulting firm found that New Zealanders’ relationships with technology flourished in 2020, with minimal online fatigue despite the reliance on digital throughout the pandemic.

The study leveraged a human experience research platform to survey over 1000 respondents across the country in November 2020– showing that by this time around half were working from home. A further three quarters stated their use of tech for work and leisure had increased since March 2020, with a similar proportion reporting their usage was still increasing.

The report says that overall, it seems that smart tech is bringing citizens more joy, flexibility, and empowerment than ever before, albeit recognising some shortcomings of virtual interactions such as reduced empathy and honesty.

Furthermore, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital services across banking, entertainment, retail, and grocery shopping for 45-55% of New Zealanders. Smaller increases were observed across government services, education, health, and wellbeing – indicating a potential opportunity for those providing these services.

The report also uncovered a trend of rising expectations of speed and ease, with more responsive chatbots and greater integration also called out as potential improvements across digital services. Ease and speed of use online were identified as a key driver of brand loyalty by three-quarters of respondents, followed by transparency. Providing human contact for troubleshooting interestingly ranked slightly higher for brand loyalty than digital contact.

According to researchers, Digital offers diversification and scale at a speed that is just not possible in a physical environment, but the bar is high for effective experiences and citizens will go elsewhere if their expectations are not met. To counter this, enterprises and organisations must be agile in their efforts to create seamless experiences that integrate with real-time organisational data.

In terms of making experiences more human, just under half of the respondents pointed to interactive elements as contributing factor, followed by two-fifths selecting personalised and predictive experiences. This is further reflected in quotes from respondents who, when asked to describe how they would improve digital services, imagined ‘a kind of mini me’, the tech that can ‘anticipate my needs, and a world where ‘everything is inter-connected.

The report further said that respondents also indicated that technology has made services more accessible. Almost half stated they would like to see the continuation of free or low-cost access to work and leisure opportunities, with a similar proportion selecting more accessibility opportunities for a range of abilities and/or income.

 

Accordingly, as reported by OpenGov Asia, the world has seen rapid acceleration to technology adaptation and migration to the digital space all because of the limitations brought by the on-going pandemic. In New Zealand, five years of worth of advances in the digital transformation of businesses has occurred in eight weeks, due to COVID-19. This is the key finding of a new report by a New Zealand tech company. Also, the report finds that digital or digitally enabled products accelerated by seven years during that time frame.

Also, this growth looks set to continue with findings showing that just a 20% increase in uptake of cloud computing by small to medium businesses will result in increased GDP of between NZ $3.5 billion and NZ $6.2 billion. One of the obvious reasons behind this trend is that businesses have had to provide the ability for employees to work remotely.

The report also said that unprecedented momentum in the technology sector caused the high growth already underway in the industry to skyrocket, as tech businesses responded and mobilised in a variety of ways to deliver solutions to keep Kiwi businesses open for business through lockdowns, restrictions, and uncertainty. These changes and digital transformations have been empowered by innovations from the tech sector.

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