Interdependence of industries: the IT sector and taxi aggregators
VoxiAI faced its most significant challenge yet during the first wave of COVID-19 in Russia. The company created artificial solutions for collecting phone orders and worked in close cooperation with the biggest taxi aggregators. Following the lockdown of March 2020, restrictions on movement triggered a sharp decline in demand for rides. According to Alexander Kozhevnikov, their company lost 80% of calls  during this period.
In this context, it is important to note that in a population of 144 million , the number of taxi passengers ranged from 15.5% to 45.7% depending on the size of the city . A clear and abrupt drop in the demand for rides has heavily affected both the transport industry and the IT sector. Despite this impact, Alexander emphasized that the situation in Russia has since returned to normal for taxi aggregators during April and May 2020 .
This may be closely linked to the fact that considerable attention has been paid to the integration of artificial intelligence and various smart solutions in their systems. Using VoxiAl for collecting orders especially minimized the need for human resources during the pandemic period. In comparison, companies that tend to rely on employees from agencies or call centers rather than on technology have faced serious difficulties. As a result of lockdowns and the requirement for office employees to begin working remotely, the process has been almost entirely reorganized.
The issue of depending upon human factors became obvious. In response to this issue, many taxi companies are now seeking digital solutions; according to Alexander Kozhevnikov, the number of requests for cooperation with VoxiAI has already increased . In addition, COVID-19 also became a driving force for the development of the wider IT industry. More recently, Alexander has collaborated with colleagues to create Daw Software, which seeks to provide an innovative solution to tracing contacts with COVID-19 and preventing further business closures as a result of potential infections in office environments.
The Call: More attention to the fast-growing IT industry
There remains little doubt that the COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it, and has demonstrated the potential for the growth of the IT industry. A lack of professionals, however, could impede the development of the whole sector. For example, in cyber security alone the available positions are expected to increase to 3.5 million in 2021 . As a result, governments in cooperation with educational institutions should provide both vocational training and increased funding for programs related to the IT sector, in order to avoid further issues with employment in all sectors in the future.
Moreover, the use of modern digital tools should become commonplace for companies and institutions in order to avoid shutdowns, which harm both businesses and the wider economy. Companies should conduct training for employees and practice the hybrid model periodically, in order to develop the necessary skills for both office and home-based work.
In summary, it is important to note that COVID-19 has considerably expedited the transition to digitalization. Using smart solutions during the pandemic, both companies and institutions have learned how to optimize processes and prepare for emergencies. As a result, the growth of the IT industry may be able to prevent other sectors from shutting down under similar circumstances in the future.
Written by Lyutsiya Shlafman, an independent researcher and market analyst with a Master’s degree.
Edited by Olivia Grace