Region/Countries: Benelux Countries, Europe Industry: Other Date: April 2020

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies can contribute to the technological revolution taking place in the finance, health, education and retail sectors.

While the whole world is collectively fighting against COVID-19, the Netherlands remains one of a few countries in Europe to have not entered an enforced widespread lockdown. However, the pandemic has still impacted the Dutch economy, with people staying home even without a strict lockdown.

Two major trends emerging in the Netherlands are a push toward digital transformation and growing demand for smart technologies. With Dutch citizens working from home and children learning online, people turning to digital technologies to stay connected. In addition, in some workplaces, further automation is required to relieve the effects of COVID-19. In all areas of business and private life—learning, work, health, commerce, administration—the demand for digital solutions has increased, and further acceleration of digitization is likely.

Specific opportunities exist for Wisconsin companies in:

  • Information technology and financial technology: digital banking solutions and services, cybersecurity
  • Health care: health information technology/ e-health solutions
  • Education: solutions for online learning and classroom technology, blended learning solutions
  • Retail: self-checkout technology, e-commerce services

For example, even though the transportation sector is experiencing challenges resuting from COVID-19, logistics platform providers such as Quicargo and Simacan are experiencing a positive effect on dry freight sharing and connected-as-a-service cloud platforms. Such cloud platforms, however, require high security standards, which will create further business opportunities in the cybersecurity sector.

In the health care sector, the e-health trend in the Netherlands has been accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis. While in pre-pandemic times, videoconferencing and digital consultations were used by a small minority, the pandemic has pushed many more health care providers into the digital arena. Providers of web accessibility for the health care market are gaining importance.

In the Dutch e-learning market, the pandemic has been a catalyst for the development of online education and e-learning platforms, in the corporate as well as the education sector. As more companies are providing training on their corporate intranet, they are seeking e-learning options that offer personalized education that adapts to the individual learner’s existing knowledge and speed of learning, and Dutch e-learning providers are being challenged to meet the new demand for these products.

In the retail sector, the pandemic has forced retailers to rethink their traditional commerce model. For example, Dutch retail shops are now developing dynamic pricing strategies based on buying behavior. E-commerce portals are growing in popularity as customers increasingly prefer to stay at home and place orders for delivery. The increasing demand for online shopping will create new business opportunities as niche markets emerge.

Looking at each of these four sectors, the pandemic has added a new perspective on tackling the technological challenges of the future. Businesses with innovative solutions can be part of a long-lasting digital transformation.