The coronavirus pandemic hit the global economy hard in early 2020. As a result of lockdowns and associated closures of production sites and retail outlets, suspended international supply chains and a significant overall drop in demand, the German economy also suffered a record slump. In this unexpected and dangerously dynamic situation, up-to-date and reliable information is more important than ever. Decision-makers in the fields of business and politics had to make far-reaching decisions based on often-incomplete data, especially at the beginning of the pandemic. Here, webAI developed by istari.ai offers a new approach for the comprehensive and daily updated analysis of highly dynamic market situations.
Traditional survey methods not suitable
With rising infection figures in March, the time for a lockdown with far-reaching economic consequences to contain the pandemic had come in Germany as well. At that time, the extent of the economic fallout could only be guessed. Traditional survey methods, such as company surveys, may provide an accurate picture of the economic situation, but they take valuable time to carry out. In such a dynamic situation, this can lead to data being outdated after only a few days. Other important economic indicators also usually only become available weeks or months later.
Up-to-date market analyses with webAI
In this extraordinary situation, webAI developed by istari.ai provides a new approach to capture highly dynamic market situations with up-to-date and comprehensive analyses. In March 2020, we were able to adapt webAI within a few days to capture and assess the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the business activities of German companies. For this purpose, we use webAI to analyze the websites (approximately 1.1 million) of all German companies twice a week for notifications and mentions of the coronavirus pandemic.
Interactive map of Germany by 23degrees.io for our webAI market analyses
The text passages identified in this way are then evaluated using AI-based analysis models and their context is assessed. For example, webAI can distinguish reports about serious economic problems, such as closures or delivery bottlenecks, from reports about adaption measures, such as changed opening hours or new hygiene regulations. Together with information on the locations and industries of the companies, webAI can be used to perform detailed, region- and industry-specific impact analyses.
International analyses are also possible
In cooperation with ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research Mannheim and the market research firm Kantar, istari.ai conducted a webAI study on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on German companies. The study was commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and will be published soon. A comparable study was also conducted together with the economic research center KOF of the ETH Zurich. In the latter study, the multilingual analysis capability of webAI was also used, which allows the processing of a large number of different languages.
Author of this article is Robert Dehghan.