Two years ago, I woke up to a strange message from my employer – “Don’t come to the office. You will be working from home for a month.”
The first thought that came to my mind was, am I fired? I questioned my colleague to find out that this was our work structure for now.
The strike of COVID-19 has taught us a lot. One of those lessons was about the importance of technology. It adds value to our lives, and we must avail of it to ensure an upgraded lifestyle.
Coupled with the socio-demographic shifts and political and economic uncertainties, COVID-19 will continue to change our lives. Technology and resilience are the new watchwords as organizations adjust to an unpredictable future.
Several companies use trending technologies like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and smartphone applications to provide visibility on the pandemic.
For example, Tik Tok, a social media platform recently partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to enhance users’ knowledge regarding facts and current information. It has also introduced a live stream for the WHO users to share their concerns and seek answers.
Some other ways that technology has proven itself effective during the pandemic are as follows:
Tracks people with big data and facial recognition
The deployment of big data analytics can help identify affected people, reach out to them, and track everyone they contact.
As per The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, contact tracing is “a core disease control measure employed by local and state health department personnel for decades.”
Taiwan also showed us the best way of contact tracing. They sought to control the national infection rate by implementing an “electric fence” program. It uses mobile location-tracking to ensure that quarantined people stay within their homes.
Singapore also used the same measures to limit population movement.
Facial recognition technology enables the authorities to track people even when they put on their face masks. It helps to keep a tab on people and check if they contact an infected individual.
CCTV cameras powered by facial recognition software enable the authorities to identify infected people who break the quarantine and roam around despite the restrictions.
AI and big data to fight against COVID-19
China has led the global change in harnessing the digital turn of infectious disease surveillance to track the movement of the citizens and track suspected individuals in real-time.
Generally, AI-enabled analytic models and predictive modeling is helping medical practitioners to evaluate many other diseases. Artificial Intelligence allows them to get a more accurate prediction about the conditions, treatment, and medications.
China has combined big-data-driven tactics of population surveillance that monitor the users’ social media and communication applications. They are also using drone technology to implement quarantine upon the population.
It is also essential to mention that AI-based risk assessment tools are helping medical professionals to provide clarity about the confusion created by the pandemic.
A Chinese multinational technology company Baidu has created AI-based solutions to screen the large segments of the population. It checks their body temperature and detects them while on the move.
This tech can scrutinize 200 people per minute without any disruption in the flow of the people. These technologies can work in crowded areas, such as train stations, hospitals, and airports.
The authorities can identify affected people and lead them in the right direction before affecting more people in their surroundings.
Remote business models
The corporate world was under the most pressure when the outbreak started. Companies had to figure out an alternative route to continue their work or lose their profits.
The crisis has brought around years of change in how companies operate. According to the new McKinsey Global Survey of the Executives, their companies have boosted digitization of customers and supply chain interactions by three or four years.
Some other ways that technology has helped businesses during the pandemic are:
- Use of video-conferencing tools like Zoom to conduct virtual staff meetings
- The use of Instagram reels and Tik Tok has helped with brand awareness in some consumer segments
- Implementation of touch-free payments using PayPal QR codes
- Creation of new online learning opportunities for entrepreneurs and employees
When the Connected Commerce Council surveyed in May 2020, they discovered that 76% of the small business owners were relying more on digital tools in COVID-19 than before.
And one-third of the business owners believed they would have shut down their companies without digital technologies.
Thus, remote working is a blessing in these tech-driven times. It is one of the most outstanding solutions that has helped communities to maintain social distancing without losing their economic balance.
Companies need to use secure technologies and applications. A background check on each tech should be a priority. For instance, the analysis of AirG reviews before installing its chat app will help to make an informed decision.
Deliveries via autonomous vehicles and robots
The COVID-19 has put an incredible strain on the global supply chain. There is pressure to modify the logistics infrastructure from medical supplies to household goods and everything in between.
The increasing demand has already strained the existing supply chain and the delivery infrastructure of many service providers. Simultaneously, it also increases the risk of exposure to the drivers and their potential to spread the virus.
Some delivery providers in China, like JD.com and Meituan Dianping, have adopted autonomous vehicles to launch contactless delivery services that distribute groceries and medical supplies.
Besides this, they can also use robots for delivering food, groceries and even patrolling the streets. Alternatively, drones can be used to provide food, track population, and carry testing kits.
The companies can use robots to conduct thermal imaging and identify infected people.
When it comes to autonomous vehicles, many companies have followed suit. For example, Beep. An autonomous shuttle service provider partnered with Jacksonville Transportation Authority to transport COVID-19 tests at Mayo Clinic in Florida.
These developments have also brought substantial changes in the preferences of the worldwide buyers of auto parts.
Tech-powered temperature monitoring
The wireless gun thermometers and other infrared body temperature measuring instruments have turned into essential medical equipment.
You may have come across people checking temperatures at airports, workplaces, educational institutes, and restaurants. These technologies help to measure body temperature from a distance. They are an effective tool to find out the feverish individuals or contain any symptoms of the virus.
The automated thermal monitoring, along with facial recognition, helps the authorities identify these people and guide them through the process.
However, there is a downside to this excessive surveillance from the authorities. For example, people are increasingly concerned about their confidentiality. The public is worried about data privacy which has caused many individuals to raise their voices against increasing scrutiny.
The COVID-19 represents a watershed moment for the global health systems. They are introducing new technologies and modifications with a point of no return.
The organizations and government authorities need to identify their boundaries. Apart from this, societies and human institutions need to adapt to the new work structures. Once we are out of this pandemic, we will continue to witness the growth of Artificial Intelligence and big data.
Collaboration is the key to success and facing later calamities bravely. The future generations may have a lot to face.
Let’s work diligently to make it easy for them!