Technology cannot prevent the onset of pandemics. However, it can help prevent the spread, educate, warn, and empower those on the ground to be aware of the situation, and noticeably lessen the impact. Technology helped in dealing with the COVID Pandemic.
Epidemics and pandemics have been threatening the human race time and again. SARS, H1N1, Ebola, and more have shown their teeth in the past. But with each such outbreak, we are learning new ways of fighting and managing such unexpected diseases. Diseases that can potentially kill millions of people. Today, with converging technologies like mobile, cloud, analytics, robotics, AI/ML, 4G/5G, and high-speed internet, it has become possible to test several innovative approaches to the pandemic response. Here, we have listed eight such areas where Technology helped in dealing with the COVID Pandemic:
Misinformation about the number of fatalities, diagnosis and treatment options, vaccines, medicines, government policies, etc., creates more panic and anxiety among the population. The result can be widespread chaos, panic buying, price rise, violence on the streets, discrimination, conspiracy theories, and so on. To reduce false information, big companies are working tirelessly to guide people to the right, verifiable information.
When a new pandemic strikes, the first question on everybody’s mind is if there’s a drug to cure it or a vaccine to prevent it. Technology is becoming an enabler to make the process faster. AI is playing important role in suggesting components of a vaccine by understanding viral protein structures and helping medical researchers scour tens of heaps of relevant research papers at an unprecedented pace. Teams at the Allen Institute for AI, Google DeepMind have created AI tools, shared data sets, and research results. AI Can Help Scientists Find a Covid-19 Vaccine
Increasing traceability and transparency by sharing data
During a pandemic, clear messaging to the populace is critical to make sure they are informed and reminded to use appropriate precautions. Several groups are using trending technologies like mobile, AI, ML and more, to provide visibility on the outbreak.
Microsoft Bing launched an interactive COVID-19 map to provide widespread disease news. Sixfold has published a free live map of border crossing times for trucks to enable all of Europe’s supply chains to understand expected delays in receiving shipments. In India, telecom operators like Jio, BSNL, Airtel, and more, are using the caller tunes to spread awareness about the pandemic.
Tracking people with facial recognition and big data
In the case of pandemic management, big data analytics can help in quickly identifying infected individuals, connect with them, track who they have come in contact with, and so on.
Facial recognition technologies along with data can accurately identify people even if they are masked. Such technologies can help in monitoring the movement and tracking of people who are quarantined.
Using Big Data & AI to fight the Coronavirus
Risk assessment and forecasting through artificial intelligence. AI is becoming a vital part of healthcare today. AI-based data analytics and predictive modeling are also enabling medical professionals to understand more about a lot of diseases. With the use of AI, more accurate forecasting about disease spread, medication, treatment, etc., could be done. Using AI platforms, it has become easier for researchers to quickly find relevant studies. It can potentially lead to new insights or approaches to address the COVID-19 outbreak.
These AI tools are helping in differentiating whether the patients have a common cold, flu, or COVID-19. Whether or not the individual needs to be tested, and what tests are required.
Contact-less movement and deliveries through autonomous vehicles, drones, and robots
Self-driving cars, drones, robots can all help at a time when the need is to avoid human contact. Autonomous vehicles used to transport affected people to and from healthcare facilities with ease, without risking the lives of healthy people. Robots can also be used for delivering groceries, cooking means, sterilizing hospitals, and patrolling the streets. Drones used for food deliveries, tracking population, carrying test kits and medicines to quarantine locations, thermal imaging to identify infected people, spraying disinfectants, and more. Many new areas and use cases are coming up with drones, robots, and autonomous vehicles.
Technology supported temperature monitoring
The wireless thermometer guns and other similar infrared body temperature measuring devices have become the most important medical equipment that is being used at checkpoints of offices, airports, hotels, hospitals, train stations, shops, and other public places. These technologies assist in measuring the body temperature from a distance and turn out to be effective in pinpointing the individuals who might need further investigation. Automated thermal monitoring along with facial recognition is making the process faster and more effective.
Remote working technologies to support social distancing and maintain business continuity
As pandemics or other calamities keep threatening the business world, working from home ensures business continuity as well as facilitates social distancing. In such a scenario, technologies that enable secure access to data, enterprise applications, virtual meetings, cloud conferencing, and virtual/mixed/augmented reality are the forefront leaders to ensure hassle-free deliverables. Remote working is a blessing that comes due to technology. It is also one of the greatest solution that helps us in social distancing.
Today the greatest risk of worldwide catastrophe is pandemic. An enormously infectious virus that’s more devastating and may kill many people. With the transparency regarding this current COVID-19 situation, we now understand that we are not geared up for this pandemic situation. Indeed, the technology has advanced more and will continue to advance exponentially.
Technology helped in dealing with the COVID Pandemic. But human institutions and societies need to accelerate in adapting to it. They must continue investing in building the technology systems for preparedness. After the COVID-19 outbreak, it is evident that, AI, robotics, technology innovations are also helping to manage the epidemic. We must better equip to fight future public health emergencies in a timely, systematic, and calm manner.