Almost 10 days before the World Health Organization declare a novel corona outbreak in Wuhan an AI driven company BlueDot had already raised an alarm. With a common enemy to fight the entire human race has joined hands and we find technology as our greatest ally in all walks of life.
The healthcare community is being helped by Robots to carry out redundant tasks in China, it has given a lot of respite to highly stressed frontline medical workers. Drones are being used to deliver essential medicines and delivery of test samples. Telemedicine and Online consulting platforms like Practo and Clinikk are being used heavily during the lockdown. Practo has seen a 30% surge in 2 weeks after the lockdown. Apollo group of hospitals has launched an online tool to help people access their corona virus risk.
The scientific community is racing against time to find a vaccine for Covid-19. Developing a vaccine took up to 10 years earlier because of the amount of research and trials involved. With newer technology the Covid-19 genetic sequence is already available, and several labs are working on a faster way to synthetically creating a vaccine. Information exchange is already happening at a faster pace by using technology, not to mention Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $60 million for the research.
Governments and Administrations are using technology in all possible ways. Based on predictive analysis, countries have tried to flatten the curve and avoided a complete breakdown of their healthcare system. China has successfully used drones and googles that help identify people with high temperature within a crowd. India, South Korea and a few other countries are disinfecting public places and using drones for surveillance and public announcements, while UK is trying to amend its laws to use drones.
China has come up with ‘Close Contact Detector’ mobile app while India has its own version ‘AarogyaSetu’ which helps you calculate the risk of infection based on your mobile’s location data and AI. Social media is being used to spread awareness and preventive measures to protect against corona. Many administrations are issuing electronic passes to essential workers and people in need. Government of India has also launched an interactive WhatsApp chatbot ‘MyGov Corona Helpdesk’ which can start helping you on your virus-related queries by just sending a ‘Hi’ on 91-90131 51515
Businesses are not far behind in leveraging technology. Thanks to faster internet and the 4G revolution many companies have adopted Work from Home policy to keep themselves running during the lockdown. Remote collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Zoom are being used not only for work but also for eLearning across schools. Microsoft teams has seen a growth of close to 40% in less than a week. Some of these tools are being offered free of cost for an extended timeframe. Progressive businesses that moved from on-prem to the cloud are reaping the benefits and able to run close to 100% even with a remote model.
When almost half the world population is under lockdown and our basic social instinct is being challenged technology has come up as a savior in coping with many life challenges. People cannot step out, but they are using social networks to keep in touch. The very mobile phone we criticized for making us anti-social is proving to be a boon helping us keep social distance. Houseparty and other video conferencing tool are helping us keep our sanity by arranging e-meetups with friends and families sitting far away.
Zoos like Hoston Zoo and aquariums are live streaming video feeds for kids and nature lovers. Museums and national Parks are not far behind with live feeds and virtual tours. People fearing to step out are using Home Delivery apps for groceries and food delivery. Even smaller stores have utilized technology and started accepting orders using WhatsApp. Big Bazaar was quick to launch an online shop in a very short time.
Fitness freaks are using home-based fitness routines and gyms have started arranging virtual fitness classes. Strava has its own #SOLOdarity challenge and Adidas running has come up with Fit from Home Challenge to ensure we maintain our fitness levels even when we are confined within our homes.
Streaming services have seen a rise of 20% over a weekend and online games saw a surge of 75% in a week. Thus, technology has helped us keep our sanity even during the lockdown.
With uncertain times ahead, social distancing, work from home , home deliveries might be the new norms of the society and Technology might be the next ‘Avtar’ for humanity.