Article | August 13, 2020
The coronavirus outbreak in China has grown to a pandemic and is affecting the global health & social and economic dynamics. An ever increasing velocity and scale of analysis — in terms of both processing and access is required to succeed in the face of unimaginable shifts of market; health and social paradigms. The COVID-19 pandemic is accompanied by an Infodemic. With the global Novel Coronavirus pandemic filling headlines, TV news space and social media it can seem as if we are drowning in information and data about the virus. With so much data being pushed at us and shared it can be hard for the general public to know what is correct, what is useful and (unfortunately) what is dangerous. In general, levels of trust in scientists are quite high albeit with differences across countries and regions. A 2019 survey conducted across 140 countries showed that, globally, 72% of the respondents trusted scientists at “high” or “medium” levels. However, the proportion expressing “high” or “medium” levels of trust in science ranged from about 90% in Northern and Western Europe to 68% in South America and 48% in Central Africa (Rabesandratana, 2020).
In times of crisis, like the ongoing spread of COVID-19, both scientific & non-scientific data should be a trusted source for information, analysis and decision making. While global sharing and collaboration of research data has reached unprecedented levels, challenges remain. Trust in at least some of the data is relatively low, and outstanding issues include the lack of specific standards, co-ordination and interoperability, as well as data quality and interpretation. To strengthen the contribution of open science to the COVID-19 response, policy makers need to ensure adequate data governance models, interoperable standards, sustainable data sharing agreements involving public sector, private sector and civil society, incentives for researchers, sustainable infrastructures, human and institutional capabilities and mechanisms for access to data across borders.
The COVID19 data is cited critical for vaccine discovery; planning and forecasting for healthcare set up; emergency systems set up and expected to contribute to policy objectives like higher transparency and accountability, more informed policy debates, better public services, greater citizen engagement, and new business development. This is precisely why the need to have “open data” access to COVID-19 information is critical for humanity to succeed. In global emergencies like the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, open science policies can remove obstacles to the free flow of research data and ideas, and thus accelerate the pace of research critical to combating the disease. UNESCO have set up open access to few data is leading a major role in this direction. Thankfully though, scientists around the world working on COVID-19 are able to work together, share data and findings and hopefully make a difference to the containment, treatment and eventually vaccines for COVID-19.
Science and technology are essential to humanity’s collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the extent to which policymaking is shaped by scientific evidence and by technological possibilities varies across governments and societies, and can often be limited. At the same time, collaborations across science and technology communities have grown in response to the current crisis, holding promise for enhanced cooperation in the future as well.
A prominent example of this is the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), launched in 2017 as a partnership between public, private, philanthropic and civil society organizations to accelerate the development of epidemic vaccines. Its ongoing work has cut the expected development time for a COVID-19 vaccine to 12–18 months, and its grants are providing quick funding for some promising early candidates. It is estimated that an investment of USD 2 billion will be needed, with resources being made available from a variety of sources (Yamey, et al., 2020).
The Open COVID Pledge was launched in April 2020 by an international coalition of scientists, lawyers, and technology companies, and calls on authors to make all intellectual property (IP) under their control available, free of charge, and without encumbrances to help end the COVID-19 pandemic, and reduce the impact of the disease. Some notable signatories include Intel, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, Sandia National Laboratories, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Uber, Open Knowledge Foundation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and AT&T. The signatories will offer a specific non-exclusive royalty-free Open COVID license to use IP for the purpose of diagnosing, preventing and treating COVID-19.
Also illustrating the power of open science, online platforms are increasingly facilitating collaborative work of COVID-19 researchers around the world. A few examples include:
1. Research on treatments and vaccines is supported by Elixir, REACTing, CEPI and others.
2. WHO funded research and data organization.
3. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine releases a dataset about the environments that have led to significant clusters of COVID-19 cases,containing more than 250 records with date, location, if the event was indoors or outdoors, and how many individuals became infected. (7/24/20)
4. The European Union Science Hub publishes a report on the concept of data-driven Mobility Functional Areas (MFAs). They demonstrate how mobile data calculated at a European regional scale can be useful for informing policies related to COVID-19 and future outbreaks. (7/16/20)
While clinical, epidemiological and laboratory data about COVID-19 is widely available, including genomic sequencing of the pathogen, a number of challenges remain:
1. All data is not sufficiently findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR), or not yet FAIR data.
2. Sources of data tend to be dispersed, even though many pooling initiatives are under way, curation needs to be operated “on the fly”.
3. In addition, many issues arise around the interpretation of data – this can be illustrated by the widely followed epidemiological statistics. Typically, the statistics concern “confirmed cases”, “deaths” and “recoveries”. Each of these items seem to be treated differently in different countries, and are sometimes subject to methodological changes within the same country.
4. Specific standards for COVID-19 data therefore need to be established, and this is one of the priorities of the UK COVID-19 Strategy. A working group within Research Data Alliance has been set up to propose such standards at an international level.
Given the achievements and challenges of open science in the current crisis, lessons from prior experience & from SARS and MARS outbreaks globally can be drawn to assist the design of open science initiatives to address the COVID-19 crisis. The following actions can help to further strengthen open science in support of responses to the COVID-19 crisis:
1. Providing regulatory frameworks that would enable interoperability within the networks of large electronic health records providers, patient mediated exchanges, and peer-to-peer direct exchanges. Data standards need to ensure that data is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable, including general data standards, as well as specific standards for the pandemic.
2. Working together by public actors, private actors, and civil society to develop and/or clarify a governance framework for the trusted reuse of privately-held research data toward the public interest. This framework should include governance principles, open data policies, trusted data reuse agreements, transparency requirements and safeguards, and accountability mechanisms, including ethical councils, that clearly define duties of care for data accessed in emergency contexts.
3. Securing adequate infrastructure (including data and software repositories, computational infrastructure, and digital collaboration platforms) to allow for recurrent occurrences of emergency situations. This includes a global network of certified trustworthy and interlinked repositories with compatible standards to guarantee the long-term preservation of FAIR COVID-19 data, as well as the preparedness for any future emergencies.
4. Ensuring that adequate human capital and institutional capabilities are in place to manage, create, curate and reuse research data – both in individual institutions and in institutions that act as data aggregators, whose role is real-time curation of data from different sources.
In increasingly knowledge-based societies and economies, data are a key resource. Enhanced access to publicly funded data enables research and innovation, and has far-reaching effects on resource efficiency, productivity and competitiveness, creating benefits for society at large. Yet these benefits must also be balanced against associated risks to privacy, intellectual property, national security and the public interest.
Entities such as UNESCO are helping the open science movement to progress towards establishing norms and standards that will facilitate greater, and more timely, access to scientific research across the world. Independent scientific assessments that inform the work of many United Nations bodies are indicating areas needing urgent action, and international cooperation can help with national capacities to implement them. At the same time, actively engaging with different stakeholders in countries around the dissemination of the findings of such assessments can help in building public trust in science.
Article | August 13, 2020
A significant number of workers across the globe have been forced to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Enterprises saw a temporary dip in workforce productivity; however, with time, employee productivity has surged. A survey with 42 Indian CXOs by Deloitte says that 60% of the companies have reported an increase in individual employee productivity. Many organizations who were earlier not in favor of remote working, have been forced to try it and have realized that with certain policy changes, a remote working model can be beneficial for their organizations.
Article | August 13, 2020
Cloud technologies are ubiquitous and most organizations rely on cloud vendors to provide them with critical services and computing workloads. This ecosystem makes organizations deeply dependent on their cloud infrastructure with the most popular cloud providers being AWS and Azure. In correlation to the increased importance of cloud environments, the opportunities for security threats in these environments have increased dramatically. For this reason, cloud security has become a crucial part of any organization’s security strategy.
Article | August 13, 2020
When the Covid 19 Pandemic hit the world in March 2020, little did we know that it would bring the world to a standstill. When the trials of eliminating the pandemic seemed to be in vain, people started adapting to the “new normal.” Organizations from all sectors bought the best minds together to resume their functioning. Digitalization became compulsory. Thus, instead of waiting for the pandemic to end, people started finding out innovative ways to begin functioning with it.
When organizations resumed their functions, they started building flexible ways for the work to continue immaculately. From managing work from home to flexible working hours for individuals, everything was tried. Technologies in pandemic management emerged to support the changing functionalities.
1. Technology Adoption During Covid - 19
It was noted that;
● There was a 775% rise in cloud services.
● 58% of companies adopted digitalization by July 2020 (It was 36% in December 2019).
● 93% of organizations adapted remote working or collaborative technologies.
● 52% of educational institutions are operational remotely.
The above statistics are proof that technology in Covid 19 has emerged and is a catalyst for organizations to work remotely.
Let us look at some of the digital transformations and technologies that have been there for some time, but their use has been accelerated in the post covid world. And also at the emerging technologies that are here to stay for long.
2. Technologies In The Post Covid World
2.1 Generative Design
Generative Design is a manufacturing technology wherein AI & ML come together and create algorithms to produce a design and multiple iterations based on the specific requirements. When a particular design of the part is generated, an idea is fed into the system. Then the algorithm works out the best permutations and combinations of materials to be used, different designs, and specifications of the part. This assists the designers in choosing the best time and cost-saving combination.
Airbus has used generative design to build partition parts for A320 passenger aircraft. The generative design feature resulted in delivering a partition design that was 45% lighter than the previous ones.
2.2 Cloud Computing
With more and more organizations working remotely, cloud computing is on the rise. Of course, this technology has been there for a long time, but it is an accelerated technology in Covid 19.
As organizations adopted remote working, flexibility and reliability became important. Cloud services promised both at the best costs. Even small-scale businesses adopted cloud services to implement applications. Cloud services are cost-effective and easy to implement. Conferences, meetings, teaching, LMS, and work from home can be easily managed by cloud computing.
This technology in Covid 19 has seen a sky-touching rise and is here to stay for a long time.
2.3 Collaborative Tools
With work from home being so active, security of data, ease of communication, and resource management are the challenges to be handled. Organizations need tools that provide ease of access, communications, and coordination between all the departments. This is where collaborative tools play an important role in technology in Covid.
Collaborative tools assure that all the employees work on one platform. For example, communication, meetings, sales, HR, and all the departments work on one system. These tools synchronize the work of the company and make management effortless.
Microsoft has introduced Fluid Components to support their hybrid working system. Creating a one-of-a-kind meeting room experience to seamlessly streamlining all processes, fluid components will assist them in all possible ways.
2.4 Digitization of Businesses
As said earlier, the stats portray an impeccable increase in the digitization of organizations in the initial 6-month phase of the pandemic. And it increased every day. Businesses in the post coronavirus realize that an online presence is the most efficient and easy way to reach their target audience. Also, it requires limited resources.
The digital conversion of business happened in the post-Covid world, but it will not be a conversion for new companies but a compulsion for new businesses. For businesses to run profitable, technology-driven solutions are a must. This shift of businesses is guaranteed profitable and customer-centric. Digitization helps in removing geographical barriers and cater customers on a broader scale.
With the comprehensive support of AI, automation has gained momentum and promises a bright future for companies. From customer retention to generating sales, the software is developed to give an automated process. Even industries are employing AI and ML to automate their processes from manufacturing to delivery.
The automation industry was developing rapidly in the pre-Covid world but this technology in Covid 19 has seen a boom. Examples of automation are planting sensors, 3D printers, embedded metrology, etc.
China is the world leader in manufacturing due to its low labor charges, but things could change and are changing in the post-Covid world. Japanese companies have been into automation for a long time. These companies can mark their global footprints in these changing times.
IoT (Internet of Things) is a technology in Covid 19 that has gained tremendous momentum. As a result, the prices for sensors, software, and internet-connected things have gone down reasonably. IoT assists with endless possibilities to collect, transfer, and store data for a seamless working environment with minimal or no human intervention.
From home appliances to fleet management, each and everything can be managed remotely. The devices can be controlled remotely when the engineer at the other end has accurate information. IoT has proved to be a success in all sectors.
IoT has played an important role in recovering businesses while fighting the pandemic. In addition, IoT technology in Covid 19 has been implemented for smart homes, smart buildings and is paving the way for a brighter future by implementation in smart cities.
3. Advantages Of Adopting Technology In Covid 19
If you want to be a part of an industrial revolution, you need to adapt to the new ways of doing business. As the human race adapts to the ‘new normal,’ so do the businesses.
The technologies that have emerged in the post covid world promise the answer to most of the challenges. These new technologies promise a more innovative and profitable business with minimum flaws.
Here are some of the advantages of introducing the technologies in your business.
● Cost reduction, speed, and resilience
● Top-notch crisis management
● Top graded data security
● 100% customer satisfaction
● Unprecedented revenue growth
It sounds unbelievable but adopting emerging technologies does deliver more than it asks. For example, the pandemic tried to bring life to a standstill, but the alternate routes to survive proved more fruitful.
4. To Sum It All Up
Technology in Covid 19 addresses all the challenges from planning to execution. Employees are adapting quickly to the new trends as they are employee-centric. These technologies provide the necessary transparency and comfort for employees. Employers benefit as they have the best ROI, and the management of employees is no more an issue.
The adoption of technology in Covid 19 promises a brighter and more innovative future. These post covid technologies already have a host of success stories.
Thanks to the innovation of the above technologies, functions of collaboration, communication, and interconnectedness of devices are stable, continuous, and consistent. However, when all the sectors are required to work simultaneously, which is critical in moving forward, specific changes have to be implemented.
It is high time that companies accelerate their digitization process and implement the required technologies to benefit the employer and the employees.
5. Frequently Asked Questions
5.1 What technologies are used in business?
Businesses use technology depending on their operations and uses. But collaborative tools with implementation of IoT, AI, and other productivity tools are used in collaboration.
Every sector has its set of technologies to be used. So there are technologies for computers, software, networking, manufacturing systems, and more.
5.2 Why should businesses use technology?
Businesses should use technology to accelerate ROI and improve operations. Technology eases the day-to-day operations of the organization and promises minimum errors. In addition, there is productivity, transparent communication, and guaranteed security.
5.3 What are the most important types of technology?
AI is the most crucial type of technology that is groundbreaking and promising in challenging times. AI & ML, combined, can create wonders for any organization.
"name": "What technologies are used in business?",
"text": "Businesses use technology depending on their operations and uses. But collaborative tools with implementation of IoT, AI, and other productivity tools are used in collaboration.
Every sector has its set of technologies to be used. So there are technologies for computers, software, networking, manufacturing systems, and more."
"name": "Why should businesses use technology?",
"text": "Businesses should use technology to accelerate ROI and improve operations. Technology eases the day-to-day operations of the organization and promises minimum errors. In addition, there is productivity, transparent communication, and guaranteed security."
"name": "What are the most important types of technology?",
"text": "AI is the most crucial type of technology that is groundbreaking and promising in challenging times. AI & ML, combined, can create wonders for any organization."