COVID-19 Technology Trends

COVID-19 Technology Trends

Technologies like mobile, cloud, analytics, robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, 4G/5G, and high-speed internet are phenomenally mitigating the disruptive burden of the lockdown imposed by the pandemic unleashed by COVID-19 virus. Further, the technologies are preventing the spread of the pandemic by empowering all factions of the global society through relevant precedents, real-time facts, and accurate forecasts. Companies like Google, Facebook, and YouTube have joined hands to channel the people to access only the correct and verified information issued by the government and other authorized bodies like the UN, WHO, etc. The propagation of misleading information is thus curtailed to create a transparent scenario with clarity of information for the people to make right decisions and adhere to best practices.

Similarly, and most importantly, technology in the form of AI is playing significant role in helping scientists to find a Covid-19 Vaccine. “Teams at the Allen Institute for AI, Google DeepMind have created AI tools, shared datasets, and research results. In January (2020), Google DeepMind introduced AlphaFold, a cutting-edge system that predicts the 3D structure of a protein based on its genetic sequence. The University of Texas at Austin and the National Institutes of Health used a popular biology technique to create the first 3D atomic scale map of the part of the virus that attaches to and infects human cells—the spike protein”. [1]

Coming to the hygiene quotient, an invention that typifies the uniqueness of technology in countering the fury of the pandemic is the “Hygiene Smart Band” [2] Slightly Robot, a US-based company, has redesigned its wearable device in a wristband, by coding it to raise an alarm whenever the user tries to touch the face. Renamed Immutouch, the company believes that its product is “a big breakthrough, especially at this time when people are advised to maintain serious hygiene” [2]. Scylla, another company in the US, which specialises in AI tools and technology for detecting possession of ammunition by entrants in universities and cafes, made small upgrades to its software to enable its devices to record human temperature. This contactless temperature checker is another stellar technological invention that is well received by both private and public institutions, and is already widely utilized and replicated.

Thanks to online shopping facilities and digital payment gateways, the minimum contact e-commerce portals have saved the world from going to panic mode. The people who are confined to their homes due to the lockdown can now satiate their essential necessities like food, grocery, hygiene products, etc., and infrastructural necessities for home schooling, and working from home. The technological nuances in this regard that are forecasted for the future include “contactless movement and deliveries through autonomous vehicles, drones and robots” [2].

The oft-cited technological feat in the COVID-situation is the work from home (WHF) scenario. Though a cliché already, the role of technology in ensuring the seamless transition of offices into homes to ensure the harmonious conduct of all business and institutional processes is undeniably worth the mention. This, in addition to supporting business continuity, has also ensured the maintenance of social distancing norm. In this context, “secure access to data, enterprise applications, virtual meetings, cloud conferencing, and virtual/mixed/augmented reality are the forefront leaders to ensure deliverables are not impacted” [2].

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) and other technologies are increasingly being used to support efforts to combat and contain the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic [3]. Notwithstanding, in the post-COVID world scientific advancements from AI to robotics would continue to play an exponential role by establishing itself as an inevitable and major component in all the activities of mankind and the world. It is only up to the human institutions and societies to realize that technology has already aligned with their routine stream of progress, and, hence, keep pace with it and adopt it as an integral part of their being.