Role of Technology during COVID-19 Pandemic

Since beginning the connect between technology and human race has been remarkable. Humans have been continuously putting in lot of efforts in new innovations, technology advancements and its adoption etc. In every era, technology has proven its advantage for humanity if its been used in the right way.

This pandemic has enabled a new ecosystem for the survival of the human race where technology has played an insignificant role. Governments, Organizations, Academic Institutes, Health agencies of different countries, are utilizing and adopting the available technology in varied ways to manage the situation effectively. The development and implementation of different solutions aimed at combating the COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly and continuously taking the shape.

The availability of information is the essence of any civilization. Each one of us have been getting lot of information sitting at home which is helping us to become aware of the new virus, how to handle its outbreak, what are the Do’s and Don’ts etc etc. Relevant-Irrelevant both types of information is available, it is up to us to choose what is relevant for us and what needs to be discarded. It is up to us to utilize the available information in the required manner.

Ms. Preeti Kanwar, (Chief Information Security Officer), NEC Technologies India

Digitalization has enabled us to screen the population, track the infection, prioritize and allocate the required resources, and ultimately design targeted responses. Since long there are debates about the pros and cons of surveillance. But during this situation, even extensive surveillance has proved its advantages. Various different kind of surveillance methodologies has been implemented to help WHO / Govt / concerned agencies to track the movement of citizens, track their contact histories and raise the alarms if anyone comes in contact with an infected person.  There are varied different kind of applications which are helping us in the initial detection of disease, in contacting the concerned agencies/ stakeholders during emergencies. With the advent of technology, we do not feel alone and helpless even if we are in isolation. There are also discussions going on where AI-based testing might be done based upon your voice and other responses.

Technology has enabled business continuity for many organizations and sectors even during this crisis by enabling their workforce to work from home. Since long, success for WFH (Work From Home) was a dilemma for many organizations. But the current COVID-19 situation has resolved our long-existing dilemma by pushing all of us to adhere to WFH model. Need of the hour is – to embrace the technology, to innovate the ways for new model enablement and to ensure that SECURITY is not optional.With availability of wide range of Collaboration tools,organizations  are able to establish effective and secured communication protocols within the teams and with their customers and partners. I agree there are few sectors which can not continue with their business during these kinds of situations but still there are many which can, and those who can, should explore the required technology enablement and usage of right kind of tools and techniques.

With the availability of technology, we are not only able to manage the businesses but are also able to maintain the connectivity with our families and friends. It is heartening to imagine the lock-down without these kind of collaboration tools. Today, even if we are not able to visit our near and dears, still we are able to have video and audio calls with them anytime – anywhere. With the closure of worldwide Universities, Schools; with the help of technology and collaboration tools students are engaged and are able to continue with their studies, can talk to their friends, can play virtual games, do exercise etc which is a big relief for most of the parents.

I would say end to end automation is highly required and is the need of the hour to face the situations like COVID-19. Because of lack of human presence at work, any manual activity is prone to errors and delays which can be perfected using the automation. During this major crisis robots have taken the front seat to help the human race.  At certain places, Robotics has proven their value to treat and help quarantined patients without any human contact saving lot of health workers from getting infected. Robots contributed in preparing meals at hospitals, spraying disinfectants at various locations. In many hospitals, robots even performed diagnosis and conducted thermal imaging. Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak has utilized the robotics very effectively to server their patients. As per a report, a small robot named Little Peanut even delivered food to passengers on a flight from Singapore to Hangzhou, China.Drones also have proved their worth during this crisis, by transporting medical equipment and patient samples, in some of the severely affected areas, where humans were at a risk of catching the infection.

Where technology has proven its worth beyond doubt, there is the flip side as well if technology is not being handled properly or misused by human beings. In that case humans are to be blamed not the advancement of technology. It is prime responsibility of all of us to utilize the technology in the required manner. On one side, increased surveillance of citizens have provided the helping hand in controlling the spread of the disease; on the other side might prove to be unfavorable if personal data is not being handled properly.  A sincere advice to everyone to not to misuse the technology rather to use it for the benefit of human race.

STAY AWARE, STAY VIGIL, STAY SAFE