In Asia, telemedicine solutions are nothing new, an answer to physician shortages or rural residents looking to consult with a medical specialist. However, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it to the forefront, as markets like Singapore implemented the solution into their national plans to combat the virus. Apps like China-based Ping An Good Doctor have seen up to a 900% increase in users. The pandemic’s rippling effects have catalyzed a united push toward tech solutions that keep people safe, secure, connected, and well.
In a similar vein, large numbers of homebound workers have turned to the growth of the cloud and its role in keeping us connected. AI has also seen an uptick during our new normal, as its role in workflows helps remote workers and learners more streamline their work.
The business world will feel effects of advancements like these for years to come, a signifier of our capability to create smart solutions and work with technology that can push entire communities forward.
Cloud and data services have provided connection where we needed it most
During a period where many of us have experienced a disruption in our daily lives, it is more important than ever to work smarter, not harder. Data is a great success partner for public and private entities.
Many enterprises have had to shift large numbers of their workforce to home-based work for weeks on end, furthering the push to store data in the cloud so that employees can perform tasks with little lag. Web conferencing solutions in Asia Pacific are now expected to grow by 24.3% globally and 25% in Asia Pacific this year, in a change motivated by COVID-19 . Meanwhile, cloud services from providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and have enabled companies to operate everything from streaming services to file transferring services.
Data sharing has proved useful to national agencies, which have helped governments around the world gain a more accurate debrief about COVID-19’s effects. That in turn has informed their strategies to combat the virus. Meanwhile, data hosting between emergency responders has helped keep teams connected and safe around the world.
But companies reaping the benefits that the cloud and data provide must take on the responsibility of securing the information shared. COVID-19 has seen an uptick in cybersecurity threats, as is usual for hackers with other significant disasters or high-profile events. Good data protection methods can help provide stability during a time of relative instability – and further future-proof our government agencies and companies moving forward.
Currently, more than 5 billion consumers interact with data daily – by 2025, that number will be 6 billion, or 75% of the world’s population. Look for a solution that is scalable, meets the needs of company using it, and has the ability to adapt to the ever-changing world we live in.
Governments and frontliners work alongside AI for lifesaving insights
AI’s predictive capabilities as well as its capacity to crunch large amounts of data and pull out insights has proved invaluable to shaping strategies and staying connected during the COVID-19 outbreak. BlueDot, an app inspired by the spread of SARS, was able to predict and send out travel advisories for Wuhan as well as major hubs in Asia in 2019 by analyzing information like airplane ticket sales.
Singapore, in a bid to combat inaccurate news spreading via WhatsApp, implemented an official WhatsApp alert system that uses AI translation to power multi-lingual WhatsApp updates.
Doctors in 52 countries including India, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines – are using AI apps like Bot MD to communicate and stay updated on the latest COVID-19 developments and action clinical research across data sources. This lends a hand to short-staffed medical personnel who are used to communicating in team setups.
Meanwhile, video data has played a positive role during the COVID-19 outbreak. Singapore, South Korea, (China), and India have implemented video tech to varying degrees to help curb the spread of the virus. Singapore has used the technology to keep to safe distancing capacity within nature areas, while Taiwan has used biometric details at the border to help determine whether or not individuals need to be quarantined.
In Wuhan, a Smart Field Hospital resulted from a collaboration between Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, telecom China Mobile and cloud robotics systems maker CloudMinds. Designed to alleviate pressure on healthcare workers and minimize infection through person-to-person contact, patients inside receive temperature checks, food, beverages and even dance classes from the robots. These preventative measures extend to physical healthcare workers so that they can also monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
Digital and robotic solutions present a significant development for urban centers looking to digitize and work toward smarter design.
COVID-19 learnings may find useful in smart city design
Helpful for frontliners, AI can also lend itself toward both defending and pursuing business goals, and powering smart cities. For instance, video data proves useful if one needs to figure out when a store was robbed. AI can help investigators decide which parts of the videos need to be viewed based on optimized features that flag suspicious behavior.
These systems can crunch a massive amount of data, such as security footage for public transportation in a hub like Singapore, which sees 7.5 million passengers on average per day, or for matters at a bank that require additional identity verification.
COVID-19 has pushed online and/or app-based delivery services to the limit, and AI can help ease the burden. AI can also lend humans a hand, improving accuracy in supply chain by verifying deliveries, shipments, and charges for orders.
Letting AI keep track of foot traffic can aid businesses and urban centers in planning for optimal service – prime opening hours, where to build new parking structures and even with business continuity plans, like who to put on a split team.
COVID-19 has presented us with challenges – but also shown the ways in which our businesses are capable of overcoming these challenges. If we take what we have learned and use it to move forward, we can accomplish a safer, more secure and more convenient future for our businesses.