i3 | July 07, 2020

Resiliency in the Age of COVID-19

Susan Schreiner

To battle the COVID-19 pandemic, tech companies are working with health care organizations, nonprofits, academia and startups to share their expertise, insights, and data to inform actions and decisions needed to flatten the pandemic’s curve.

The COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition is one such private-industry led response. Among the participating organizations are Amazon Web Services, Athenahealth, Cerner, Diagnostic Robots, Epic, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, MITRE and Oura.

Many companies are working on detection systems and tests. Infervision launched a coronavirus artificial intelligence (AI) medical imaging platform that looks for signs of pneumonia in lung scans and can diagnose coronavirus in minutes. And, Hilab has developed a rapid blood test to identify pneumonia faster.

Companies are deploying robots, drones and automation technology to assist hospitals, senior care homes and to disinfect public places. UVD Robots provides self-driving disinfection robots that use ultraviolet light to kill viruses and bacteria autonomously.

Resiliency and Connectivity

A self-driving disinfection robot from UVD Robots.

With stay-at-home orders in effect across the country, telecommuting from home is a new norm — and could change how people will expect to work in the future. Platforms like Zoom and Slack are connecting families and colleagues through video chat. COVID-19 is also changing online streaming behavior globally. Television interviews are being conducted via Skype and other digital channels.

Viewers are going inside the homes of their favorite celebrity or broadcaster to get their news. As storefronts shutter, remote connectivity is moving more businesses online and moving education towards greater distance learning opportunities and online teaching resources.

Remote communications, virtual doctor visits and telehealth are using technology to make the health care community more resilient, but it took COVID-19 to catapult it forward. Desperate to free-up beds for the sickest COVID-19 patients, hospitals nationwide are using new technologies to monitor patients from their homes. Virtual visits are part of the new norm to reduce contact with others, expedite access to non-emergency care and decrease patients from going to overloaded hospitals.

This pandemic is also showing the obstacles to being resilient. School closures and remote work are showcasing the inequities in access to high-speed internet, and how it can impact access to education, work and health care delivery during a crisis.

The public-private sectors are working together to make systems and accessibility more resilient. In March 2020, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened the door for Verizon to use more spectrum to help the operator meet increased demand for mobile broadband during the pandemic. Similarly, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) published guidelines for countries to develop contingency plans to keep networks online in times of national emergencies.

New Beginnings

As we look ahead as to how the coronavirus could reshape everyday life — technology is at the center of the critical infrastructure that modern life depends on and that enables physical ‘resiliency’ — the medical supply chain, the food supply chain, and the complexity of supplying stuff, like apparel and even toilet paper — as well as the entertainment/information supply chain.

Companies are bringing the full force of technology for the betterment of humanity.

Reach Susan at susan@c4trends.com

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