As the world is struggling to cope with COVID -19, governments worldwide are working on lockdowns to reduce and eventually eliminate the virus naturally. Interestingly, governments are now turning to technology more than ever, to find plausible solutions that can help limit the spread of COVID-19. The results, moreover, have been favoring, to say the very least. Several available and emerging technologies have made it possible to innovate and limit the spread of COVID-19.
We looked at various technology solutions from all over the world that are being used to control the outbreak - from deliveries to tracking, to remote working, to education, etc. According to WEF, 191 countries announced or implemented school or university closures as of mid-April, thereby impacting 1.57 billion students leading to universities and schools moving their courses and classes online with the use of technology. Technological solutions are proving to be critical in the way governments are handling the pandemic and thus it is important to understand the various solutions that are being implemented, and how.
Contact Tracing: Part of the multi-pronged approach to fight the COVID-19
Countries around the world are working on and rolling out contact tracing apps and techniques to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. The idea is to digitally identify people who potentially may be exposed to Coronavirus and thereby need to self-isolate. The Australian government was one of the first to launch such an app, named COVIDsafe. Similarly, The Singapore government launched the TraceTogether app in march, 2020. The app uses Bluetooth to trace interactions between users of the app. The data is stored on the individual’s phone, and in case of a positive corona patient, the respective authorities allow the data to alert all those who possibly have been exposed to the positive patient.
Contact tracing and/or location tracking has in particular been essential since it allows the authorities to know the whereabouts of a positive case and how many people have been close to that person.
Robots: Helping Medical staff stay safe
Since the breakout of the pandemic, a lot of companies are focusing on contact-less solutions, thereby bringing robots into the picture. The usage of these robots ranges from deliveries to interaction via screens. Doctors in USA are using a device called Vici, that is a telehealth device. The device allows the doctors to interact with the patients, via a screen. The screen is a tablet-sized and is fixed on wheels and can be used by doctors to speak to patients and perform basic diagnostic functions.
In Singapore, robots are delivering meals and medications. One of the isolation wards in China’s Wuhan was entirely manned by robots. Robots were responsible for taking temperatures, delivering food and medications. According to Reuters, a small robot called Little Peanut was delivering food to passengers on a flight from Singapore to Hangzhou, China who were being held under quarantine in a hotel.
Self-driven cars for deliveries and data collection
American self-driving car companies are taking their cars to the street to collect data and assist with contact-free grocery and medication deliveries without any human contact. They are also being used to clean and disinfect roads. It is also helping self-driving car companies to test actual performance and gather relevant data.
Blockchain: Coming to the rescue of banks
Blockchain in banking has been talked about for a while now; however, it is now being used more to avoid the risk of infection spread. Italy's 32 banks had a full production of the largest deployments of blockchain. The application was built by Associazione Bancaria Italiana (ABI), the Italian Banking Association with an aim to promptly and proficiently reconcile differences in the separate ledgers for so-called Nostro and Vostro accounts that Italian banks hold for each other. Blockchain is providing simple solutions to digitize banking, thereby reducing contact.
Many countries have installed AI-powered thermal cameras, that have the ability to identify people’s temperatures in a crowd for a fever. This temperature detection enables a contactless yet rapid solution. We can also use facial-recognition technology to be able to identify all those without a mask.
Health apps/Tracking via QR codes
Governments around the world have developed a health rating system based on color-coding to be able to track everyone daily. The app assigns the following colors- green, red, or yellow and these are assigned basis travel and medical history of a person.
These color codes are accessible via an app and help in deciding whether a person should be quarantined or if he/she is allowed to be out in public spaces. To make this more effective, the authorities have installed various checkpoints at almost all public spaces, to be able to verify the color.
Health Companies and hospitals are providing chatbots that interact with the patients inside the hospital. The chatbots are rolled out particularly for emergency rooms, that enable patients to enroll in ER and thereby have constant updates about their care via the chatbot. The chatbot sends all kinds of updates, such as arrival time of doctor, test, or a lab result, etc. This provides an ease to both the hospital staff and the patients, as it ensures timely updates.
Another very interesting technology that has come into the public eye is drones. While drones have been gaining popularity for quite some time now, their usage has increased during the pandemic, especially in severely affected areas. Drones have been used around the world, in multiple countries to enable deliveries of medical equipment, drugs, food, etc. This eliminates any human contact, thereby containing the infection in that limited area and not spreading it. Drones have also been used in agriculture, to be spray disinfectants, etc on crops.
How can TechAhead help
TechAhead, an award-winning top mobile app development company, has over 10 years of experience serving Fortune 500 clients to high growth enterprises. The company has proven expertise in the Internet of Things (IoT), and other emerging technologies such as AR-VR and their integration with mobile apps.
At TechAhead, we deliver solutions designed based on your business requirements. Our team of experts provides end to end solutions from consulting to execution to designs, to development, to launch and maintenance.
While things may seem challenging right now, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Technology is already proving to be an effective solution that is helping control the spread of the pandemic. With newer innovations and emerging technologies, we are optimistic that our learning from this pandemic will not just curb the spread but also be useful in future pandemics.