Technology has found itself at center stage. Whether it be supporting business continuity, delivering data insights to help flatten the curve or super-charging our fight to find a cure and contain the spread of COVID-19, technology is writing the modern pandemic playbook. Enterprise technology companies would be wise to lean into this discussion and challenge themselves on when and where their innovations can meaningfully contribute.
While a large part of the narrative focused on video conferencing, remote work and virtualization technologies, it’s only just the beginning. Big Tech leaders like IBM, Google and Facebook, as well as e-commerce brands and streaming services, will drive important conversations around new applications of futuristic technologies, using real-world examples from COVID-19 response efforts as evidence of their promise.
Here are a few areas we expect to see command the news cycle:
- Artificial Intelligence – AI is a powerful tool and is being used in extraordinary ways, except it has one flaw. AI relies on patterns and behaviors, and few things disrupt those like a pandemic. Nobody could have predicted what the globe has been facing in the past few months. Now, organizations are having to rethink how they use AI and how it’s programmed. Can we rely on AI in ever-changing times?
- Blockchain – We have known for a while that blockchain has untapped potential. Now more than ever, blockchain can transform the supply chain. One way that is can be used is in monitoring and tracking N95 masks for hospital workers. It can track where masks are going, as well as stop counterfeit masks from being sold as real ones. We’re seeing the drastic and awful effects of an outdated and unreliable supply chain right now. Blockchain has the potential to transform it.
- Data Privacy – Without data, we cannot stop the virus. The propagation of data models across national news and local governments has proven that. Tapping into this data will help governments and citizens understand how widespread the virus really is, where life-saving supplies are truly needed, who is healthy, who is not and how quickly COVID-19 is spreading. Governments are relying on data from enterprise tech companies – like Facebook – to create mobile apps and portals for citizens to either diagnose, understand or track the virus. Whether it’s through tracking a mobile device, providing antibodies to everyone and logging results online, or a mobile app to declare one’s health, technology will play a huge role in slowing the spread of the virus. But this also brings up the question of privacy – how willing are the American people to provide data that could stop the spread? Understanding data, knowing where it’s going, who is using it and how it’s being used will be an interesting topic of conversation moving forward.
- Open Source – Open source allows companies to continue innovating with limited resources. Its open nature, which allows developers to borrow and share code, really lends itself to the current times. Developers and organizations better collaborate so innovation and advancement can continue, even during an economic downturn.
- Cloud – Bloomberg recently reported that cloud computing is seeing an increase during the pandemic, which is no surprise now that everyone is operating remotely. Cloud is aiding in business continuity, making everything from business-critical tasks to virtual happy hours a reality for organizations large and small. For example, the cloud is proving essential in facilitating financial planning and modeling facing many companies grappling with the economic impacts of COVID-19 “from home.” Even in the face of IT budget cuts, cloud computing is emerging as a business essential for companies that want to thrive in the future.
These are just a few of the many ways that enterprise tech is impacting the fight against COVID-19, and will inform response to future pandemics. There is a long road of recovery ahead, but with the help of technology and great minds, we’ll come out of this smarter and better.
To learn more about how you can adjust your strategies to fight the pandemic, visit our resource center.