It’s now been over a month since the UK went into lockdown and the world as we know it was flipped on our heads.
While some catastrophes can never be fully contained, the extent of their effects can always be minimised. And unlike with pandemics of the past, we’ve got connectivity in our corner this time—which has been pivotal in helping businesses continue as best they can, and equipping healthcare workers to deal with the situation.
Keeping the ball rolling for businesses
Social distancing and self-isolation practices in the COVID-19 outbreak aren’t as harmful to the world’s economy as they would have been twenty, or even ten years ago—and this is down to the high-speed, reliable connectivity that’s available for businesses today. Some industries have been hit harder than others, but remote working allows many businesses to stay on track.
Cellular connectivity based on cloud and fog computing has equipped many businesses to keep running their day-to-day activities, without compromising the health and safety of their employees. Softwares like Google Meet and Zoom allow up to hundreds of people at once to take part in crucial teleconferences; contribute to research seminars; and of course, run company pub quizzes. All you need is a reliable connection, your gadget of choice, and an invitation to join. Huge research organisations like the IEEE haven’t cancelled their annual conferences for this very reason.
Though some industries have borne the brunt of the worldwide lockdowns, many are finding ways to keep the ball rolling through connectivity. Restaurants have taken their menus online through food delivery apps. Gyms and fitness trainers are running classes via video. And Airbnb have created a virtual experience platform where hosts can give tours, share skills, and even put on concerts for online guests.
The rise of telemedicine
As modern technology advances, so does connectivity’s role in the healthcare industry; as seen in the recent developments in the field of telemedicine.
Enabled by modern cellular networks, telemedicine is the delivery of healthcare services across any sort of distance through tech—whether that’s remote diagnostics or illness treatment and prevention.
It’s been a key player in the COVID-19 pandemic. First in China and the US, and now here in the UK, doctors are using telemedicine to treat patients from afar with screenings, video visits, and secure messaging services. Because vital signs can be transmitted and advice given without the need for physical contact, doctors don’t need to put themselves at risk of catching the virus; this also frees up time and resources, so that more patients can be attended across the board.
It also lowers the risk for patients who’ve got other health issues. Take those with heart problems, for example: cloud-connected IoT pacemakers that trace patients’ cardiac activity are helping doctors to keep an eye on heart health—doubly important, since these patients fall into the COVID-19 high risk category.
And even more possibilities open up when you add AI into the mix. Data from facial-recognition tech and temperature scanners can be fed to a well-trained AI, and used to track potential COVID-19 carriers—which could be very important for the world’s slow transition back to normalcy.
Robots on the frontline
Speaking of AI, healthcare robots are being built to reduce the risks for frontline workers in China, Italy, Spain, and India. The models currently in use are fully automated, equipped to monitor heart rate, respiratory activity, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and more. They’re being used for tasks ranging from simple supply drops, to conducting tests for the virus without any need for human input. Some can even disinfect themselves at set intervals, and may soon be able to disinfect local areas. Spain is using just four of these bots to ramp up their daily COVID-19 tests from 20,000 to 80,000.
The road to recovery
It’s encouraging to know there are so many ways to counter the effects of the pandemic—and it’s a testament to the fortitude of the industry that Channel partners continue to provide these solutions despite everything.
Nonetheless, the road to economic and societal recovery will be a bumpy one. Businesses won’t go back to normal straight away in the coming months; they’ll need to stagger their approaches. And even then, the aftermath may look entirely different, as workforces realise they’ve got the option to go remote—reducing both costs and carbon footprint.
Healthcare will look different too. Doctors who were previously hesitant about digital transformation are embracing telemedicine, and much of the red tape stopping hospitals acquiring tech is being cut. We’re very likely to see the UK government encourage medical centres to invest in IoT and seamless, reliable connectivity.
The Channel needs to be prepared to meet that demand. If you’re ready to be a key connectivity player in the road to recovery, give us a call.Contact us