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2020-05-08

COVID-19 Tech Propelling the Speed of Digital Transformation

Other than preventive measures like wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing, the world took a strong stand against the virus by coming up with coronavirus inventions. We are showing innovativeness in an unprecedented manner by modifying existing products or inventing new ones to fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Other than preventive measures like wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing, the world took a strong stand against the virus by coming up with coronavirus inventions. We are showing innovativeness in an unprecedented manner by modifying existing products or inventing new ones to fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Singapore government has developed a new contact tracing app called “Tracetogether” to track who people have been in contact with to reduce the spread of COVID-19. By using wireless Bluetooth technology, "Tracetogether" can identify people who have been within 2 meters of the user. If a person is confirmed to be infected, the authorities will be able to quickly locate his/her close contacts. It allows an easier identification of potential cases and helps curb the spread of the virus. Official contact tracers will verify with users to allow the data to be submitted to authorities.

Other than contact tracing, testing kits are also very important in this coronavirus fight. In South Korea, a life science company came up with a coronavirus testing kit within three weeks with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI). A normal testing kit will take 2-3 months to develop, but with AI, they managed to shorten the timeframe to 3 weeks, and get approval and certification within a week. The newly developed testing kits enabled South Korea to do widespread of testing which is tantamount to their success in flattening the curve of mounting infections.

South Korea also uses AI-based diagnostic tools to improve diagnosis efficiency and patient classification. A hospital in South Korea used a chest X-ray AI image support decision tool to identify abnormal findings on chest X-rays, and the results can be shown within 3 seconds. Another hospital used big data and AI from various imaging devices and developed an application that can examine lung disease in seconds. It also produced an AI-based, hand-held chest X-ray camera which can scan the chest in 3 seconds. All these AI-driven innovations help speed up the diagnostic process and enable the authorities to quarantine and treat COVID-19 patients in a timely manner, limiting the exposure to others.

In the USA, a professor from Worcester Polytechnic Institute of robotics engineering and mechanical engineering decided to design a low-cost and easy-to-operate ventilator to help addressing a shortage of commercial ventilators during the coronavirus pandemic. He and his team plan to release the design publicly so that anyone with a 3D printer and a little knowledge of engineering can produce the ventilator quickly and at scale. The ventilator helps COVID-19 patients whom lungs are compromised, thereby affecting their abilities to breathe and helps prevent pneumonia. 

Many hospitals are turning to autonomous robots to kill coronavirus, due to manpower shortage. UVD Robots, a Danish company produces robots that disinfect patient rooms and operating theatres in hospital. Each robot emits a mobile array of powerful wavelength ultraviolet-C (UVC) lights that emits enough energy to literally shred DNA or RNA of microorganisms. The robot can scan the environment and create a digital map, relying on simultaneous localization and map navigation, and disinfect without human intervention. The process is more consistent than a human cleaning, and manpower can be freed up for other more critical tasks.

Due to coronavirus emergency, drones have been utilized to move medical supplies due to the ability to move small packages fast. One startup in China said its fleet helped curb the use of emergency vehicles and human resources. Other than drones, Singapore has been using robots to deliver meals and medication to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. The main aim of the telepresence robots is to reduce the unnecessary risk of exposure to healthcare workers. A second robot was deployed to clean the ward and chat with patients in four languages, as well as Singlish, to relieve boredom and provide emotional support for patients.

In New York, researchers are using machine learning algorithms capable of generating millions of therapeutic antibodies to quickly find treatments for COVID-19. The machine learning algorithms are able to rapidly screen for therapeutic antibodies with a high probability of success, thereby reducing the time and cost to identify promising candidates. Microsoft also uses Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to find COVID-19 antibodies. Microsoft is combining supercomputer’s capacity with AI to identify molecular stimulation for a vaccine for COVID-19.  

Technology could be our best weapon against this pandemic. The high-speed connectivity in a lot of countries enables most of us to continue to work and entertain ourselves at home. This keeps some parts of the world economy going and prevents the human population from despair. There is a tremendous opportunity here to utilize technology and data analytics to combat COVID-19. We are here to support your business with extensive ICT capabilities and constant innovations. Please contact our professional teams in different local offices to discuss your challenges and/or transformation plans to overcome the crisis.


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