Role of ICT during COVID-19 outbreak

The key for business growth is partnership between human and machines 

Preeti Kanwar, CISO & Head – Information Technology & Business applications, NEC Technologies India

In every era, we have seen that there has been a remarkable connect between human beings and technology. We humans have been continuously putting in a lot of efforts in new innovations, technology advancements and its adoption. I think we all realize that in addition to connecting, now the new key for business growth is the partnership between humans and machines.

Digitalization is rapidly increasing, it’s everywhere and will keep on increasing. Also we all have seen how ICT has helped us during this pandemic whether it is availability of information or helping affected patients, serving patients in quarantine or quickly delivering COVID-19 samples for testing or helping us in surveillance. These are few areas where humans are threatened to operate or have limitations but machines are helping us.

During this unprecedented time we suddenly had to start living in isolation and had to survive in lockdown. But due to technology enablement, most of the organizations, industries are able to survive even in this tough period. The development and implementation of different technology solutions aimed at combating the COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly and continuously taking the shape. The availability and utilization of information is the essence of any civilization.

Technology today has undoubtedly played a significant role in providing all the required information regarding COVID-19 to each and every person and has proved to be very helpful. It also has the side effect of overflow of information which is overwhelming but with controlled measures and with human intelligence that also can be controlled.

With the various array of tools, organizations are able to continue with their business during lockdowns and various restrictions by enabling their workforce to Work From Home (WFH). With the availability of a wide range of collaboration tools, organizations  are able to establish effective and secured communication protocols within the teams and with their customers and partners. Since long, success for WFH was a dilemma for many organizations. But the current COVID-19 situation has resolved our long existing dilemma by pushing all of us to adhere to the WFH model.

The need of the hour is to embrace technology, to innovate the ways for new model enablement and to ensure that security is not optional. Governments, organizations, academic institutes and health agencies of different countries are utilizing and adopting the available technology in varied ways to manage the situation effectively. I agree there are few sectors which cannot continue with their business during these kinds of situations but still there are many which can and that is because of availability of technical solutions.

With the availability of technology, we are not only able to manage the businesses but are also able to maintain the connectivity with our families and friends. It is heartening to imagine the lockdown without these kinds of collaboration tools. Today, even if we are not able to visit our near and dear ones, still we are able to have video and audio calls with them anytime and anywhere. With the closure of worldwide universities and schools, with the help of technology and collaboration tools students are engaged and are able to continue with their studies, can talk to their friends, can play virtual games, do exercise etc. which is a big relief for most of the parents.

The WHO and government dignitaries are able to hold video conferences, virtual round table discussions etc. to help planning and taking the collaborative approach for handling COVID-19. By mustering resources at their disposal and deploying the latest technology, few countries even have mitigated the effects of COVID-19 to a significant extent and profiled people at risk. With advanced technology, agencies are able to locate and predict the potential areas of infection and are able to isolate the infected people resulting in containment of disease.

Although robots might not have become our best friends yet and we might think that our lives are not impacted by robots but they are. During this pandemic, robots have played a significant role and as of today there are robots who have started helping us in our day to day life as well, where they are helping us in restaurants, food manufacturing industries, hospitals, household activities, trainings,  researches etc. So presently, they are not our best friends but very soon they will become friends.

Technology forecasts reveal that by 2030 we will have technology breakthroughs in areas such as: Flying cars; Driverless transportation and navigation; Increased electric vehicle sales; Fully electric commercial airlines; and global internet traffic is expected to grow to 708 exabytes. And the list goes on and on.

Looking at today’s example where technology has proven its worth beyond doubt and has become an integral part of human life, there is the flip side as well, if technology is not being handled properly or misused by human beings. In that case humans are to be blamed not the advancement of technology. It is the prime responsibility of all of us to utilize the technology in the required manner. On one side, increased surveillance of citizens have provided the helping hand in controlling the spread of the disease and on the other side it might prove to be unfavourable if personal data is not being handled properly. A sincere advice to everyone to not misuse the technology rather to use it for the benefit of the human race.

Author: Preeti Kanwar, CISO & Head – Information Technology & Business applications, NEC Technologies India

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and DigiAnalysys does not necessarily subscribe to it. 

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