Published on April 6th, 2020 | by Emergent Enterprise0
How Tech Companies are Fighting COVID-19 with AI, Data and Ingenuity
It can be difficult to find bright spots in the midst of a global pandemic but the eruption of new technology solutions to problems associated with the battle against the virus is remarkable. R. Dallon Adams shares some of these solutions at TechRepublic including 3-D printing and artificial intelligence innovation. It can take a tragedy to shine a light on the greatest needs of a society and now companies and innovators are identifying connections between problems and shortages and using their strengths to answer the call. This will make us better prepared for next global challenge.
Image above: HP (3D printed parts for a mechanical bag valve mask (BVM) that is designed for use as a short-term emergency ventilation of COVID-19 patients. This simplified design enables a robust and less-complex device, facilitating its rapid production and assembly.)
Innovators are using droves of data, artificial intelligence, and clever ingenuity to fill gaps in the supply chain and fight the spread of COVID-19.
As the coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, industries facing supply chain disruptions have been forced to adapt and improvise with surprising results; necessity is after all the mother of invention. A tech all-hands-on-deck moment has taken hold as companies large and small fight the coronavirus with swift innovation.
“The tech industry is known for its ability to quickly scale and pivot its focus and support to adjust to the times, and this new challenge as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is no different,” explained Erin Baudo Felter, vice president of Okta for Good, the access management company’s social impact organization.
We are witnessing this focus pivot and scaling in real time. From password crackers running virus simulations to virus-slaying robots, there are innumerable clever ways companies are pitching in to help combat COVID-19. Below are some of the latest happenings across the sector intended to flatten the curve and more aptly manage a surge of patients pushing healthcare systems to their limits.
Big names in tech answer the call
To assist governments and people, IBM has put its trusty artificial intelligence system, Watson, on the case as part of the Watson Assistant for Citizens campaign. Around the globe, people are overwhelming local governments and healthcare companies with phone calls about the coronavirus. To reduce these wait times, IBM is providing agencies and institutions with its natural language processing and AI capabilities packaged as a chatbot to automate the process and provide answers to many frequently asked questions.
Similarly, Apple’s recently released COVID-19 app and website are designed to assist with screening measures and alleviate some of the stress on the healthcare system. Rather than phoning in with concerns, people can instead pose common questions to their digital assistants to access information from the Centers for Disease Control and select telehealth apps.
Aside from providing accurate information, Google is spearheading a $6.5 million campaign focused on combating coronavirus-related misinformation. On Thursday, Google announced plans to provide “dedicated training and crisis simulations for reporters covering COVID-19.” As part of the fight against misinformation, Google also said it will make Google Trends data more accessible for healthcare organizations, local governments and reporters. The hope is that increased access to this search data will assist with following query trends and pinpoint “gaps” where quality online information is sparse.
Improvising on the fly and on the high seas: Secure networks for makeshift clinics
Cities around the globe have quickly constructed a bevy of improvised testing facilities and temporary field hospitals to accommodate a surge of patients. To assist, Aruba Networks has donated an estimated $50 million worth of connectivity kits for these make-shift healthcare facilities. These kits are now available in two bundle offerings: a LAN wireless extension and an option for facilities operating with limited broadband connectivity. In one specific example, a large ferry boat (the GNV Splendid) was expeditiously transformed into a floating maritime hospital near Genoa, Italy. To ramp up operations and bring the hospital online, Aruba Networks and other partners constructed the necessary network infrastructure onboard including more than 2 million miles of cable.
3D printing swiftly shoring up gaps in the supply chain
The 3D printing industry is particularly well-equipped to swiftly address the dearth of critical medical supplies, and several companies are offering unique supply chain solutions. Industrial 3D printing company Electro Optical Systems (EOS) has provided an extensive library of free downloads medical supplies as well as a LinkedIn Group for 3D printers looking to assist with production.