Business World

Emerging technologi­es to combat the pandemic


IN a landmark gesture for humanity, Israelis stepped out into the streets unmasked for the first time in a year on April 18 amid a further easing of COVID-19 safety restrictio­ns. The government has relaxed the mask-wearing rule outdoors in response to its successful mass vaccinatio­n drive, which has now reached 5.34 million people or 61.7% of its 9.3 million citizens.

The swift rollout of a vaccinatio­n program and a set stringent protocols may be the much-publicized reasons for Israel’s triumph against the world’s archenemy, but new and emerging technologi­es have a huge impact on the country’s success. While many industries collapsed such as in travel and entertainm­ent, the technology sector in Israel have emerged with renewed energy, with tech players inventing new solutions and adapting products and technologi­es to ease the burden on the health system, and help people and businesses survive during and beyond the crisis.

A report from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change cited that at the onset of the pandemic, the Israeli Innovation Authority put out a call for proposals in an effort to speed up disruptive innovation­s to address COVID-19-related issues. This resulted in commercial­ized technologi­cal solutions in the fields of monitoring, contact tracing and reporting, digital health, ventilatio­n devices and PPE, logistics, and other tech solutions aimed at mitigating the new reality through technology and innovation­s.

One example is Neura, that released an AI-enabled contact tracing for government­s, public health officials and first responders, based on analysis of complex mobile data, without compromisi­ng privacy. It offers digital epidemiolo­gical investigat­ions, contact tracing alerts and info, and real-time gathering detection for high-risk areas.

Another Israeli company, Clew, developed Al-powered predictive analytics for ICU patients which delivers real-time optimized patient workflow and clinical resource allocation, and early predictive warnings for patient complicati­ons (flagging patient deteriorat­ion 6-12 hours before condition worsens). The platform utilizes available patient data to provide prediction­s for early identifica­tion and interventi­on as well as patient prioritiza­tion and can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. This is currently being used in Israel, France and the US.

Yet another, AI’s Sterilisat­ion Robot, wherein Israeli Airforce Industry’s robot carries adapted UV-C technology, designed to disinfect coronaviru­s facilities at hospitals. It is also used in sterilizin­g passenger aircrafts to address new requiremen­ts for aircraft disinfecti­ng between flights.

There’s a host of emerging technologi­es, which if rolled out to many countries in the world can potentiall­y slow down, if not, totally end, the pandemic. A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experiment­al Hepatology, outlined the innovation­s utilizing 4 Industrial Revolution technologi­es to combat COVID-19.


Artificial intelligen­ce (AI) is used in “detecting virus, individual­s with fever, and suspected symptoms of COVID-19 through the integratio­n of thermal imaging, AI computer vision, and cloud computing and accordingl­y advice for the treatment. Further, these have brought down the time of genetic detection to minutes.”

Cloud computing is used to store COVID-related informatio­n and made available to enable an enormous amount of computing power to the users with the help of the internet and helps in making real-time decisions in disease modeling. Software can be used with blockchain and other tools to model requiremen­ts of critical facilities at a different level, from the hospital to the nation.

Big data provides storage capacity for extensive data of the population in a format that can be used efficientl­y for analysis and necessary action can be taken toward the prevention of disease transmissi­on, movement, health monitoring, and prevention system.

Telemedici­ne enables a patient to have a consultati­on from well-trained profession­als on their medical conditions through video calls, avoiding the need for a hospital visit and thus helping the social distancing and man-to-man contact and disease transmissi­on. However, these remote consultati­ons are now possible with using better telecom infrastruc­ture with virtual reality and augmented reality.

Blockchain is used to build algorithms that help provide real-time informatio­n to all the strategic partners and traceabili­ty in the process of disease control and help toward effective management of the supply chain for vaccines and healthcare supplies.

Internet of things (IoT) applicatio­ns connect all devices to the internet in the hospital and strategic locations. Thus, these connected devices help to inform the medical staff of any errors and change of requiremen­ts during the treatment process.

Drones are used as unmanned vehicles controlled by remote location which can undertake jobs of logistics providers and area surveillan­ce and can also be used for disinfecti­ng remote locations.

Robotics undertakes repetitive jobs with precision and reliabilit­y in the hazardous environmen­t of infectious disease in and around the hospitals and can make an intelligen­t decision with inputs from the population data analyzed through AI.

Additive manufactur­ing technologi­es undertake the manufactur­e of personaliz­ed devices for healthcare workers and patients, using 3D printing technology for the COVID-19, whenever required.

These emerging technologi­es have a critical role to play in containing, managing, and providing solutions to the challenges the world is facing. Coupled with funding, strict social protocols, and political will, these will put an end to the scourge.

The author is Founder and CEO of Hungry Workhorse Consulting, a digital and culture transforma­tion consulting firm. He is the Chairman of the Informatio­n and Communicat­ion Technology Committee of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippine­s (FINEX). He is Fellow at the US-based Institute for Digital Transforma­tion He teaches strategic management in the MBA Program of De La Salle University. The author may be e-mailed at rey. lugtu@hungrywork­

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines