COVID-19: Communication Providers Step Up to Utilize Blockchain for New Use Cases, Including Helping People Impacted by the Outbreak

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Blockchain use cases are evolving, including new systems devised by service providers to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alibaba’s use of blockchain for more efficiently distributing financial payments to affected parties is a good example.
  • The industry has also seen an uptick in other telecom providers’ involvement in the blockchain market, resulting in a number of deployments aimed at improving business processes and enhancing service offerings.

Blockchain holds promise as an enabler for service providers for a wide range of internal and external (customer-facing) use cases, ranging from IoT and mobile device security to payments, supply chain management, asset tracking, and logistics. Retail, manufacturing, and healthcare companies have been identified as the most likely industries to take advantage of these capabilities, but there are many companies that can benefit from the secure trusted ledgers enabled by blockchain. At the same time, during the world’s COVID-19 pandemic, early blockchain use cases are appearing as parts of efforts to help combat the crisis, including Alibaba’s use of blockchain for more efficiently distributing financial payments to affected parties. Continue reading “COVID-19: Communication Providers Step Up to Utilize Blockchain for New Use Cases, Including Helping People Impacted by the Outbreak”

Intelligent Process Automation: Best Bet for Easing Business Transformations

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Intelligent process automation (IPA) is the natural evolution of business process automation when coupled with AI, low-code and RPA solutions, and intelligent business process optimization.
  • IPA is used by operations teams, business users, and developers to significantly reduce repetitive tasks associated with the deployment of modern apps in a multi-cloud environment.

A new breed of AI-infused automation technology, referred to as intelligent process automation (IPA), is the result of enterprise operations teams citing complexity and the lack of automation as key barriers to cloud-native app development and modern application deployments. GlobalData defines IPA as the natural evolution of business process automation when coupled with AI technologies (e.g., machine learning and natural language processing), low-code and RPA solutions, and intelligent business process optimization. It is used by operations teams, business users, and developers to significantly reduce repetitive tasks associated with the deployment of modern apps in a multi-cloud environment. Continue reading “Intelligent Process Automation: Best Bet for Easing Business Transformations”

COVID-19: Using Mobile User Location Data to Understand and Mitigate the Pandemic

J. Marcus

Summary Bullets:

• Mobile operators have been offering aggregated location data for several years, with limited uptake from sectors like tourism, retail, and transportation.

• Those big data analytics solutions could be very useful to authorities and essential services in fighting COVID-19.

Telecom providers are finding their networks used in different ways since the start of measures being taken to limit the spread of COVID-19. For mobile operators, that now includes the use of user location data analytics to help governments and other entities to understand—and fight—the spread of the virus.

In the last three or four years, mobile network operators have been investing in big data analytics technologies in order to leverage the potential value of the vast amount of network and user data they collect. Accessing the technology was the easy part: the availability of open source tools, hyperscale cloud platforms, and investments already being made in the telcos’ own digital transformations led to innovative solutions launching as early as 2014. Some players in Europe went further, acquiring analytics start-ups and digital consulting firms, helping them to offer both standardized solutions providing insights on visitors, events, and journeys, as well as customized projects. Continue reading “COVID-19: Using Mobile User Location Data to Understand and Mitigate the Pandemic”

Cloud Rising: Hyperscale Providers Play a Crucial Role in the Race to Connect During the COVID-19 Outbreak

A. DeCarlo
A. DeCarlo

Summary Bullets:

  • COVID-19 has driven organizations to shift to more virtual and remote operations, highlighting flaws in our connectivity, as well as challenges with our current collaboration and other business applications.
  • While still at a relatively nascent stage, edge computing is beginning to play a role in enabling latency-sensitive use cases such as telemedicine applications for remote diagnostics that could potentially help address future global issues like the coronavirus outbreak.

The COVID-19 outbreak is driving an overwhelming shift to virtual operations for many traditional enterprises and educational institutions. The mass migration to a remote workforce and distance learning exposes technology gaps and inspires some deeper thinking on ways in which organizations can apply innovation to their models. Can more work be done remotely on a longer-term basis? How can students with limited Internet access be connected in a cost-effective and efficient way? What transformational use cases can emerging technologies drive forward that could help resolve the pandemic and address other complex problems around the world? Continue reading “Cloud Rising: Hyperscale Providers Play a Crucial Role in the Race to Connect During the COVID-19 Outbreak”

COVID-19: Netherlands Innovator Taps Blockchain and AI in the War Against COVID-19

Summary Bullets:

• VirusBlockchain deployed this week to identify and monitor COVID-19 free zones

• The blockchain monitoring system is backed by technology provider Qlikchain

This week the tech industry partnered with a public health consortium to launch a blockchain-enabled monitoring system aimed at keeping communities at bay from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Public Health Blockchain Consortium (PHBC) announced the new system which monitors healthy, uninfected individuals as they move between locations in order to automatically identify zones that are safe or unsafe. The system is built on a blockchain solution which combines AI, geographical information systems (GIS), and real-time information systems provided by virus surveillance providers.

Called VirusBlockchain, the system serves as a systematic, continuous, and anonymous verification of citizens and all workplaces in an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection. The project is unlike other approaches that would typically track infected persons. Continue reading “COVID-19: Netherlands Innovator Taps Blockchain and AI in the War Against COVID-19”

COVID-19: GlobalData Sees No Need for Forecast Changes Yet

Joel Cooper Senior Director – Market Data and Intelligence

Summary Bullets:

• GlobalData has established daily monitoring to assess the possible impact on our core telecoms and pay TV forecasts from COVID-19. As and when required, we will adjust our projections.

• Our measured, evidence-based approach to reviewing and adjusting our forecasts is supported by recent telco executive statements on COVID-19, which point to it being too early to tell what the specific impact of COVID-19 will be on their businesses.

We are actively monitoring our telecoms and pay-TV forecast portfolio countries for possible impact from COVID-19, and are ready to revise our projections as and when required. GlobalData’s forecast coverage encompasses mobile (108 countries), fixed (98 countries), multiplay (22 countries), and pay-TV (57 countries; click here for more.

Our daily monitoring covers a large variety of dimensions related to COVID-19, including:

• The potential impact on GDP and employment.

• The impact on telcos’ 5G rollout projects – a slowdown in rollout could result from travel restrictions on staff responsible for network deployment as well as disruption to equipment shipments and manufacturing.

• The impact on telco retail operations – e.g., a shortage of staff in shops or shops closing down may have a negative impact on subscriber acquisition.

• The impact on telco call center operations (on-shore and off-shore) – a shortage of staff in call centers or temporary call center closures could have a negative impact on customer retention activities, renewals and customer support.

• The impact on telecoms revenue – for example, a telecoms ARPU uplift could potentially occur due to an increase in service usage resulting from reduced physical mobility (e.g., a rise in mobile/fixed data usage, mobile calls, video usage, and virtual meetings/conference calling).

• The impact on handset sales, driven by potential disruption in handset manufacturing supply chains.

Our evidence-based approach to reviewing and revising our forecasts is supported by recent statements from several telcos. Collectively, these statements highlight that it is currently too early to accurately assess the impact COVID-19 will have on telecoms markets.

On March 11, 2020, for example, Telecom Italia’s CEO, Luigi Gubitosi, made comments to the effect that it was at this stage difficult to determine the impact the epidemic would have on the company, but highlighted possible risk related to damage to the economy. In the U.S., AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and CFO John Stephens stated on March 10, 2020 that the company had not seen “a significant impact in its supply chain at this point.” Verizon has said it is yet to experience any material impact from the epidemic, mentioning that its supply of devices and network equipment have not, as yet, been affected, but acknowledging that both could be affected in the future. Deutsche Telekom’s CEO Timotheus Höttges made similar comments in February.

Furthermore, analysis of several previous epidemics shows that telecoms markets have proven broadly resilient to disruption caused by virus outbreaks. These cases support our view of taking a measured, evidence-based approach to revising our forecasts. We are fully aware, though, that the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in recent times and, as such, the relevance of these cases could be limited. Continue reading “COVID-19: GlobalData Sees No Need for Forecast Changes Yet”

COVID-19: How to Keep Working When Offices Close

Gary Barton – Analyst, Business Network and IT Services

Summary Bullets:

• Collaboration technologies offer a viable way to support home working during Covid-19 – and potential long-term cost saving and carbon reduction benefits.

• Enterprises should already be trialing collaboration and VPN platforms in anticipation of potential quarantine situations.

As airports come to a standstill and pictures of near-empty train stations dominate news feeds, it is clear that COVID-19 is already impacting the way many people are working. Even before the possibility of mandatory quarantining is considered, many employees are either being asked to work from home, choosing to do so, or are being forced to do so by circumstance (e.g., school closures). So how should businesses respond? Continue reading “COVID-19: How to Keep Working When Offices Close”

COVID 19: Keep Calm and Corona On – A Global Perspective

Jonathan Cordwell – Principal Analyst, UK Health & Social Care Technology

Summary Bullets:               

  • Companies that have yet to jump on the remote working bandwagon may have their hand forced due to the self-isolation and social separation measures put in place by their respective national governments.
  • We will undoubtedly see an uptick in the adoption of telehealth technologies, including remote monitoring.


On the 11th March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 (Coronavirus) a pandemic. As of writing, there have been over 130,000 cases reported across 123 countries, areas or territories and almost 5,000 deaths from the virus, which emanated from Wuhan in China. We have witnessed a wide variety of responses to the threat including mass self-isolation in Italy, travel bans, fiscal stimulus packages, health insurance policy allowances, business and school closures, and the cancellation of large events such as Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and HIMSS20 in Orlando, at which U.S. President Trump was scheduled to address the situation. Continue reading “COVID 19: Keep Calm and Corona On – A Global Perspective”

Data Presentation Made Super-Simple for Those with Little Time for Data

Ted Cuzzillo,
Principal Analyst – Data Analytics

Summary Bullets:

• Toucan Toco offers template-driven data presentations for simple and fast production.

• The tool found a market in France, now tries for the U.S.

We’ve heard enough of that tired promise “easy to use,” yet here comes another one — and this one delivers. It pushes “simple” to an extreme. The tool is by Toucan, a software provider based in Paris, France. It introduced Toco in 2014, designed to pick up where data analysis tools leave off: with the presentation.  The French market, where Toucan has its base, loves it. Toucan claims that its Toco SaaS product has won more than 140 Fortune 500 customers since the tool’s introduction in 2014.

The secret sauce is no surprise: templates. The producer builds a Toco “app” on a fast march, on the cloud, from start to finish: Fill in a title in the “title” box, fill in a summary in the “summary” box, and connect one or many data sources. The result, surprising given the ease of production, can contain a wide variety of charts up to several levels deep, all ready to display well on desktops or mobile devices.
Unlike sophisticated data analysis software, which invite exploration, Toco shows only what the producer deems important.  An objection may arise from executives asked to approve a Toco license. What about the tools we have right now? Why the redundancy? Can’t they easily produce such presentations already? Toucan’s answer is, yes, of course those other solutions can do it. But those who’ve tried to make them do it, says Toucan, have found it difficult and time consuming. These complex data analysis tools just aren’t made to gear down fast enough from Ferrari-like performance to a walk in the park.
Data experts may turn up their noses at Toco. But those who know or care nothing about data analysis will turn their heads for Toucan’s Toco and similar solutions. Toco may be one of the first to colonize a frontier that big and sophisticated tools have found impenetrable. An enigmatic 75 percent or so of business users have no use for data. The tool will also work in smart cities. There, data will flow to an audience of whom many will not have the ability or patience to comprehend the analytics process. They just want the results.
Watch for this and similar solutions to gain importance over the next few years.


China’s Use of IT to Fight the Coronavirus Prompts Wider Applicability and Governance Questions

Summary Bullets:

• China has become a test bed for the potential to harness IT to manage and mitigate the effects of major health crises like the coronavirus.

• The widespread use of technologies like AI, big data, robotics, and blockchain raises questions about wider applicability, and concerns about longer-term governance.

Recent weeks have seen China emerge as a test bed for the potential to harness IT to manage and mitigate the effects of major health crises like the coronavirus. As of 11th March, China had almost 80,800 confirmed cases of the virus, also known as COVID-19, which had killed over 3,000 people. The economic impact of the virus has also been widely documented and includes disruptions to supply chains and lost business for countless shops, bars, and restaurants.

But China has also seen several applications of IT to help combat and manage impact of the virus. Examples include the use of workplace collaboration tools such as Alibaba’s DingTalk, Tencent’s WeChat, and ByteDance’s Feishu by businesses, hospitals, schools, and universities. These platforms enable various remote working arrangements, as well as the use of online classrooms, which support distance learning. Others include the provision of digital mapping tools. Baidu has created an epidemic map feature on the Baidu Map App that offers real-time location information about confirmed and suspected cases of the virus, as well as travel disruptions caused by enforced quarantines. Meanwhile, Tencent provides a self-examination tool on its WeChat platform to help users experiencing symptoms such as a fever or cough self-evaluate their condition and make any necessary arrangements. Tencent also maintains a map depicting clinics and hospitals that treat coronavirus patients. Continue reading “China’s Use of IT to Fight the Coronavirus Prompts Wider Applicability and Governance Questions”