COVID-19: Technology Leaders Take Action

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • The current digital climate is on point to shore-up COVID-19 consortiums.
  • COVID-19 case studies highlight innovations which apply to customers’ app modernization projects.

Buoyed by a digital era, the industry has been training for COVID-19’s challenge for several years now. Advancing innovations in the form of scalable cloud infrastructures, intelligence through analytics, integration between apps and big data via APIs, and operational automation to speed IT teams’ adoption of new application architectures are readily available to apply to coronavirus research. Never before has the industry been better equipped to fight a global health epidemic. Technology is harnessed through application and data management platforms powered by machine learning to create the most demanding mission-critical apps connected to a wealth of big data – the kind of data that can cure diseases and discover vaccines, the kind of data that feeds applications which reassure citizens trying to cope with the tumultuous effects of a pandemic.

How the technology industry responds to the global crisis of COVID-19 will be remembered for decades to come. Those vendors and thought leaders moving swiftly and applying technology to help solve problems will be remembered for their efforts, whether it’s creating a mission-critical app in 24 hours to help German citizens returning to the country or providing organizations with access to cognitive data platforms to coordinate research between global scientists searching for a vaccine.

Modern technologists demonstrate the ability to think outside the box to meet the world’s gravest needs. Elon Musk and other automakers revamping factories to produce hospital ventilators amid the coronavirus outbreak is a move not unlike that of Cuban factory workers who transformed an appliance factory in order to churn out bicycles during the ‘90s when the dissolution of the Soviet Union left citizens without petroleum. Equally impressive is blockchain platform vendors’ ability to pivot and apply an emerging technology into a peer-to-peer network which integrates data at scale to provide scientists with a shared ledger that facilitates their research. This is how technology helps shorten the timeframe for finding drugs and vaccines that save lives.

Now is the time for greatness among today’s technologists; now is the time to harness technology. This week, GlobalData released an Advisory Report detailing key initiatives and government projects and examining early innovative activities among cloud platform providers. The latter are navigating unknown waters and going above and beyond to apply analytics, app modernization, and cloud platforms towards solving multiple issues around what will be the worst global health crisis in many peoples’ lifetime. (For more, please see COVID-19: The Vendors Harnessing Technology to Lead the COVID-19 Battle,” April 1, 2020.)

Key COVID-19 technology projects highlighted in the report include:

  • Within the IBM Watson Health unit, the IBM Clinical Development (ICD) data management platform is available globally to national health agencies.
  • In 24 hours, SAP’s Cloud Platform team assembled a simple, scalable app at the German government’s request to help travelers navigate immigration logistics.
  • The Microsoft Healthcare Bot service is currently fielding 1 million COVID-19 related patient questions a day, helping healthcare clients manage the crisis.
  • The IBM Summit supercomputer has begun COVID-19 experiments within the White House COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium.
  • Early blockchain consortium MiPasa is responding to COVID-19 challenges to verify data sources.

The World Health Organization’s Margaret Harris issued a call to action to the U.S. industry last week: “You’ve got the best public health brains in the world. You’ve got people who can harness technology brilliantly. You’ve got people who can really think out of the box.” Harris is right.

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