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How the world is using tech to combat COVID-19

As the virus made its way around the world, technological solutions weren’t far behind.

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As COVID-19 made its way around the world, tech solutions weren’t far behind — and the World Economic Forum is making sure these responses are both well-documented and amplified.

The technological response to the pandemic has been threefold: Helping keep citizens safe, comforted, and informed of the facts; giving front-line workers and scientists the tools they needed to treat and research; and making sure governments, economies, and businesses had the infrastructure to keep up their work.

In April the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, published the Early Compendium of Technology Responses to COVID-19. This document served as an “initial collection of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic from leading global technology players.” 

According to its summary, WEF’s goal was “amplify and aggregate” these responses from around the world — across all industries — ”to raise awareness of the successes, identify gaps and better align efforts with the needs of our global communities.”

After all, sharing is caring. 

Related reading: These are the 10 most discussed tech topics during COVID-19

This initial document included 80 initial use cases from 61 unique companies around the world, organized into six categories:

As COVID cases continue, WEF and BCG have offered a recent update to their research, in the form of a whitepaper called Critical Frontier: Leveraging Technology to Combat COVID-19. More than tripling the number of solutions profiled, this new compendium of solutions “[provides] better visibility into the diverse uses of technology for the COVID-19 response.” 

Their analysis also determined that new purposes for existing technologies has been at the core of some of the most exciting COVID solutions. One example includes the leveraging of wearables in early COVID detection — especially in care homes

Another example is India asking telcos to play important prevention and awareness messaging in lieu of standard ringtones — a fairly simple move that could be deployed quickly in the virus’s early days, that also reached the country’s over 25% illiterate population. 

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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Accenture Cloud First launches with $3B investment

New business unit is designed to help clients rapidly become ‘cloud-first.’

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Accenture will be able to help clients more rapidly move toward being ‘cloud-first’ — thanks to a $3 billion investment.

While not a cloud technology company, Accenture is known as a leading partner of most major cloud providers around the world. This investment will form Accenture Cloud First, described in the company’s press release as:

“a new multi-service group of 70,000 cloud professionals that brings together the full power and breadth of Accenture’s industry and technology capabilities, ecosystem partnerships, and deep commitment to learning and upskilling clients’ employees and to responsible business, with the singular focus of enabling organizations to move to the cloud with greater speed and achieve greater value for all their stakeholders at this critical time.”

Cloud First will be led by Karthik Narain, a tech industry veteran who most recently headed up Accenture Technology in North America. 

(Paul Daugh is Group Chief Executive – Technology & CTO at Accenture)

Cloud computing has seen a massive increase in demand — especially with the surge in remote working and need to cut costs, both as a result of COVID-19. Numbers from Gartner show that the worldwide public cloud services market is forecast to grow by 6.3% in 2020. The total in dollars? $257.9 billion, up from $242.7 billion in 2019.

As Accenture CEO Julie Sweet is quoted in Fortune’s CEO Daily newsletter, “today we are 20% in the cloud. We are moving to 80%…instead of happening in a decade, it is going to happen in five years.” 

“This is the Henry Ford moment of the digital era,” she added.

In Accenture’s press release, Sweet emphasized how the pandemic has brought to light the importance of accelerating digital transformation across all organizations and industries.

“COVID-19 has created a new inflection point that requires every company to dramatically accelerate the move to the cloud as a foundation for digital transformation,” she says, “to build the resilience, new experiences and products, trust, speed, and structural cost reduction that the ongoing health, economic and societal crisis demands — and that a better future for all requires.”

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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BC First Nation becomes first to use digital twin for land management and stewardship

LlamaZOO’s TimberOps software will support Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation.

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In signing an agreement with Spatial Business Intelligence provider LlamaZOO, Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation is the first-ever First Nation to use digital twin technology. The First Nation will implement the software to improve management and stewardship of their over 350,000 hectares of unceded territory near the western coast of Vancouver Island.

According to a press release, leveraging LlamaZOO’s TimberOps software will help the First Nation to “facilitate meaningful reconciliation through shared decision-making, as well as provide greater certainty for responsible development proposals of the land with industry (forestry and mining), and government.”

“This technology will assist our people in showing the world what is within our Traditional Territory,” elaborated Chief Maquinna of Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation in LlamaZOO’s release. “It will provide prospective business partners and forestry companies with a real-time view of the results of logging, mining and other resource extraction. TimberOps is going to play a critical role in how we manage our lands and resources.”

The technology will “help the nation identify ‘absolute no-go zones’ where industrial activity is not welcome,” Dorothy Hunt, lands manager for the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation, told the Globe & Mail. Examples include archeological sites, recorded Culturally Modified Trees, and places to gather food/seafood — all recorded in the First Nation’s traditional land use assessment that was integrated into the software. 

Ultimately, both Hunt and LlamaZOO chief executive Charles Lavigne agree that TimberOps has the potential for application across First Nations and communities. 

3D topography 

As Lavigne explained to the Globe & Mail, “with this digital twin, you can effectively fly down to the ground floor and see the individual trees and fly up into the sky and see the rivers and the roads and the communities.”

Within the 3D digital twin, there are currently 76,000 timber cut blocks and nearly 87 million trees. Additional data such as fish stocks and water flow could also be added in the future. As it stands, according to the press release, this digital twin has “the most data layers ever seen in a digital twin at LlamaZOO and over 100 years of historical BC logging data.”

(Featured image by David Stanley via WikiCommons)

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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Indigenous-led digital transformation in the face of a pandemic

Projects in Saskatchewan and Ontario are ensuring online learning access and the continuation of Indigenous tourism during COVID-19.

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A pair of Indigenous-led projects in Saskatchewan and Ontario are ensuring online learning access and the continuation of Indigenous tourism during COVID-19. 

Getting online

A self-contained signal relay network is helping all students from the Peepeekisis Cree Nation get online and back to school.

As reported in the Regina Leader-Post, Peepeekisis Cree Nation operations director Ernest Standingready — along with Pesakastew School principal David Still and education director Joy Sapp — saw this solution as a way to manage COVID-related physical distancing requirements.

“This technology allows us to broadcast that beam a few kilometres away and pick it up with another node and then repeat it and keep amplifying the signal down the road,” Standingready told the Leader-Post.

Mage Networks, based in Calgary, supplied the nodes which have been placed throughout the 38-square-kilometre reserve. Standingready, Still, and Sapp maintain control of the network, with only registered devices allowed and restrictions placed on website access.

Only 30% of the school’s registered families had internet access, explained Still, with 70% using cell data. The school gave each registered child a computer. In consideration of siblings, specific learning times are booked for each grade.

“It makes it that much more difficult when we’re on a First Nation that doesn’t have the basic infrastructure for the Internet, or even reliable, fast internet,” said Standingready. “A lot of houses are a few kilometres away (from each other); they’re not even tied into public infrastructure … Trying to find a way to get a signal out there was the biggest hurdle, but we were on that early.”

Boosting Indigenous tourism

According to Indigenous Tourism Ontario CEO Kevin Eshkawkogan, before COVID-19 there was “an increasing global demand” for Indigenous tourism.

Now, as reported by CBC Sudbury, the organization is working with Indigenous businesses to create virtual reality tours to help manage the pandemic-related decline in business.

In one example, Eshkawkogan explains that a company like Northern Ontario’s Mukwa Adventures — which provides guided ATV tours — could benefit from VR technology.

“He’s only got so many ATVs that he can take people out on the land and teach them different things,” he said, “but if you imagine … how much more accessible his business if he could do a virtual tour.”

Ultimately, it comes down to Indigenous-led solutions.

“We just want to help tell the Indigenous story on Indigenous terms while helping business operators who are Indigenous grow their business.”

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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