The way tech companies across the world and especially the Silicon Valley giants have reacted is unimaginable.COVID19 has proved to be one of the deadliest events since the beginning of this century. People all over the world were dumbstruck when they realized the scale of the pandemic which originated from China. Since then it has impacted more than three fourth of the globe. The worst affected however are countries in Europe like Italy and Spain. They have become the second centre of the epidemic after Wuhan. Even so, more countries like Iran and United States of America are shivering under the fear of the impact of this global crisis.
THE AGE OF INTERNET HAS BLOOMED FROM SILICON VALLEY
Governments all over the world, despite their best efforts have not been able to do enough for this crisis. However, this time the approach to tackle the crisis is different than ever before. This time everything is technological. People, since the late 90s have begun heavily dependent on Internet, mobile phones and technology in general. This same habit has helped people to be aware of the scale and magnitude of the pandemic. In countries like India, where the governments have forced lockdowns the Internet has enabled them to be connected. The Internet has successfully managed to divert attention of the general public, while at the same time, keeping them in touch with the latest status.
THE SILICON VALLEY GIANTS PAVE WAY
Google is developing a website in partnership with the US government which is scheduled to be launched soon. This website will contain links to important organisations like the WHO and CDC and focus on updating and education people about COVID19.Infact even the homepage of google contains a link “Get more information about coronavirus”, which does exactly as it says. It even pledged a sum of $5 million to the WHO Solidarity Fund and committed over $800 million to battle the coronavirus.
All major social media sites like Facebook(+WhatsApp) and Twitter are cautiously monitoring posts round the clock to ensure that less fake information is spread about this virus. This has been done to the extent that people have been arrested for spreading fake information. Both Google and Apple have been monitoring their respective play stores to remove apps not validated. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has joined hands with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to try to find a drug to treat coronavirus.
Big technological groups have even started global hackathons for engineers to brainstorm themselves and come up with baffling ideas to counter the spread of the virus and to minimise casualties. Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter have partnered with WHO for a coronavirus ‘hackathon’ to encourage the development of software that could help track and manage the pandemic.
INDIA GOES THE TECH WAY TO TACKLE THE PANDEMIC
In India, the government is soon planning to launch “CORONA KAVACH”, an app to track COVID19 infected patients. This is being designed in such a way that it will alert you if there is an infected person near you. Respective states like Kerela, Maharashtra, Punjab and Tamil Nadu have already launched their apps with similar features.
EUROPE DANGLES TO A SINGLE THREAD OF HUMANITY
BORUAH foundation, an NGO registered in the UK is planning a global hackathon from18 to 19 April that invites everybody-from teachers, students to doctors and engineers to look into the future and dwell on what to do next to bring back the world in its shape. The European Commission has already sanctioned 17 research projects worth €47.5 million for Coronavirus research and all of these will be assisted by healthcare technology using archives and data present in supercomputers.
In London, e-bikes are being loaned to health workers so that they can avoid public transport and make commuting safer for everybody.
Seven Formula One teams have pooled-up for “Project Pitlane,” an industry-wide effort in the U.K. to manufacture and deliver respiratory devices to COVID-19 patients. In an exemplary breakthrough, Mercedes’ F1 team built breathing aid for coronavirus patients in under 100 hours which have already been sent for clinical trials.
TECHNOLOGY IS A MANMADE BOON
With the exponential increase in the number of people infected with coronavirus, government healthcare systems all over the globe have fallen short of important medical equipment like ventilators. could get filled as the coronavirus outbreak worsens. In an instance, Silicon Valley giants even fixed ventilators that were provided by the federal government in California.
To curb the infections from patient to doctor and nurses, some hospitals have even begun using robots to treat and deliver medicines to patients. Robots in China are even delivering food and sanitising hospital rooms and public places. Physicians in some hospitals in are even using robots to take vitals of patients.
In one of the most innovative solutions for social distancing, as recommended an application named OpenTable. OpenTable, is an application currently limited to a few cities of United States. It will allow people to reserve shopping times at supermarkets to reduce crowds and ensure their safety. It is supposed to work similarly to restaurant reservations.
Another huge step is remote access to doctors via video conferencing which is eliminating the need to be physically present with a doctor. Thus, it results in reducing the number of contacts with an infected person.
CRISIS FOR STUDENTS BECOMES A NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR GIANTS
One of the most affected groups is the students whose studies have suddenly come to a halt. At a time like this, online courses have come to the rescue. Ed-companies like Coursera and Udemy have partnered with institutes all over the world to help the student. A lot of institutes suddenly began offering online classes to their students using Google Classroom and Zoom among other applications. In a cover story by Brut India, they showed how this lockdown had actually benefitted differently-abled children. The schools and universities which were earlier not teaching online have suddenly done it. Thus, increased the scope of education for the differently-abled.
Technology has definitely turned tables in battling this pandemic. As more and more donations come up form philanthropists and celebrities all over the world. There is suddenly a silver lining amongst the dark clouds. Silicon Valley giants have definitely proved to be mettle in this situation of crisis.
Read More: Cryptocurrency in India