Social distancing, personal protective equipment, good hygiene practices and widespread testing are clearly the most significant factors in flattening the curve and fighting this deadly disease. However, it is surprising to consider just how much smart software technology is playing an important role in helping us to conquer the invisible enemy.
We are using software technology in all aspects of the fight against COVID-19, from the complex medical devices that keep us breathing when we cannot breathe for ourselves, to the tracing apps and information systems that record and track each infection, to the government systems that provide us with the much needed financial support, to the ecommerce and entertainment apps that help us cope with the long periods of isolation. A large proportion of the population can now effectively work from home and remotely school their kids (but perhaps not so much at the same time), and generally sustain a reasonable quality of life, largely thanks to the many software systems that are in place.
The healthcare workers on the front line, the kind folks putting their lives at risk, are the true heroes at this time. But spare a thought for the computer scientists and information technologists, busily and silently working behind the scenes to keep our society solvent, sane, and above all, safe!
Here are a few examples of technology being utilised today :
- Ventilators – in severe cases, these machines use embedded software with sensors to control patient breathing, and some are manufactured right here (e.g. ResMed).
- Contact tracing mobile apps – Australia has just released an app, COVIDSafe. India, Singapore, China and other countries already have such an app. These apps, if in widespread enough use, turn the job of tracing of contacts from a very manual, labour intensive task into an automated task. This significantly speeds up the identification and notification processes, which ultimately lets to a reduction in the rate of infection. Your smartphone becomes a disease fighting weapon.
- Vaccine/Treatment research – Research and development into virus cures and treatments requires huge computing power, coupled with scientific modelling software.
- Financial Support Systems – The government has quickly implemented various forms of cashflow assistance to affected business and workers, via the ATO portal, STP enabled accounting software, and Centrelink. This does not happen by magic. There are swaths of software architects and developers working day and night to make this happen in a short period of time. Kudos to them.
Productivity tools (to enable work/school-from-home):
- Cloud-based email systems – such as Microsoft Office 365 and Gmail
- Communication software – such as Zoom and Teams (the kids are now masters)
- Online education – such as Google classrooms, Sharepoint, Google docs, etc.
- Business management systems:
- Project Management tools – e.g. Redmine, Asana, Monday, and customised workflow solutions
- Business operational software – ERP’s and business-specific custom solutions
- Accounting software – e.g. NAV, Xero, MYOB, etc.
- Food ordering apps – Uber Eats / Deliveroo – We need to support our local restaurants, while at the same time enjoying delicious food cooked by someone else – Win/win!
- Online grocery and general shopping – Woolies / Coles / Bunning / Officeworks have all ramped up their online and logistics capabilities – Contactless delivery to ensure we limit our trips outside the home.
Entertainment and connection (to protect our sanity):
- Binge viewing – Netflix / Foxtel / Stan / Disney / Fetch
- Hobbies – Youtube / Google
- Gaming – Xbox / Playstation / Wii
- Connect with friend and family – Skype / Facetime
Businesses large and small have fast-tracked their digital transformation activities to accommodate the ‘new normal’. The businesses that have moved quickly in streamlining their inefficient business processes, and taken some or all of their customer interaction online, have subsequently reaped the rewards.
In Australia, we are very much the lucky country. We have access to all of this sophisticated technology, so we can, for the most part, ‘stay home and stay safe’ like they are telling us to. I, for one, am very grateful for that.
If you are considering how you may be able to adapt your business model using smart technology to thrive in the new world, please reach out and have a chat with one of Intergy’s experienced consultants for an obligation free chat, on 1300 739 117.
About the Author
David Crotty is the Founder and Managing Director of Intergy Consulting. David has attained a broad spectrum of experiences by working with top-tier global multinational firms and local small businesses alike. He has a passion for improving global efficiency and productivity, one business at a time.