The outbreak of the COVID-19 in China is not only destructing the global economy. However, it can also have a positive effect on the development of the IT industry. It opens up new business opportunities for developers of information and communication technologies. In particular, the viral epidemic is encouraging governments to update their operations toward smart and cutting-edge technologies. This creates opportunities to develop digital platforms and Big Data solutions (Andreosso-O’Callaghan et al. 127). The coronavirus outbreak is also pushing for the creation of smart cities and parks, encouraging the decentralization of urban cluster management and, conversely, the centralization of individual cities. Other opportunities related to online health services, as the virus stimulates an acceleration of the digital transformation of health systems. In addition, according to experts, new opportunities are created for companies and services that offer employees remote work. Approaches in education are also changing: with mass diseases, people will seek distance education and online courses.
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The developers of technology for stores, which use minimal staff and online services for food delivery and telecom operators in the construction of 5G networks, will receive opportunities for business development. Finally, the coronavirus outbreak has the potential to give a new spin to the development of robots for use in supply chain management systems. The demand for industrial and service robots should grow, which, in turn, is driving China’s national strategy called China + 1 (Andreosso-O’Callaghan et al. 56). As part of it, authorities and companies are seeking to contain or reduce labor costs, including through the use of technological solutions. In the era of the coronavirus, many companies providing support services and the support industry as a complex are encountering significant challenges.
First and foremost, these difficulties are related to labor shortages and a lack of remote working opportunities for all staff. IT technologies in the covid era come to the rescue of such companies. This help consists of putting new opportunities for this industry using innovative approaches in artificial intelligence. Before the pandemic, a Technology Vision survey showed that 73% of organizations were piloting or implementing artificial intelligence in one or more business units (Andreosso-O’Callaghan et al. 123). Now, AI should be a critical priority – its benefits have never looked so promising. Human-machine collaboration plays a significant role in the vaccine race: Hong Kong biotech company Insilico Medicine has repurposed its AI platform for drug development. As previously mentioned, many enterprises today are working in an industry of downsizing and new distance rules. AI can help individuals invent new solutions and ideas to create a more flexible organization. Its tools also help maintain people’s health and awareness. Systems work with this, ranging from virtual assistants within health system institutions to AI-enabled thermal imaging cameras to detect fever.
AI systems also help keep important businesses running smoothly. For example, Innowatts is a startup that uses AI to manage increased power demand. Another industry that will actively help the industry cope with pandemic challenges in robotics. People are staying at home; distancing is becoming the new norm of social interaction. Robots, moving from controlled environments (enclosed warehouses) to uncontrolled (unrestricted) environments, will be able to help get work done for people sitting in isolation. From specialized industries, robotization is shifting to all others (Budd et al. 1185). For instance, the Chinese agro-technology firm XAG redesigned its XPlanet drones and R80 robots to disperse disinfectants in virus-affected areas (Budd et al. 1186). In Thailand, local university engineering students retooled “ninja” robots from monitoring stroke patients to measuring temperature and assisting doctors. In Shenzhen, YouIbot designed an anti-viral robot in just two weeks (Andreosso-O’Callaghan et al. 121). It is outfitted with six ultraviolet rails that can sanitize surfaces and an infrared scanner to scan temperatures amid patients and visitors.
In the long run, the robotics ecosystem will evolve at an accelerated pace. Robotics will cause a surge in the development of IT devices and 5G networks. There will be greater demand for telemedicine and VR learning tools. The IT industry is changing to help specific groups of companies and meet the new needs of the general population brought about by the coronavirus. The pandemic has changed the role and importance of the digital shopper experience – look at the increase in e-commerce around the world. In April, Visa reported an 18% increase in spending on online sales in the US (Andreosso-O’Callaghan et al. 134). The company also reported that 13 million Hispanic Visa cardholders made their first online transactions in the first quarter of 2020. This change is essential both for platforms and for shaping personalized content. However, traditional customer experience personalization relies on historical data, which is less relevant now that people’s lives, habits, and preferences have changed. More flexible customer engagement strategies are needed. It is essential to quickly update information and data to understand customer needs and remove from offerings that are no longer relevant quickly.
If a company can provide customers with the ability to manage the digital experience, it will also provide the fastest way to learn about new wants and needs. For example, the subscription restaurant club Tasting Collective switched from a chef-led business model of cooking dinners in their establishments to live cooking classes during the quarantine period. In addition, consumers are increasingly frustrated with constant changes and updates to purchased IT products. Meanwhile, the crisis is increasing the need for intelligent and updated healthcare solutions. In the short term, such devices become tools in the fight against the pandemic. For example, Kinsa, a company that makes smart thermometers, has an array of users’ body temperature data that has been used to create the US Health Weather Map, which breaks down the data by county (Budd et al. 1187). Oura, a manufacturer of smart rings, is working with UCSF to study the ring’s prospects for detecting early signs of illness. Whereas smart device conversions or the rapid introduction of new features used to be rather unsettling for customers, they are now much more encouraged.
All of the above technologies, in the long run, are designed to help average users cope with covid challenges every day. This is as much about diagnosing the disease as it is about methods of fighting and avoiding it. However, in addition to new developments in the fight against covid-19 in the population’s everyday life, IT technologies are also actively contributing to the development of new approaches in medicine. This topic should be given special attention because medicine is the busiest area during a pandemic. The greatest expectations are pinned on it, and that is why the application of new technologies is so important in this area. If to talk about technology in medicine in a broader sense, we cannot but mention the development of innovative computer and laboratory covid diagnostic systems (Budd et al. 1191). Thanks to them, the patient has the opportunity to get quick and accurate results about the disease and promptly begin treatment if it is detected. In addition to these technologies, IT developments are also being introduced into medicine at a deeper level.
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Three aspects of DNA innovation are actively developing: mature digital technologies, scientific advances, and emerging DARQ technologies: Distributed Ledger, Artificial Intelligence, Extended Reality, and Quantum Computing. The pandemic has accelerated the adaptation of DARQ technologies. The World Health Organization, Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM collaborate on the HACERA MiPasa project (Budd et al. 1188). This blockchain-based open data center aims to quickly identify disease carriers and hot spots of their dangerous concentration. Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles has implemented VR modeling to train doctors in treating infectious diseases (Koley and Dhole 125). In the short term, a pandemic puts ecosystems to the stress test of innovation, opening up opportunities for ecosystem-wide innovation. Just count the number of restaurants left open in quarantine just because -startup food delivery companies are connecting them with customers. Cities are collaborating with hotels to accommodate the homeless and stop the transmission of the virus in overcrowded shelters. The therapeutic VR company AppliedVR is cooperating with Red One Medical to provide stress relief programs to frontline medical workers.
In addition, General Motors and Tesla are partnering to manufacture critical medical equipment, such as artificial respiration machines. The pandemic has caused an increased demand for high-tech development. Opportunities for growth and technological renewal, for which businesses previously had to prepare for several years, are now becoming available in a matter of weeks. New challenges and problems require organizations to innovate and rethink how they operate as quickly as possible (Koley and Dhole 127). In this context, it is worth talking about the lasting effect that covid-19 changes will have on the information technology industry. Today, projects related to e-commerce and digital sales channels are being actualized. The demand for the development of transport planning and control systems is growing. All this reinforces the need to obtain and analyze “big data” about users, changes in demand, and price volatility (Koley and Dhole 128). Moreover, this applies not only to familiar areas such as retail but also to production.
During the crisis, another trend for global companies is a shift in focus toward using out-of-the-box solutions that can quickly produce results. This trend is likely to continue in the future, as such solutions ensure quick adaptation to changing realities in critical situations. Since the IT environment, in general, is a very fickle field, this work will help many companies stay afloat in times of crisis. In addition, the trend toward telecommuting is also likely to continue. This also applies to the general digitalization in all areas of life, be it education, shopping, entertainment, or work, and the robotization of manufacturing. In the coming years, the IT sector will focus on the development of automated work systems in places where no such work plan was foreseen before (Koley and Dhole 137). The fact is that working during the pandemic has opened up opportunities for introducing artificial intelligence into everyday life. People began to notice that information technology could help in times of crisis and be an excellent addition to the daily routine.
In conclusion, the field of IT has changed a lot during the pandemic for the benefit of various industries. First and foremost, the pandemic has affected the functioning of the supporting industry. Thanks to new technologies, this industry has been able to implement advanced developments in artificial intelligence. This, in turn, made it possible to optimize production processes at a time of labor shortages and general quarantine. Workers were able to control the necessary processes remotely, thus not stopping the work of enterprises. Thus, the industry was able to develop and continue its activities in a difficult period of general crisis. Artificial intelligence technology is also being introduced into the daily lives of ordinary users. This manifests itself primarily in the possibilities of distance education, work, and entertainment.
The field of information technology is also developing in the direction of facilitating access to covid-19 diagnostics. Thanks to technology, patients can quickly receive information about their illnesses. In addition, the ability to obtain relevant information online helps to keep personal contact to a minimum and thereby protect oneself during a pandemic. The field of information technology also provides its own innovative developments in medicine. It requires the most attention in times of crisis because it is the busiest field. IT offers new diagnostic and treatment devices to facilitate the functioning of medical institutions and make them more efficient in their work. Thus, information technology is having a significant impact on virtually all areas of modern life, helping various sectors cope with the challenges of the pandemic.
Andreosso-O’Callaghan, Bernadette, Moon, Woosik, and Sohn Wook. Economic policy and the Covid-19 crisis: The macroeconomic response in the US, Europe, and East Asia. Routledge, 2021.
Budd, Jobie, et al. “Digital technologies in the public-health response to COVID-19”. Nature Medicine, vol. 26, no. 7, 2020, pp. 1183–1192.
Koley, Tapas Kumar, and Monika Dhole. The COVID-19 pandemic: The deadly coronavirus outbreak. Routledge India, 2020.