Throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic and moving into a post-pandemic world, technology has continued to play a unique role at every step in the healthcare vertical, as well as a number of tangent markets. COVID-19 has given IT professionals the opportunity to re-think how we maximize cloud computing, reduce cybersecurity risks or track the analytics of IoT-connected peripherals.
One of the top priorities of the pandemic was in the form of helping protect the general public with efforts like temperature-reading via thermal scanning. While available in niche scenarios, tech professionals were tasked with making this technology much more commercially available. Non-contact infrared thermometers (NCITs) allow front desk or other personnel take surface skin temperature without being physically close to the person being evaluated; a huge plus in a 6-foot socially-distanced world. One of Tech Data’s vendor partners, Turing Video, has developed a workplace solution that helps mitigate risk in return-to-office scenarios.
In 2020, scientists faced the monumental task of developing a vaccination for a new virus at record speeds in order to reduce the spread and help the general public return to a sense of life pre-pandemic. In order to find a viable vaccine, experts utilized data and analytics solutions to process massive amounts of data. Johnson & Johnson released a list of 3 ways they used data science to fight COVID-19, including the tracking and forecasting of hotspots, using data to learn who is at the highest risk of getting sick and helping make informed decisions about essential workers and those returning to the workplace. Pfizer used an “incubation sandbox” to help develop an AI tool that sped up patient data processing during clinical trials.
Technology Development Beyond Healthcare
The pandemic also saw a rise in new technologies beyond just the medical field. More professionals and students were working or learning in remote environments than ever before (on behalf of all parents of school-aged students learning from home, thank you, teachers, for all you do). Individuals across the world were spending more time at home and separated from friends and loved ones, resulting in the need for creative ways to connect and stay occupied. In some cases, the crisis spurred innovation:
- Robotic food and package delivery – In many large markets, food and packages found their way to the correct destination via autonomous robots. Most notably, Amazon, Postmates and Dominos were among the early adopters as low and no-contact delivery was essential through quarantine.
- Contactless payments and check-in – Peer-to-peer money transfer apps, such as Venmo or Cash, are seeing a huge uptick in usage as the exchange of cash declines (remember our coin shortage?). More contactless kiosks and POS systems are accepting the NFC tap-to-pay options at retail locations. Locations that required check-in, such as gyms that were able to re-open, expanded their apps for contactless entry to reduce risk for patrons and staff.
- Virtual tours – If you’ve ever wanted to explore the Louvre, King Tutankhamun’s Tomb and NASA’s Houston Space Center all from the comfort of your home, you’re in luck. As key travel and tourism locations brainstormed ways to stay entertaining in a sans-travel world, virtual tours exploded. Many of these museum, theme park and historical site tours are interactive, self-paced and offer 360 degree views to fully immerse you in the experience. We have one of our own at our Groveport, Ohio GLM facility.
Identifying a Catalog of COVID-19 Response Solutions
As we enter a new phase where businesses and communities prepare to reopen, our channel partners are essential to helping their clients’ businesses make progress with a unique toolkit built on next-gen technologies. Each of the response solutions below were developed with specific use cases in mind:
- Social distancing – such as our example of using imaging technology and data analytics to detect congestion based on body heat. This solution allows the building administrator to see where people are congregating and respond in real time to the congestion to ensure individuals are keeping a safe distance. Alerts are generated based on dwell time and distance, which can be customized in the web interface.
- Workplace safety - communication to customers and staff within public spaces is increasingly important for successfully reopening. Serving up-to-date information and communications dynamically are critical, as companies make return to office plans.
- Sanitization - the pandemic has placed a new emphasis on hygiene in multiple verticals. Technologies that verify handwashing aid in compliance, improves outcomes and satisfaction in healthcare settings and delivers actionable data for training and intervention.
- Telehealth - HIPAA-compliant telehealth and telemedicine solutions encompasses cloud-based workflows, videoconferencing, and live vital signs monitoring from anywhere in the world. Tech Data offerings streamline partners’ ability to enhance efficiencies for healthcare providers and patients.
- Remote student/worker - remote working and learning were solutions that helped to bridge the quarantine gap. Even as communities reopen, these solutions for students and workers are likely to be foundational to school and business operations. Implementing comprehensive communication platforms engage students and workers simultaneously.
Tech Data provides IoT healthcare solutions in addition to a supplemental catalog specifically targeting the COVID-19 response solutions listed above. In fact, the Tech Data IoT Solution Factory and IoT Practice Builder programs powered the development of these pandemic-specific solutions, and these resources are available for partners. Drawing from the best of its extensive eco-system of technology suppliers, IoT Solution Factory drives the creation and delivery of IoT solutions. IoT Practice Builder helps technology solution providers rapidly and affordably accelerate their cloud technology business. The result is a comprehensive roadmap that encompasses business analysis, training and enablement, marketing and services with execution tactics.
Tech Data has the resources and support programs that help partners accelerate their time to market with scalable, repeatable, market-ready solutions aligned to specific vertical use cases. Visit our COVID-19 response catalog for more information.
About the Author
Mike Fitch is a content marketing expert with more than 9 years of experience in B2B marketing, specializing in marketing automation, branding, social media, and content strategy. Mike currently serves as a Senior eMarketing Strategist for Tech Data’s Americas Communications team.