Computer technology has helped society conquer countless challenges over the last 40 years. The most recent problem computers have played a role in addressing is the COVID-19 pandemic.
Policymakers and health experts have recognized the growing importance of computer technology in minimizing the spread of the pandemic. They will continue to rely on new technological developments to slow future outbreaks. Big data will be especially important in the coming months, as communities across the world struggle to come up with adequate solutions to this perplexing virus. Social distancing stickers can be very useful, but technology is going to be important as well.
Here are some of the ways that big data and computer technology solutions are helping address the crisis.
Apple and Google collaborate on contact tracing technology
The COVID-19 crisis can be recognized as a number of smaller challenges that need to be overcome. One of those challenges is identifying people that might have been infected, so they can be properly tested. This is known as contact tracing. Without contact tracing, it would be impractical to administer coronavirus tests for every person in the community. It would also not make much sense to rely solely on temperature checks, which are inaccurate approaches for diagnosing possible infections.
Countries like Singapore and South Korea have been highly successful at containing the pandemic by using contact tracing with technology. They use computerized models to identify people that have visited possible hotspots and identify the spread of the illness. Contact tracing also helps track an individual that is known to have been infected and see who they came into contact with. Other people that might have been exposed to them can be advised to social distance until the test confirms whether or not they have been infected as well.
While contact tracing has been effective in other countries, it has not been widely used in the United States. Google and Apple are changing this.
The two Silicon Valley companies don’t usually collaborate on major projects together. They have decided to make an exception with a new contact tracing technology. The reason this partnership is so important is that the two corporations collectively provide the software for 99% of all smartphones in the United States. This means that they can track 99% of smart phone users and monitor the spread of the infection.
Enabling remote working to ensure social distancing
Social distancing is very important for stopping the spread of COVID-19. Computer technology has played an important role in ensuring social distancing.
This is likely one of the reasons that we will probably be more successful with stopping COVID-19 than we were with the Spanish Flu of 1918. In the beginning of the 20th century, remote working wasn’t much of a possibility. Everybody had to be physically present to do their job. As a result, community infections were out of control.
Things are different in 2020. Computer technology enables people to work remotely, which prohibits them from coming into contact with coworkers or customers that might have been infected. This is one of the most important ways that technology is helping curb the spread of this deadly virus.
Using data analytics to identify groups at the highest risk of infection
Big data is used for many purposes. One of the most common applications of data analytics is risk scoring. Insurance companies frequently use big data to conduct risk scoring when underwriting policies. Similar technology can be used to identify groups that are most adversely affected by COVID-19.
Data analytics has determined that the virus impacts groups differently based on age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, occupation and a variety of other factors.