Harvard Business Review authors Julie Shah and Neel Shah have written an article on the benefits of big data in the COVID-19 crisis. They say that big data could be vital to our fight against the disease.
“How can we get there? We believe the answer lies in computation. We need to put as much data and computing power into the problem as we can, and now. Here’s a hopeful scenario we’ve discussed, one we believe could, with focused effort, be operational by summer.”
There are four ways big data can play an important role in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. The benefits of big data include facilitating communication, making teleworking more feasible, using artificial intelligence to identify new opportunities to fight the virus and minimizing the need to go out by utilizing the IoT (Internet of things).
South Korea is one of the countries that has used big data effectively in the face of this pandemic. They have used big data for contact tracing and to look for patterns to identify sources of infection. Other countries are following their model. This can help companies and policymakers prioritize the use of social distancing stickers and other protocols to slow infection rates.
How Big Data is Changing the Fight Against COVID-19
The first benefit of big data is communication. This is the first time in the history of mankind that we have accumulated so much data on a virus in less than 3 months. Critical information about the virus has spread largely due to the attentiveness of mobile users. It is estimated that a total of 5.19 billion consumers have smartphones and 4.54 billion have internet access. There are an estimated 3.8 billion social network users.
These numbers show that we are more connected than ever before due to big data, which is largely driven by our smartphones. Smartphones are essential tools for getting information on the pandemic. They are the first line of defense, since being informed is so important. Some countries have taken steps to generate new digital platforms / Apps, which will allow online registration and seek to avoid saturation of health services. Other countries strive to use mobile technology to maintain a direct line of communication with their citizens. None of this would be possible without breakthroughs in big data.
Another benefit of big data is that it is changing the way consumers work. During the Coronavirus pandemic, more people are working remotely. Since we can stay connected with smartphones and wireless networks, we can work remotely to contain the spread of the virus.
This is another benefit of big data. During the beginning of the century, it was almost unthinkable that we would be able to receive information in real time, maintain a chat with our clients or use teleconferences as an efficient form of teamwork, but today all these possibilities are a reality. A side effect of this pandemic will create new challenges for organizations to utilize technology to maintain connected employees, companies and clients. Big data has made it easier for them to evaluate the performance of employees working remotely, which minimizes the need for direct supervision.
Big data technology has helped companies develop the capacity to rise to these challenges. However, many organizations struggle to organize processes efficiently, which restricts the ability of their employees to maintain productivity their employers have come to expect of them.
The third benefit of big data is helping prevent the spread of the virus. How can big data help contain the pandemic? We have read reports from experts on Artificial Intelligence and Big Data. They have shown that big data can be one of the great pillars of transformation, as we face one of the greatest challenges of our generation.
Smart companies and policymakers use of a combination of different technologies to propose possible propagation scenarios based on current data. These data-driven tools can send alerts to devices such as smartphones from high-risk areas to keep the population safe. Some pioneering countries are already taking the first steps in this direction.
As a fourth element raised in the medium term will be incorporated IoT solutions (Internet of things), as I mentioned earlier we have been very effective in “propagating” information through mobile devices, but we still have a pending task in the communication between devices that are estimated at 25 billion compared to 7.75 billion people on the planet, all these industrial, residential, logistics, etc., will come to have the ability to communicate with each other and can be a support when taking different actions to stop the spread of new strains of viruses in the future. IoT will be one of the new containment barriers we will have to improve our reaction capacity.
Big Data is a Crucial Line of Defense Against the Pandemic
This new pandemic is a new challenge to what we have experienced so far as human beings, but as never before we have big data tools that can help us avoid a greater impact and instead understand that technology is one of the best tools to prevent the spread of disease and make a connected environment safer and more productive.