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The Cloud and Machine Learning in a COVID-19 World

The Cloud and Machine Learning in a COVID-19 World

In today’s world, going Digital is becoming a top-of-mind need for business owners. Digital transformation is a strategy that is seeing a rising trend amplified by the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve crossed the point where the prospect of change seems to have matured—that businesses are on the same page with regards to how important a digital transformation strategy is to ensure survival.

In many ways, it’s true: adoption of digital solutions, often cloud-powered, has skyrocketed across the landscape this year. Apps like Zoom for businesses and TikTok for entertainment have seen tremendous growth as people’s lifestyles changed in response to restrictions and lockdowns. Without these technologies that provide smarter, more efficient ways to operate, many businesses would probably not make it past the first few months of the pandemic.

But cloud computing, and the use of AI and Machine Learning, can also help fight the crisis. What is commonly seen as a technology that can help businesses stay afloat, is now a tool to help industries navigate through these turbulent times, and provide innovative solutions that benefit the greater good. Cloud computing especially, with its contribution to the digital economy, has a much bigger role in crisis management than we give it credit for.

The cloud as the pandemic’s unsung hero

It’s hard to imagine how we would live our lives without the digital apps and services that we heavily rely on in today’s COVID-19 environment. These cloud-powered apps truly help us gain a sense of “normalcy” by bridging people together with the use of technology. But more than just providing the infrastructure to help us live the “new normal,” cloud technologies have also powered efforts to combat the current global pandemic.

The cloud is capable of handling and processing big data, which has an increasing role in digital governance especially as we continue to battle the economic effects of COVID-19. As such, novel apps and services have popped up to address the need to respond to this crisis around the world. Multiple options are available in the Philippines, such as Stay Safe PH, the digital bayanihan platform approved by the Philippine government to help track, trace, and map out COVID-19 cases through community-driven features. It generates a dynamic heatmap of COVID-19 cases using self-reported information.

A similar solution CLEAR (Citizen’s Logistics and Early Assessment Report Tool) is also available, powered by Huawei Cloud and through a partnership with PLDT and Globe. It is a personal health monitoring tool with contact tracing features as well. The developers’ Spring Valley Tech Corp. teamed up with CMI Tech to make an app that considers “certain nuances in the Philippine landscape” such as the “dominance of the prepaid market, access to the internet, and smartphone penetration.”

Local governments have also stepped up to provide their own solutions, like Pasig Pass, which was Pasig City’s own city-wide, QR-based contact tracing solution that says goodbye to filling up manual forms. Not only is the implementation of the service helpful in enforcing social distancing guidelines and minimizing the spread of COVID-19, but it also helps with the city’s sustainable development goals by going paperless too.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning as the blueprint for innovative crisis response

While we wait for an eventual end to the pandemic with the advent of a vaccine and further management of COVID-19 cases, researchers from around the world have the cloud and artificial learning to thank for allowing them the capacity to work on solutions faster than ever before. Research is a tremendous amount of work, but artificial intelligence and machine learning have helped in automating a lot of manual processes, like creating computer models to map out how COVID-19 behaves, speeding up our understanding of the virus, and ultimately helping us develop solutions.

In the early days of the pandemic, China’s digital health strategy was to make use of emerging technologies including machine learning to tackle the crisis. By using AI and Deep Learning to quickly analyze high-resolution CAT scans with high accuracy, they were able to speed up the process of diagnosis of COVID-19 cases which in turn helped contain the spread of the virus.

Just recently, a research team from the University of Oklahoma have developed an AI that could recognize COVID-19 through cough sounds, a potential breakthrough in the battle against the virus. The AI model can determine a cough with COVID-19 symptoms from others with different causes. If implemented successfully, we may see a rise of “cough apps” that can be used and integrated into telemedicine platforms, or contact tracing systems, to further promote testing in safer, more socially-distanced environments.

It’s amazing how various institutions are already using the capabilities of cloud technology to respond to the crisis in unprecedented ways. If you’re looking into using cloud computing and machine learning to transform your business or to help out in the battle against COVID-19, we’re here to help. Contact us today and find out how our team of certified cloud architects at Apper can help you achieve your business goals.

Mosselle Cruz

Marketing and Partnerships Lead

Mosselle is an experienced tech startup country launcher and marketing professional with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and Tech Startup industry. She has helped ASEAN tech brands expand to the Philippines since 2015. She has worked with FinTech and HRTech startups during their early phases, setting up groundwork for the local teams to drive growth and jumpstart operations.

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