By: Ankur Goel
COVID-19 has disrupted businesses and sectors all over the world. Businesses, government agencies, healthcare workers and educational institutes have all had to redefine the way they work in just a matter of few weeks.
Apart from maintaining our physical and mental well-being during this pandemic, the concern on top of everyone’s minds right now is to explore new ways of doing business to ensure business continuity. Leaders across sectors are looking for technologies that can help ensure some sort of ‘normalcy’ in these troubled times.
Technology’s role in fighting COVID-19
Technology plays a critical role in ensuring business continuity and technologies like video conferencing and collaboration platforms are key enablers in helping business leaders achieve this.
It’s been interesting to note how different sectors are embracing communication and collaboration technologies to help serve their customers. Government agencies are using video conferencing and content sharing tools now more than ever to interact with each other and also, to reach out to rural citizens. Hospitals are using tele-medicine solutions so that patients can try a virtual service first rather than going to hospitals and risk infecting themselves and other patients.Universities and schools are shifting to digital education.
By leveraging collaboration technologies such as video conferencing, not only can we ensure business continuity but we can also use it to collaborate and fight together against the pandemic. Here’s how different sectors are redefining the way they work through collaboration solutions-
- Healthcare –The current COVID-19 situation is disrupting the way essential specialist health care is accessed and delivered to protect the medical team, patients and the wider community. With many patients and healthcare professionals now making virtual appointments over the phone or digital technologies, collaboration technologies are set to play a bigger part in providing quality care than ever before.
Hospitals and health insurers are encouraging patients with suspected coronavirus symptoms to try a virtual service first, rather than coming into the doctor where they might infect others and then accordingly treat patients. For instance, Cloudnine, India’s leading chain of maternity, childcare and fertility care group of hospitals headquartered in Bengaluru has launched its teleconsultation service with doctors in response to the growing public health concerns caused by the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Medical professional across the world are using video conferencing and content sharing technologies to connect and ideate on learnings, thereby making the treatment processes more effective. Not to mention, telemedicine is reducing the transmission risks to both healthcare workers and patients.
- Government Agencies – India is a very large and diverse country. To function efficiently and coordinate efforts to mitigate COVID-19 down to a grass root level, it is important that administrators i.e. ministers, government employees, and bureaucrats communicate and collaborate on a regular basis. For instance, ever since the COVID-19 outbreak in India, our esteemed Prime Minister,Shri Narendra Modi has been regularly using video conferencing to connect with Chief Ministers and government bureaucrats across the nation – this is helping them in making timely, efficient decisions.
In disasters such as the current pandemic, video conferencing also plays an important role in helping the government bridge the urban-rural divide.
- Education – Today’s students have grown up using many different types of technologies and they are comfortable with video as a medium to communicate. To keep up with closure of schools and universities during the pandemic, educators are rethinking traditional teaching methods and are adapting to the way that students learn best- i.e. through interactive learning; Universities and schools all over India are currently conducting online classes to keep its students engaged. Online summer camps are also gaining prominence.
By leveraging collaboration technology, wecan break down the walls of the classroom and essentially move the classroom and the educator’s office to wherever there is internet and webcam access.
Due to the current lockdown, most employees are working from home and leaders are working hard to ensure that business continuity is not hampered in this situation. To do this successfully, companies should ensure that their employees have the right tools and technologies in place to get the job done.
Collaboration technologies like video conferencing and platforms such as Microsoft Teams can be used extensively to keep the employees engaged and have more meaningful collaboration. In addition, leaders should ensure that the laptops, headsets, private corporate networks, or even employee communications tools provided for employees are up to par to support its workforce working remotely for extended periods.
It’s a difficult period and resources are limited, but by implementing the right technology and with constant collaboration, it can help us come together as one and get through this challenging period.
(The author is Managing Director, Poly India and the views expressed in the article are his own)