The information technology industry has emerged as a major player in addressing COVID-19 pandemic globally. In our last post we discussed various roles that technology plays in combatting and hopefully overcoming the coronavirus. Today we will offer a continuation of that discussion. But we’ll also delve into what it means for technology leadership during these highly unusual times.
Technology Like Never Before
Last time, we reviewed how the use of video conferencing platforms has skyrocketed. Zoom, Microsoft Teams and more are increasingly becoming a daily presence in our lives. We also talked about how important telemedicine technology has become in making doctor’s visits safer and more expedient.
In this post we will discuss even more technological advances that have risen to the forefront in the response to COVID-19.
3D printer technology has been steadily rising in popularity the last several years.
However, it is truly making a name for itself today. Ventilators are in extremely short supply worldwide. Many organizations, governments, and medical suppliers are combining forces to distribute ventilators. And yet these efforts are still not enough.
Luckily, 3D printer technology has been utilized to create open source designs for equipment needed to manufacture ventilators. Researchers in Spain were the first to build an open-source respirator prototype. And it holds significant promise in counteracting the medical supply shortages facing hospitals worldwide.
New ways that tech “delivers” during COVID-19
Other inventive technology has been extremely helpful in the medical industry as well. Various provinces in China have made particularly good use of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, to deliver medical supplies.
Drones have been especially effective since they require no human contact. They have been used to transport medical samples to and from disease control centers and hospitals. Unmanned aerial vehicles also patrol public areas for non-compliant quarantine behaviors.
Robots are another form of technology that has risen to the forefront during the pandemic. Robots are able to perform simple tasks like sterilizing equipment and delivering necessary supplies such as food and medicine. This isn’t a worldwide protocol yet, but it’s just another measure to decrease human contact.
Technology is even playing a role in some unlikely sectors, such as the textile industry. Some companies are hard at work developing advanced face masks made from fabric that can repel pathogens and bacteria.
Reaching out, virtually
Technology has been extremely helpful for non-medical purposes as well. Ensuring that entire populations are able to effectively work or learn from home is an enormous challenge.
It can be especially difficult to convey health and safety messages, as well as the sheer magnitude of the virus, to children.
One example of this is a virtual reality game being developed at the University of Southern California. Researchers are creating a virtual reality game where players get points for healthy and safe behaviors, such as keeping social distance and washing your hands.
Kids today are perhaps even more accustomed to learning via tablets and computers than books. Hence, a game like this could be very effective.
Great Tech is Inspired by Great Technology Leadership
Of course, all of these technological innovations are not happening without great technology leadership behind them. We are living in very important times for Chief Information Officers and other technology leaders.
Around the world, people, businesses, and even governments are looking to IT experts for leadership on:
- how to effectively work from home
- how to keep track of their supply chains remotely
- and even what the future of the workplace will look like
This can be a make or break time for CIOs. It presents an enormous opportunity to prove yourself as a leader in the technology marketplace. But with this implication comes significant pressure to have all the answers.
What Tech Leaders Can Do Today
We’re here to offer some guidance on best practices for technology leaders during these times. Perhaps most importantly, the global crisis has highlighted the importance of having an informed, empowered, and capable team.
Hopefully – and ideally – you have been investing in your team for quite some time now. Give them the confidence and the tools to be able to effectively approach these new challenges.
However strong your team is, though, you are still their leader. Therefore this is the time for you to be asking the important questions (and providing answers when you can). Stakeholders and strategic partners outside your organization, will be looking to you to lead the way on key issues.
These include ensuring that the remote programming platforms your organization is issuing are accessible to all different devices. Doing so should minimize digital security risks, establishing clear lines of communication with strategic partners and offering them support. And finally, you’d want to make sure that the program infrastructure your business is employing can handle the surges in digital traffic.
The Future of Technology Leadership is Here
Technology leaders should always be thinking ahead, especially now. We know that COVID-19 will have an impact on the future of work globally, making remote work more commonplace.
Start collecting data on:
- how your business responded to the changes
- trends in online traffic
- who has been accessing your services
- how your supply chains and strategic partners responded
Beginning this work now will pay dividends in the long run.
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