This is a warlike situation, and the Threat posed by COVID-19 justifies an aggressive response. The best way to win any war is to fire the right ammunition at the right time and right place. However, we all know this is a different war that is not fightable with traditional ammunition–as we do not yet know who the enemy is.
I believe that Draconian measures being taken may help to control the exponential rise in infections, but we should also concentrate on keeping the economy going; otherwise, it may bankrupt small businesses, eliminate jobs, destroy valued assets. This is unhealthy for the Indian economy and ordinary people. So, the question is- how to keep the economy going?
Everyone in the world is trying to be protective and defensive, but I think It is a time to launch offensive defence action in this war and develop a Digital tech-enabled shared eco-system that works as an on-demand disaster recovery system. Digital tech has proven to be a valuable tool in crisis management.
Rapid fast, Cost-effective Testing using Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning.
WHO Director-General asked all countries to test all suspected cases as it is not possible to fight this Pandemic blindfolded.
India has one of the world’s lowest testing rates for coronavirus. India has a shortage of specialist doctors. Most of India’s population lives in rural areas, making it difficult for them to have timely access to the medical examination. India must scale-up testing and the best idea to test more and more people with limited resources is to automate it, leverage Artificial intelligence and machine learning Technology and prepare a software using deep-learning algorithms trained by data of affected coronavirus patients and use this trained model to predict the probability of different pneumonia types, including the variety associated with COVID-19. Indian companies like TCS, Infosys, and Wipro are Global leaders in this space, and I do not see any reason they cannot develop such software within a week if asked to do so by Government.
Migration of Supply chain on Cloud.
The most immediate business impact is a significant disruption to supply chains. During lockdown retailers and traditional small brick-and-mortar businesses (such as vegetable shops, family-owned Kirana stores, small chai wallahs and pan wallahs) lose revenues and consumers.
One solution I can think of is to provide full E-Commerce Solutions using Cloud computing and help all of them to get online quickly and painlessly. Using this solution, they can set up their B2C e-commerce platform and Online to Offline platform.
Cloud computing allows things to be migrated on the internet and purchased as a service (like electricity) and not as a product (like a generator)
My suggestion is that Indian IT Minister and Tata Communications take the leadership role to set up a public-private partnership, and everyone in the eco-system will benefit, eventually.
Online Education platforms on Cloud ( HPC and Broadcast as a service )
Most of the schools and universities around India are temporarily closed to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Educational institutions must be asked to move lectures and teaching from classrooms to the cloud Network, ensuring student welfare and academic success.
Broadcasting live video has its challenges- Issues such as latency, bandwidth, security, and scalability all need to be addressed, but I am sure if the Government instructs and asks private sector giants like TCS, Infosys and Reliance Jio -they can develop affordable cloud-enabled online education platforms.
Online education platforms & B2C E-Commerce platforms will require seamless and uninterrupted content distribution to consumers, and hence Indian Telecom services Industry also has a huge Responsibility.
Last-mile content distribution is also important.
While the supply chains of the world are failing and tens of millions of people have stopped traveling, the online services industry is expected to see an upsurge. People to stay at home and will do everything possible online. This means each home is expected to be transformed into a mini-office. This means wireless last mile to be tested to its fullest. While the rest of the supply chains go under, at least the Internet and Telecom Network supply chain needs to function in perfect order to save India from a meltdown. I would suggest that TRAI and Government of India should pass laws that Telecom operators must share excess bandwidth to achieve maximum Network uptime in these difficult times until COVID-19 Pandemic is no more. As a leader in the Indian telecom space, I think Reliance Jio should step up to take the leadership in this area.
Time to put Net Neutrality on the back burner until Pandemic is no more.
Considering the significant increase in Internet traffic because of everyone locked in their homes 24/7, TRAI should advise to slow down to stream services like Netflix, YouTube and downgrade the content quality to standard and co-operate with the telecom operators to their fullest.
Let us make India great again.
It is usually said that war, crisis, and cricket unite India. Some Indian public systems are a disaster, and people curse it all the time, but the experience of the Indian system shows that when things go wrong- these systems come together. 1984 plague epidemic, 2001 earthquake, 1971 war, and Kargil war–are some examples.
I would count on integrated Indian force (bureaucracy, messed up but robust healthcare system, and the world’s leading Indian Tech firms leveraging digital Technology) to fight against the corona crisis.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Eastern Herald.