Tavio Roxo, Owls Software Co-Founder & CEO
It is the first day of South Africa’s nationwide lockdown and uncertainty is looming. Across the country, individuals and business owners alike are trying to estimate the effect of social distancing on our lives, work and economy. The general consensus, however, seems to be that the main focus now needs to be ‘lowering the curve’.
Based on data from China the substantial levels of self-isolation was the key to a reduction in contamination levels through Wuhan and the Hubei region. It demonstrated that the earlier a lockdown occurs in the epicentre of an outbreak, the smaller it ends up being. One of the main aims of social distancing is to ‘flatten the curve’, which means delaying the spread of the virus so it reaches people at a slower rate. The idea is the lengthen the time period over which the virus travels through a population and push the peak number of cases back so it appears later. But how does this translate to our work situation?Using technology in our time of need
There are many different approaches being used worldwide that include the use of modern technology. In the UK the use of computer modelling to predict how the virus might spread. Worldwide, people displaying symptoms of Covid 19 are connecting with virtual doctors to prevent the spread. More than a million people in Singapore made use of the telehealth MaNaDr for virtual visits, where physicians pre-screen patients via the app. Personal surveillance data that track the spread of the virus have been found to be effective in South-east Asia, with South Korea going as far as tracking potential virus carriers using cellphone and satellite technology. Naturally, restrictive data protection laws in Europe and the US prevent the use of these measures.
In South Africa, we could also use our health-related data, such as electronic health records, and sales of over-the-counter medication to gain a sense of the spread and its location. Other forms of geotracking, enabled by our smartphones, are used to track the spread of confirmed cases.
Technology is enabling us to curb the spread too much greater degrees than the pandemics of the past. But cloud computing is the technological forerunner that will help lower the curve in more ways than one. Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user. Essentially data centres available to countless users over the internet. It is now the technology that enables us to work in social isolation, keeping businesses up and running around the world.
The world of business is changing and the cloud is helping already. According to Bloomberg, the coronavirus has initiated the “worlds largest work-from-home experiment”. Companies are forced to enable a mobile workforce rife with technical ramifications and considerations. The notion of remote work has emerged in necessity requiring businesses to consider new technical discovery and requirements for remote work and bandwidth surveillance.
How we benefit
There are numerous benefits to cloud computing that has been covered in thousands of articles, but we want to highlight the benefits that it creates during this time of social distancing.
– Businesses don’t need to worry about scaling the application for their workforce that is now homebound because the application has always been assessable remotely.
– With the added bonus of multi devise support, the staff would only need a smart device for access.
– All business data remains assessable by the remote staff from anywhere in the worlds.
– The data is entirely private and secure.
– Business do not need a VPN, just a standard Internet connection.
– There are major cost reductions one of which is the limited IT Support cost for the online platform
– Cloud-based systems are also fast and effect
– It enables accountability as systems can keep track of person to person interactions within the organisation.
Is this the new normal?
Our president has just deployed the armed forces to regulate and enforce social distancing for the period of March to June in our main cites. This in itself indicates that remote business might become the new norm. If businesses make use of technologies that support the new reality, they are not only protecting their staff from physical harm and ailment, but ensuring business success.