The global pandemic has changed the lives of millions of people across the world, with ever-changing restrictions on travel, trade and movement.
At a time where the physical has been replaced with the virtual, could the cloud be the silver lining (pardon the pun) that is carrying businesses, students and the government through the coronavirus pandemic?
With the crisis forcing offices to close, organisations have been tested in their ability to innovate and adapt. Many businesses who were slow in the uptake of cloud technology have been thrown in at the deep end and forced to quickly modernise their systems.
With the immediate need to securely and systematically provide remote access to all employees and scale communications software, cloud technology has been a lifeline for many businesses.
Using technology such as remote desktop services, workers are able to smoothly transition to remote working and interact with their office PCs as if they are using them locally, from the comfort of their own homes.
The cloud also allows employees to stay connected, with collaborative document-sharing software such as Office 365, video conferencing apps such as Microsoft Teams and messaging apps such as Slack all enabling business continuity during these testing times.
With the closure of schools, of course, it isn’t just the adults at home. As children miss out on weeks of face-to-face learning, teachers have been utilising cloud-based apps such as Google Hangouts, Zoom and Google Classroom to hold webinar-style classes for their pupils.
But it’s not only the children who are looking to the internet for learning resources, with huge demand for language learning apps such as DuoLingo and Babbel since the lockdown began. Cloud technology encourages and allows for a global learning environment, no matter where you are in the world.
Whilst it may not be the same as physically being in the classroom, without cloud-based software, remote learning simply wouldn’t be possible.
Disease mitigation applications such as the COVID Symptom Study and the new NHS contact tracing app that is currently being trialled in the Isle of Wight both rely on cloud-based infrastructure to store and process big data.
With over 3.5 million participants in the UK, the COVID-19 symptom study app is the largest public science project of its kind, anywhere in the world. Developed by King’s College London and health science company ZOE, the app is used to record symptoms and individual characteristics to track infections across the UK and aid scientific understanding of how the virus affects people in different ways.
The NHS contact tracing app also uses encrypted public cloud technology when users report coronavirus symptoms. With the user’s permission, the anonymous record of their proximity to other users is uploaded to the NHS servers in order to be able to send out an alert.
Without cloud technology, this collection and storage of live data simply wouldn’t be possible for the healthcare and scientific industry. Such vital research will help us learn more about the virus, and stop the spread.
Cloud computing continues to transform how people and businesses connect on a global scale. It is all around us – in our cars, in our mobile phones, on our TV screens and even in our watches.
It is impossible to predict the final outcome of this public health crisis, but we do know that cloud computing is presenting our healthcare services, businesses and scientific research teams with some unique tools to bring to the fight.
How has cloud technology helped you through the COVID-19 crisis? Let us know by tweeting @hyve!