Inside Telecom takes a look into some of the possible effects of the Covid-19 crisis mainly on the MedTech industry, and the implications of it impact for years to come. Make no mistake, that the Covid-19 pandemic is definitely a game changer for businesses across sectors.
Elective procedures have taken a severe toll due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The effects are hard hitting and deeply threaten innovation. Conformis – custom orthopedics implant maker – had to let go nearly one third of its employees due to the volume of elective procedures dwindling down to half. Conformis was lucky however as they were able to secure a $4.7 million Paycheck Protection Program loan to bring back most of the employees who were laid off.
Moving forward, there will be new steps and protocols in place to protect elective procedures to make sure they aren’t harmed in the process. These types of surgeries are still in demand – even if the demand isn’t as high or if the priority has shifted.
For companies that have robust diagnostic components such as Abbott Laboratories, the picture is a bit brighter. Abbott possesses immense diagnostic capabilities due to their acquisition of Alere a couple of years back. Abbott Laboratories have also developed four Covid-19 diagnostics. However, the picture isn’t as bright for Dublin-based Medtronic, who have reported that US weekly revenue has declined about 60% year over year on average.
When word came out that there is a shortage of ventilators, the automotive industry leaped into overdrive to help produce the technologies. President Trump even ensured that these ventilators would be put in the national stockpile via the Defense Production Act. However, will this be the last we see of the collaboration between the MedTech industry and the automotive one? It is very probable that a door has been opened for future collaboration between the two industries once we reach the other side of the pandemic.
How do you conduct social-distancing in the healthcare industry during the time of the pandemic? Well the answer is quite simple: Telemedicine. Most elements of social distancing are here to stay, we already know the handshake is long gone. So, you’re going to have to have something that can help in cutting down on the time taken for a patient’s routine checkup.
MD+DI News Editor Amanda Pedersen earlier reported that Jason Mills, a MedTech industry analyst at Canaccord Genuity shared his conclusions from three recent physician surveys across the structural heart, stroke/venous thromboembolism and robotic surgery fields. One of the key takeaways is that an overwhelming majority of doctors have swiftly embraced telemedicine during the crisis.
Testing has become crucial and will only become more important moving forward. There is still a shortage of tests for Covid-19, even while the FDA is granting and approving emergency use authorization for many firms. The pandemic is changing all of that, and we will soon witness several more diagnostic companies increase production and build testing capabilities. So, intense discussion surrounding these testing capabilities is to be expected. There will be more home tests as social distancing continues to gain popularity.
Robotics in the MENA region finds good footing amid virus
As the need for contactless health and safety solutions becomes ever-more essential, robotics in the MENA region is taking off. The forward-thinking startups, students, and entrepreneurial minds have stepped up to meet the growing demand by addressing a complex situation with hands-on solutions.
In the UAE, entrepreneur Aswin Sarang, understands that the demand for robotics in the MENA region is on the rise, and has developed several robots each capable of performing a certain task which include delivering food and medicine, sanitization services, and checking for fever.
“The idea is to sterilize infected areas and surfaces, such as hospitals, endemic neighborhoods and isolation rooms, to prevent doctors, health workers and volunteers from being infected.” Said Aswin Sarang – Head of Robotics & AI at Reliable Robotics.
The company supports healthcare authorities, airports, malls, as well as the private sector.
Recently, Reuters reported on an Egyptian engineer Mahmoud el-Komy who put his healthcare robot to the test with positive results. The robot was made to deliver routine healthcare duties such as taking temperature and testing for COVID-19 all via remote control.
The robot also delivers health information to the patients.
“There has been a positive response from patients. They saw the robot and weren’t afraid. On the contrary, there is more trust in this because the robot is more precise than humans.”
The drive to develop robotics in the MENA region seems to be sparking passion among the youth as well. In Lebanon, two engineering students created a cleaner bot of their own to sterilize indoor spaces like hospital rooms and offices. The cleaner bot costs $700/$800 to produce and can be rented out for cleaning at a fee of $50/$70 per session, depending on the size of the job arabnews.com reported.
On demand sterilization service robotics in the MENA region and around the world may see a similar rise in demand post-pandemic. Performing routine tasks that limit human exposure can be safer and more efficient for consumers and businesses alike.
The multi-cloud adoption boom
As the rapid advancements in tech continue – fueled by the current pandemic – we find ourselves stretching our limits and breaking boundaries. An important area that has gained significant traction this year is cloud computing, and more specifically, multi-cloud adoption.
What is multi-cloud?
For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, a multi-cloud environment Is when an enterprise utilizes more than one cloud platform and delivers a specific function, application, or service. Multi-clouds can be made up of private, public, and edge clouds to achieve a datacenter’s end goals and objectives.
Multi-cloud adoption garnered a significant increase to 70 percent year-over-year in 2020, outpacing the previous year by a whopping 20 percent.
Current State of multi-cloud
The Continuous Intelligence Report The State of Modern applications, DevSecOps and the Impact of COVID-19 from Sumo Logic revealed that customers adopted 3 main vendors to meet their cloud needs; CloudTrail (60 percent), VPC Flow Logs (34 percent) and GuardDuty (22 percent) respectively.
The report is developed from data that is aggregated from more than 2100 Sumo Logic customers that run applications over several major cloud platforms as well as on-premises environments. The report highlighted the importance of securing cloud workloads via the adoption of both cloud-native security technologies and available cloud data sources.
Furthermore, the pandemic has highlighted how important remote work is – and that is where cloud-computing shines bright. The rise in multi-cloud adoption led enterprises to modern cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
It is noteworthy to mention that AWS regional centers in the EU and US were among the top targets for hackers, according to the Sumo Logic’s global intelligence.
What are the benefits of multi-cloud adoption?
- Flexibility: No single cloud can perform most business functions, or at least no single cloud can do everything well. Integrating multi-cloud can allocate the right cloud platform to the right business function
- Proximity: By hosting some workloads through regional cloud providers that operate closer to where the user is, the enterprise would be greatly enhancing a user’s experience
- Failover: As a failover solution, multi-cloud adoption can protect an enterprise from outages by providing readily available and highly scalable backup for data and workflows for systems
Why GovTech adoption during COVID-19 is a must
GovTech is a new term that refers to the modernization and/or digitization of government services for better accessibility and efficiency of public services. A mouth full, but this suggests a need for governments to do what the private sector has been doing from the start: embrace and incorporate industry 4.0 technology. However, to do so on a governmental level is complex.
The tech revolution occurring around the world, accelerated by the pandemic will not wait for governments to search their paper file cabinet for a solution. Citizens’ expectations of speed and efficiency are set higher by the private sector.
Too many authorities in developing nations, and many government-managed institutions in developed nations, are woefully behind on tech adoption within their systems.
According to the World Bank’s definition as stated in their brief, GovTech is essentially about putting people first.
“GovTech is a whole-of-government approach to public sector modernization that promotes simple, accessible, and efficient government”.
Governments who had already begun improving their digital infrastructure before the pandemic, had a better chance of curbing outbreaks after the initial wave with known exceptions. Namely the US and UK.
Examples of GovTech used well during the pandemic can be found more to the east, in Singapore and South Korea among others, where data-gathering and citizen compliance with safety measures worked well to begin with.
Still, in the United states we see examples of GovTech being implemented even before the pandemic.
In areas of infrastructure, 120 Water Audit was recently launched, a cloud-based water management software, that a government on any level and size can use to minimize water waste.
During the pandemic, we have seen companies like BlueDot develop early warning systems to predict outbreaks, allowing governments to react preemptively. These systems used data gathered from numerous data sets from news, medical records and airlines to detect certain trends using their algorithm.
In the future, we should expect better GovTech adoption in public health services. Governments must work with the private sector to secure the right systems and consolidate their systems for better data collection. Undoubtedly, this is a long-term process.
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