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The most discussed tech-related topics during covid-19

Adnan Kayyali

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The most discussed tech related topics during covid19

The pandemic has profoundly shifted the way we live our lives and the way we look to the future. It has also dramatically changed what we discuss, what we want to know, and what we choose to write about. An analysis by the Boston Consulting Group has revealed major shifts in tech-related topics during covid-19.

The analysis takes 150 million English language articles and written media from 30 countries, and derives the most common topics between December 2019 and May 2020.

Image source: World Economic Forum, Boston Consulting Group

Observations indicate that “Business Insights” and ‘IoT’, previously occupying the first and third positions respectively, have been completely pushed out of the top-10 list. This is a reflection of the current economic and business environment. With the decline of global economic activity and the ongoing pandemic, fewer people are concerned with the ups and downs of stocks and shares now that almost everyone is on a collective down.

‘AI and Machine Learning’ have gone from 2nd place on the list to 5th, based on the fact that artificial intelligence has been invaluable in combating such a widespread virus, and people know it. This is also reflected in ‘Data Analytics’ which went from being in 6th place all the way to 1st place, experiencing the biggest surge in interest among tech-related topics during covid-19.

In current 2nd, no surprise, 5G. Aside from the conspiracy theories linking 5G with the coronavirus, companies and nations haven’t halted their push. In fact, they accelerated it, with strong reliable internet connections now more essential than ever.

The most interesting thing however, are the new comers to the list of tech- related topics during covid-19.

Telemedicine, previously not available on the list, jumped up to 3rd most popular subject. Remote healthcare has seen an enormous spike during the pandemic and this new awareness and interest is likely to result in further innovation down the line. Other topics that did not previously exist on the list are ‘AR/VR’ at 6th most popular, followed by Distance Learning, Biotech/Medtech, and Personal protective equipment, at 8th, 9th, and 10th place respectively.

The results of this analysis reveal a great interest in safety, health, and healthcare technology as people show a greater focus on topics that matter amid the current pandemic. The list of tech-related topics during covid-19 reflects a significant shift in collective interests and awareness.

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Junior social media strategist with a degree in media and communication. Technology enthusiast and free-lance writer. Favorite hobby: 3D modeling.

MedTech

The pandemic’s hidden digital divide

Mounir Jamil

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Digital Divide

The current pandemic has really opened our eyes to the importance of interconnectivity. Lockdowns, curfews, and quarantines helped us realize how our progress and prosperity is a function dependent upon one other, and we can clearly see this on an individual-micro level and on a group-macro level (companies, groups, governments).

The larger the company, the more complex the ecosystem of partners and their interdependence. Studies show that this is particularly true in developing countries where brewing beer sustains millions of livelihoods dependent on a fragmented and traditional trade such as corner shops, grocery stores and small retail.

Naturally, as a company grows larger, a more complex ecosystem of partners is required, but what about smaller micro retailers? The current pandemic has shed light on a critical weakness for small retailers. In most developed countries, the general consensus is that citizens enjoy high speed internet access therefore transitioning a business from brick-and-mortar to online seems relatively straightforward (with some training and practice). However, when we look at other countries where Wi-Fi is not as readily available, or when citizens have to walk lengthy distances to access Wi-Fi, that’s when you understand the daily impact of the digital divide.

As the pandemic continues, access to technology becomes another source of vulnerability and inequality as smaller retailers struggle to make the shift to digital, which only makes it harder for them to deliver across their value chain. Businesses that played vital roles in their communities are now unable to meet the growing demands online.

The pandemic has forced us to face the issue of the digital divide; while some might think we are all moving toward a digitally enabled future, the reality is that there are many communities across the world still falling behind. The issue of what needs to be done rests in the hands of governments and leaders worldwide to ensure that digital inclusion is extended to all citizens and disadvantaged groups.

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MedTech

UK to rollout first-round of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine

Mounir Jamil

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Pfizer BioNtech

The British Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recently gave the green light to rollout the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for commercial use in the UK.

The first batch of vaccines are already making their way to the UK, with 800,000 units expected in the coming days. Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care said that the NHS will do its part in contacting people for the vaccine shot.

Based on vaccine storage requirements (-70°C), hospitals will be the first to receive supplies since they already have the correct storage facilities; the first round will likely take place in hospitals for care home staff, NHS staff and patients.

While the typical vaccine usually takes 10 years to be fully accepted, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was developed and introduced in just 10 months.

The UK has ordered enough units to vaccinate 20 million people – around 40 million doses in total. These doses will be given out as soon as they are made available by Pfizer in Belgium. The first round is expected next week, and “several millions” will be made available throughout December said Hancock. He also added that the majority of the rollout will take place next year.

The vaccine will be free, and it will not be mandatory. In addition, there are 3 ways of vaccinating citizens in the UK

  • Vaccination Centers
  • Hospitals
  • In the community, with general practitioners and pharmacists

As we speak, 50 hospitals are on stand-by and vaccination centers in venues like conference centers or sport stadiums are now being set up. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will hopefully mark the beginning of the end of the pandemic.

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MedTech

New technology has made COVID-19 group tests possible

Adnan Kayyali

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COVID-19 group tests

An independent technology and product development company, The Technology Partnership (TTP) has developed CoTest, a pooled screening device for conducting COVID-19 group tests. 

The vaccine is coming but when and who will get it first still remains unclear, but what is for sure is that testing cannot stop now, or in the next year at the very least. TTP states that their solution allows tests to be done on up to 40 people at a time, revealing the result within 30 minutes.

The equipment used for testing is reportedly easy to handle – samples are taken the conventional way, through a nasal or oral swab.

“We believe this technology represents an important step forward in distributed screening capacity, reducing the risk of transmission and allowing organizations to take greater control over their health security, stay open and relieve pressure on central services”.

Given the easy use and transportation of the CoTest, businesses and institutions of all kinds may want to get their hands on it. Essentially the COVID-19 group tests are just one test, but for up to 40 people at a time. This is an empowering level of efficiency that can take the load off central testing centers and labs while providing a more immediate response.

“With support, it’s entirely possible that ‘CoTest’ could be in schools and businesses and being used as a key tool in how we manage the virus.” said Peter Crossley, product development lead at TTP. The cost efficiency of this technology becomes increasingly powerful as infection rates decrease and health security monitoring becomes key.”

TTP is seeking more partners to push their new COVID-19 group test solution, which could prove to be a crucial tool in the coming months and years. While the world waits for a vaccine, we will have to continue finding ways of mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

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