Even as it takes thousands of lives and wreaks havoc, the novel coronavirus pandemic is triggering a digital transformation for both businesses and governments on a worldwide scale, according to an expert in the field.
"The pandemic will push robotic technology five years forward," Tansu Yegen, vice president for Europe of New York-based tech firm UiPath, told Anadolu Agency.
Predicting that the virus will cause a loss of 30 million jobs around the globe, especially in sectors requiring close contacts such as real estate, leisure, and food, Yegen stressed that business owners will try to address the new environment with the support of high tech and robotic solutions.
"Companies in China started using smartphone apps to monitor employees to track their health," he said.
He stressed that handling and storing data on the coronavirus pandemic is one of the biggest challenges governments have ever faced.
Their systems are already overburdened by data on “benefits, jobs, health issues, and so on due to coronavirus, so they need the support of robotic software” to deal with it, he explained.
Dealing with virus risk
Yegen added that robots are also reliable solutions for finding effective solutions to minimize or eliminate the risk of those in close contact with coronavirus patients.
"We’ll see the use of robots, both physical and in software, rise in the years to come," he predicted.
But in the early days of this transformation, he warned: "All companies understand that they are not ready digitally."
The world is passing through a digital transformation, especially in customer-oriented services for companies and public-oriented services for governments, he stressed.
Citing the latest survey by U.S.-based market intelligence firm IDC, Yegen said technology spending will see growth next year after a significant slowdown in 2020 across European organizations, as the crisis seeps into virtually all economies.
Work from home
"At this stage, spending on online collaboration tools such as video conferences and email solutions is expected to get the largest share, due to the surge of work-from-home," he said.
This should be followed by investments in devices such as PCs, phones, and tablets, he said.
"Not every employee, especially for lower segments, has a computer in its home. Thus, companies tend to purchase PCs and tablets, leading to a shortage," he added.
Companies also need analytics to predict demand and fine-tune supply chains, and next-gen customer support platforms – chatbots, remote maintenance – Yegen stressed.
"Robotization has started not in physical robots but in robotic software," he said, adding: “However, immediate spending should be done in devices and screens for remote working, artificial intelligence-enabled healthcare systems to manage outbreaks, and cloud infrastructure scale due to online shopping.”
Yegen stressed that companies are looking for sustainable business through any means which can be ensured via technology.
"Four components shine out here; extreme automation, Omni-experience, intelligence everywhere, and hyper-connectivity," he explained.
Since originating in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
More than 1.43 million cases have been reported worldwide, with a global death toll of over 82,100 and nearly 302,000 recoveries.