9 issues after COVID-19 that tech will have to answer

Monday May 11, 2020, France came out of its strictest containment level, and some trades resumed the path of transport. A semblance of returning to the “world before”, which is no longer relevant. If the skepticism of a “new wave” is very present in our heads, it is certain that for many more months, our habits will continue to evolve in this new era initiated by the COVID-19 crisis.

On the other hand, health skepticism is detached from economic skepticism. The industry of tomorrow gives little room for doubt, and many issues have already emerged from the crisis due to the epidemic of the new coronavirus. Physical distancing, confinement and an awareness of the importance of health security have created a need for change. Lemon squeezer has already had the opportunity to cite several in his treatment of current affairs related to tech. Let’s see together 9 challenges from COVID-19 that tech will have to answer.

More big data sharing and analysis

When the COVID-19 epidemic became a pandemic, the impact on the data was enormous. From a local database, Big Data analysis took on a global scale. Recently, the Technological Council of the magazine Forbes published an article mentioning this issue. The team reported that “Often, only a small subset of relevant data is analyzed due to time and performance constraints. Whether it is a health care institution or a government institution, it is essential for them to be able to quickly and more efficiently analyze a larger database for critical information that could save lives. “

One of the most popular topics on this issue was the design of tools to provide a COVID-19 patient tracking application. The collaborative work between Apple and Google – who have developed an architecture made available to governments for their application of “Contact tracing” – stressed the need to allow this sensitive data to be transparent, shared, and under standardized tools to be able to work together.

“Quickly and more efficiently analyze a larger database for critical information that could save lives”

Faced with sensitive data, a significant need for cybersecurity

Inevitably, this management of Big Data on a global scale needs a solid reinforcement in terms of cybersecurity. The sensitive data analyzed here cannot gain the trust of the populations without a joint effort concerning confidentiality and the digital barriers to prevent vulnerabilities. Yesterday, the FBI reported that the agency was investigating Chinese cyber actors in several rounds of cyber attacks targeting US research for a vaccine against COVID-19. For WHO, the sensitive data that is currently being analyzed by the various countries has increased the number of computer hacks identified by five.

The stakes are high. And it will also concern the new work tools that are on the rise in this period of confinement, as with the emergence of platforms for teleworking. Recently, Lemon squeezer had the opportunity to speak with Loïc Rousseau, the director of Zoom France. The latter had told us that the video conference platform, which made its popularity during the crisis, wanted “Put all the investments on security over the next 90 days.” Nadine Yahchouchi, director of Microsoft 365 on French soil, added that security was one of the two biggest issues of this period for the Microsoft Teams platform.

Connected health: more prevention and alert

In 2018, Apple launched its new Apple Watch Serie 4, which would give a new lease of life to its range of connected watches. On the new product, an electrocardiogram appeared, and gave it a new selling point: health. Since then, Apple is no longer the only manufacturer to develop products for connected health. Fitbit, bought by Google last year, is also in the market.

From these devices, the health of tomorrow will be able to strengthen prevention and alerts. Heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, or even more recently psychological problems with panic attack detections, are a whole bunch of new problems that tech can help prevent. As we can already see today, the news is multiplying around more or less tragic stories where connected devices have saved the lives of more than one.

Reinventing work with suitable digital tools

This week, the boss and founder of Twitter Jack Dorsey sent a letter to his employees reporting a very strong decision within the social network. In the post-COVID-19 era, telework will continue. Certain trades of the company will be able to choose to work from home, without any condition of health crisis. The decision is strong but revealing of this period of health and economic crisis. The benefits of such a choice will be many.

In a few weeks, containment has reinvented the way we work, and “The crisis is an accelerator for the office of tomorrow”, as Nadine Yahchouchi from Microsoft France told us. We have in mind the massive increase in the number of users of the Zoom application (from 10 million to over 200 million active accounts since December), but it is of a more general set that the tech will have to accompany change. SaaS services, access to information everywhere, communication tools and a simpler creation platform … the work of tomorrow will experience a boost of mobility in companies.

“The crisis is an accelerator for the office of tomorrow” Nadine Yahchouchi, Microsoft France

Internet speed up to par

2020 should have been the year of the 5G network for France. Finally, the delays could be substantial, and the deployment of the network supposed to support the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) will have to wait yet. But as we have seen with the delayed arrival of Disney + last March, internet speed will be a crucial issue in view of the increase in the use of digital tools. The world of work and entertainment (mostly streaming) should be able to share speed without difficulty. This will certainly require better infrastructure, but also more measured consumption of the various services.

Fintech: online banking and contactless payment

Lemon squeezer devotes an entire section to its editorial line: Fintech, for “financial technologies”, is an integral part of the digital revolution. With the COVID-19 crisis, we could see that everyone’s interest was converging on simpler tools, connected, and arranged to be accessible from our pocket.

Despite the drop in consumption which has hurt young neo-banks like N26 and Revolut, the online banking industry will have its place in the “New World”. It will be the same for our payment technologies, although this second point is intimately linked to the first. Contactless payments – whose ceiling in France has increased from 30 to 50 euros, will be part of these new barrier gestures for health prevention.

Finally, new players in fintech have shown their weight and the importance of being able to digitize money and offer everyone something to pay or simply get paid in a crisis situation. In the United States, the Cash App (purchased by Visa) has offered its services to the federal government in its helicopter money policy. An urgent need, when the country has more than 14 million unbanked inhabitants. On April 22, the fintech services left for Spotify, where a partnership gave birth to a donation feature to help artists. Fintech, through digital money, will facilitate economic assistance in the event of an emergency.

Fintech, through digital money, will facilitate economic assistance in the event of an emergency.

Education: better tools and better training

The confinement closed the schools, and relocated the lessons through digital tools which showed their weakness during this period. The issues could be classified into three categories: access to tools, teacher training in new technologies, and finally the technologies themselves. In a world where the Internet offers us multiple possibilities, and digital tools are an integral part of a good number of professions of the future, it will not be sustainable for a period of confinement to put an end to the program educative.

Obviously, the need for teleworking is not the same as in business, and there is no question of permanently closing school premises. But between better training of teachers in new tools and the creation of simpler, educational and fun software, huge progress could be made to add autonomy and interactivity to learning. As with telework, however, this digitization of courses should not forget human contact.

Reinventing our virtual relationships

Human contact. This is one of the first victims of confinement. Silence, loneliness. And this is indeed an issue. Because since the coronavirus epidemic, several changes have been noted in our habits, and many of them are directly related to tech and the internet.

Let’s start with a classic, and often repeated, point: in a period of confinement, the phone call made its comeback. This is a very interesting point, in a world where the fashionable telephone call at the end of the last century was overtaken today by a whole bunch of new services and applications, using multimedia. to allow us to communicate. “We fell silent, then we started to call” is an article published on Lemon squeezer evoking the return of this old habit which says a lot about the current situation.

At the same time as returning to old habits, confinement led us to a very interesting question: in confinement, we can keep in touch with our loved ones, but how do we keep meeting people? Lemon squeezer has reserved large special files on this subject. The first looks at the evolution of dating apps, and the second looks at Fortnite. The first evokes the future of these services which are heading straight towards a new kind of program that one could call “relational application”, when the second reinvents the universe of the video game, and builds a global platform where the game video mixes with a social network and entertainment platform aspect.

In confinement, we can keep in touch with our loved ones, but how do we keep meeting people?

Social media: the importance and the danger of information

Let us end on an essential point, which concerns the media and communication. In times of crisis, social media are perfect channels for quickly informing people, as radio may have been in the last century. We have seen it in sudden and temporary disasters, such as earthquakes or terrorist attacks. We see it today on a more substantial period with the epidemic: social networks must allow access to a large amount of information, coming from several sources and opinions.

The issue also concerns the limits of shared information. Social networks deal with it on a daily basis: hate messages and fake news are a major problem. This week, Twitter has been pinched on this subject, and the platform has chosen to strengthen its policy to fight against tweets with “questionable” information. In France, a dispatch published by the agency Reuters reports that the government has definitively adopted the Avia law, to set a limit of 24 hours before unwanted content is removed from social networks, under penalty of a fine.

Tomorrow, these information channels will have to be extra careful. Machine learning of AI-boosted software will help manage this astronomical amount of publications to be deleted quickly.

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