Lessons learned from pandemic : What India can look forward to in 2021
By Joseph Panicker, BE, FIE, PE(INT)
Remembering the days when Covid-19 became Pandemic, the world became almost standstill. Mainly, the farmers and supply chain was functional. The coronavirus popularly known as Covid-19 has reached almost every corner of the globe. Trade restriction started worldwide between the countries and within the states started happening. Subsequently the import of some essential spare parts and chemicals reagents and medical device components has nearly halted in India similar to any part of the world.
2020 brought rare attention on science, particularly on the health sciences. Not only on subjects like public health, the state of country’s scientific research become part of mainstream discussions, a large number of people even became aware of issues like the complexities of vaccine development, or the difficulties in clinical trials of drugs and vaccines.
COVID-19 has brought an unparalleled sense of urgency to cope with the pandemic situation. World come together on a war footing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontline workers such as medical staffs, scientists and medical technology developers struggled to find solutions to handle with the situations.
This generation have not seen the world wars, but the atrocities of world war situation was heard from our forefathers and through movies and reports illustrating the situations and the mitigation of pandemic is like a modern form a new world war. The difference is that enemy is unseen.
COVID-19 pandemic started impacting our life, economies, social lives, and our living standards. The world started seeing the slowest of slowdown of all time. The fact was that India was not even producing some of the relatively simple things like ventilators had come as a shock to the government authorities at the start of the outbreak.
At the same time, World has prompted an outpouring of creativity in other areas. Technology firms have begun to come forward. Government, industry and academia to combine this multitude of innovation efforts for a concerted response to COVID-19.
Today, the situation is different and we started seeing the situation unrolling. India launched the world's biggest vaccination drive with two 'Made in India vaccines- Covishield and Covaxin, against the coronavirus disease. Covishield is made by Serum Institute of India (SII) and Covaxin is manufactured by Bharat Biotech.
Startups and young professionals realize that this is the time when people want to showcase their creativity and to develop a unique product or service and bring it to market. Businesses are taking inspiration from the situation or new normal and they came up with exclusive ideas and indigenous scientific discoveries which most of them world have soon accepted them. The knowledge based startups started with innovative ideas which had the potential to grow into a profitable business. Bio-entrepreneurship is an integration of two different disciplines – science and business. It is the flow of innovation from academia to industry.
Here we are highlighting some of the technologies and innovations and products --mainly aimed at helping people and businesses in the areas of health sciences, groceries, other essential services, online learning, e-commerce, and workplace tools. What makes these products special is that they helped humanity in its greatest crisis of all time.
E-commerce delivery services
The e-commerce industry has been considered over using drones for deliveries for a long time, but had little support for the idea. COVID-19 has put millions under lockdown. And in this critical situation, drones are proved as a great help.
Another example of E-commerce sales is opening the web stores at each door. Web stores expanded their mobile presence by launching fast mobile apps for grocery items including medicines, essential goods, and other services.
Video communication and conferencing
Cloud infrastructure have started setting up servers all around the world to enable people to switch over to video conferencing and cloud computing technologies. Zoom Video Communications, is an American communications Technology Company headquartered in San Jose, California is an excellent example to demonstrate corporate success. The video-based conference app has added millions of users during the Pandemic period. Apps such as GoToMeeting, Cisco Webex Meetings, Google Hangouts Meet, Adobe Connect are some of the examples.
The US-based company Zoom has a user base that is diverse. From children to elderly people, engineers, doctors, musicians, corporates, teachers, businesses etc.
Touching a door handle is part of life of most people, however, most public space or surfaces now considered to be potential health hazards. To prevent this problem, hygiene hooks are better option which helps us to open doors without touching.
Telemedicine has greatly helped the already strained doctor community. These apps are guiding their patients using mobile phones for consulting a doctor, Patients can use these apps for making payments also.
Hygiene smart band
The kind of coded band which sound alerts the users whenever they attempt to touch their face. The company believes that this band known as “Immutouch” is a great breakthrough, especially at this time when it is advisable for people to maintain serious hygiene.
The above list is just a glimpse of what’s actually happening in the technology field.
Hundreds of fresh new discoveries from individuals, volunteers, non-profits, researchers, and businesses are unleashed each day.
Here are some of the things that we are likely to see happening in the science and technology, and health, sectors in the coming months and years.
ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT: The experience of this pandemic has made the government more convinced of the need for self-reliance, at least in the strategic sectors which include science and technology sector laboratories and industry to support domestic manufacturing of components and instruments.
PROMOTING STAR-UP CULTURE: The present government had been promising support to start-up ventures long before the outbreak. During the pandemic itself, the government announced a major push for private participation in the space sector, for example, about half a dozen new space-related enterprises have sprung up in the last two years.
India could benefit from the strong Science, Technology and Engineering capabilities and upgrade existing infrastructure and networks.
India shall sign more and more agreements with other countries and expand newer research activities and application possibilities in the field of remote sensing techniques, satellite communication, satellite navigation, space science and exploration of outer space etc. for peaceful purpose.
India has secured a respected place among nations. India is poised for a giant leap from the rank of Developing Countries to a ‘Developed Country’ and eliminates the suffering of the poor citizens.