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Cloud Computing Is Reshaping Digital Businesses during Pandemics

6 minutes read

In an ever-changing business climate, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic waves, it’s imperative for small and medium business owners to be able to access data as and when they need it, regardless of the device they’re on or their physical location. 

Accenture reports that “2020 has been a pivotal year for the cloud as it played a lead role in facilitating remote work solutions. It allowed organizations to fuse existing organizational processes with novel cloud technologies to allow for greater flexibility during these uncertain times. COVID-19 has facilitated a focus on cloud capabilities as companies compete to thrive in this new remote work environment. The cloud has become an essential part of continuing business and is the key to unlocking organizational growth. Worldwide spending on public cloud services is even forecast to grow 18.4 percent in 2021.” 

According to a NASSCOM report, the Indian cloud computing market is currently valued at $2.2 billion with projected growth at 30 percent YOY, expected to reach $7.1 billion by 2022. 

Predictions for cloud computing revenues to 2021 from 451 Research.

A Forrester report titled, Predictions 2021: Cloud Computing Powers Pandemic Recovery, on the other hand, says that “In 2021, cloud will power how companies adapt to the “new, unstable normal.” No one knows how far into 2021 we’ll continue to work from home, shop primarily online, or avoid air travel — but it’s clear that every enterprise must become more agile, responsive, and adaptive than ever before.” 

Source: Forrester.com

With this pandemic and its subsequent lockdown-led change in landscape, businesses are trying to venture out and combine services and technology namely IoT services, Big Data, and cloud computing. According to Financial Express, “cloud computing will play the role of a common workplace for IoT, the source of data and big data as a technology is the analytic platform of the data.”  

Cloud computing has been in use for approximately two decades now, with few early adopters of this technology, however, a large number of businesses continue to operate without it even today. According to a study conducted by the International Data Group, “69% of businesses are already using cloud technology in one capacity or another, and 18% say they plan to implement cloud computing solutions at some point.” 

A Verizon study also showed that 77% of businesses feel cloud technology gives them a competitive advantage, and 16% believe this is a significant advantage. 

Why should small businesses consider cloud computing? 

Network downtime costs more than $10,000 an hour, according to CloudRadar. For most small businesses, investing in robust data recovery would be an ideal yet imperative choice to implement in their regular processes. Due to the scale and expertise of cloud-based services, quick data recovery is also possible for all kinds of data disasters, including being able to remotely wipe data from a lost device. 

CIOinsight.com reported that “Cloud computing, the offloading of company data functions to offsite cloud providers, has been hailed as the tool that enabled the decentralization of business during the COVID economy. It’s also become utterly mainstream in business, with Cisco reporting that 92 percent of data workloads were handled in 2020 by cloud computing. The same report also showed that the United States led the globe in cloud computing workloads.”

As cloud systems have increasingly matured over time, it’s also given way to a consensus on a mixed approach – both public and private – to cloud service-based environments to meet the needs of enterprises. To overcome the challenges posed by either public and private cloud computing services, namely, data security, flexibility, and performance, 82% of enterprises have now taken a hybrid approach to their cloud infrastructure, as per Flexara’s 2021 State of the Cloud report.

Research firm MarketsandMarkets has estimated that the hybrid cloud market will be worth $97 billion by 2023 banking on characteristics such as scalability, cost-efficiency, security, and agility. 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) said that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an evident acceleration in cloud computing adoption and consumer behavior wrt cloud in the country. Mantra Labs, while working with Manipal Hospitals, offered solutions around Server Setup & Deployment; Cloud Monitoring; Database Setup; Load Balancing; and Network Security & Monitoring. These helped with 66% improvement in application performance; 57% reduction in code deployment time; 2x more ROI from continuous delivery. 

Cloud computing is also promoting sustainable practices across organizations given the current state of the environment. Hosting on the cloud is environmentally friendly and results in a lesser carbon footprint.

Cloud-based infrastructures support environmental proactivity; virtual services instead of physical products and hardware; lesser paper waste; optimized energy efficiency; easy work-from-home access and collaboration. 

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Enhancing digital patient experience with healthcare chatbots

5 minutes read

Chatbots are fast emerging at the forefront of user engagement across industries. In 2021, healthcare is undoubtedly being touted as one of the most important industries due to the noticeable surge in demand amid the pandemic and its subsequent waves. The Global Healthcare Chatbots Market is expected to exceed over US$ 314.63 Million by 2024 at a CAGR of 20.58%.

Chatbots are being seen as those with high potential to revolutionize healthcare. They act as the perfect support system to agents on the floor by providing the first-step resolution to the customer, in terms of understanding intent and need, boost efficiency, and also improve the accuracy of symptom detection and ailment identification, preventive care, feedback procedures, claim filing and processing and more.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital tools in healthcare, most commonly chatbots, rose to the forefront of healthcare solutions. Providence St. Joseph Health, Mass General Brigham, Care Health Insurance (formerly Religare), and several other notable names built and rolled out artificial intelligence-based chatbots to help with diagnostics at the first stage before a human-human virtual contact, especially while differentiating between possible COVID-19 cases and other ailments. The CDC also hosts an AI-driven chatbot on its website to help screen for coronavirus infections. Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) partnered with a messaging app named Ratuken Viber, to develop an interactive chatbot for accurate information about COVID-19 in multiple languages. This allowed WHO to reach up to 1 billion people located anywhere in the world, at any time of the day, in their respective native languages.

For Care Health Insurance, Mantra Labs deployed their Conversational AI Chatbot with AR-based virtual support, called Hitee, trained to converse in multiple languages. This led to 10X interactions over the previous basic chatbot; 5X more conversions through Vanilla Web Experience; Drop-in Customer Queries over Voice Support by 20% among other benefits.

Artificial Intelligence’s role in the healthcare industry has been growing strength by strength over the years. According to the global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, AI spending in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries is expected to increase from $463 million in 2019 to more than $2 billion over the next 5 years, healthtechmagazine.net has reported. 

Speaking of key features available on a healthcare chatbot, Anonymity; Monitoring; Personalization; collecting Physical vitals (including oxygenation, heart rhythm, body temperature) via mobile sensors; monitoring patient behavior via facial recognition; Real-time interaction; and Scalability, feature top of the list. 

However, while covering the wide gamut of a healthcare bot’s capabilities, it is trained on the following factors to come in handy on a business or human-need basis. Read on: 

Remote, Virtual Consults 

Chatbots were seen surging exponentially in the year 2016, however, the year 2020 and onwards brought back the possibility of adding on to healthcare bot capabilities as people continued to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Chatbots work as the frontline customer support for Quick Symptom Assessment where the intent is understood and a patient’s queries are answered, including connection with an agent for follow-up service, Booking an Appointment with doctors, and more. 

Mental Health Therapy

Even though anxiety, depression, and other mental health-related disorders and their subsequent awareness have been the talk around the world, even before the pandemic hit, the pandemic year, once again could be attributed to increased use of bots to seek support or a conversation to work through their anxiety and more amid trying times. The popular apps, Woebot and Wysa, both gained popularity and recognition during the previous months as a go-to Wellness Advisor. 

An AI Wellness Advisor can also take the form of a chatbot that sends regular reminders on meal and water consumption timings, nutrition charts including requisite consultation with nutritionists, lifestyle advice, and more. 

Patient Health Monitoring via wearables 

Wearable technologies like wearable heart monitors, Bluetooth-enabled scales, glucose monitors, skin patches, shoes, belts, or maternity care trackers promise to redefine assessment of health behaviors in a non-invasive manner and helps acquire, transmit, process, and store patient data, thereby making it a breeze for clinicians to retrieve it as and when they need it.

Remote patient monitoring devices also enable patients to share updates on their vitals and their environment from the convenience and comfort of home, a feature that’s gained higher popularity amid the pandemic.

A healthcare chatbot for healthcare has the capability to check existing insurance coverage, help file claims and track the status of claims. 

What’s in store for the future of chatbots in Healthcare? 

The three main areas where healthcare chatbots can be particularly useful include timely health diagnostics, patient engagement outside medical facilities, and mental health care. 

According to Gartner, conversational AI will supersede cloud and mobile as the most important imperative for the next ten years. 

“For AI to succeed in healthcare over the long-term, consumer comfort and confidence should be front and center. Leveraging AI behind the scenes or in supporting roles could collectively ease us into understanding its value without risking alienation,” reads a May 2021 Forbes article titled, The Doctor Is In: Three Predictions For The Future Of AI In Healthcare. 

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