Features, Insight, Opinion

How cloud platforms are helping to fight COVID-19

Author: Li Shi, Regional President, Huawei Cloud and AI Business Group

The world has been severely affected by the pandemic triggered by COVID-19. All walks of life have been forced to overhaul their lifestyle and work habits, including nearly every industry within the Middle East. Such transitions could not have been possible without the proliferation of cloud-based services, which have enabled enterprises to swiftly alter their business models to catch up with the rapid pace of changes.

The epidemic has changed people’s patterns of production and life, and it is a paradigm revolution. In the past, we often talked about promoting informatisation, from Internet access to clouds and chains. The technology wave pushed the entire society to follow the technology wave. This epidemic is a social phenomenon, which has forced production and life to change its mode. COVID-19 epidemic makes it necessary to look at new technologies, models, industries, and new business models in real scenarios. Many inflection points of business models have been reflected, such as online education, online healthcare, remote office, and online conferencing.

Imagine just for a moment if there was no cloud. The lockdown would likely have kept many businesses out of operation, full stop. Working from home would only be one of our wildest dreams. Online streaming entertainment like Netflix would not be entertaining so many people, not to mention delivery services like Deliveroo bringing food to individuals and families. Instant messaging might have also had limited functions even when everyone is socially distanced.

These online activities are also gradually changing people’s habits and consumption habits. Behind the scenes, all of these real-world applications and services require robust cloud infrastructure to keep things running as we all expect.

Moreover, cloud-based services do more than just let people live as “normally” as possible amid these unprecedented times. The power of cloud has been shown in a wide range of scenarios, from online meetings to more complex tasks requiring a combination of AI and cloud computing.

With digital government, it provides a broader perspective on government governance. Data has become a production factor alongside land, labor, capital and technology, and is playing an increasingly important role in government governance. Cities in China explore new government governance systems, such as big data platforms, ‘city intelligent twins’, to flexibly use big data resources and technologies to make data become microscopes, lenses, and telescopes for government governance, discovers, analyses, and responds to problems in economic and social operation from a broader perspective, optimises government management, service, and decision-making modes, and builds a new government that uses data to speak and make decisions.

In terms of education specifically, with so many students being homeschooled, online learning became essential—again requiring solid cloud-based infrastructure. On the healthcare front, new cloud-based AI research and development platforms are also being crafted to accelerate applications in genomics, drug discovery, and medical imaging. Looking more broadly at the region’s business community, enterprises of all sizes are receiving support to migrate their businesses into the cloud to ensure continuous operations during the pandemic.

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