TMCnet Feature
September 11, 2020

Big Data Gets Serious: Data's Role in Fighting This Pandemic and Rebuilding Our Economy



Before 2020, big data was an invaluable business tool that allowed tech companies to help us find our perfect date, helped us buy more goods and services than we even realized we needed, and directed us to new entertainment using data on our past interests and activities. Now, in 2020, big data is more important than ever, and its serious side is taking the lead by helping to battle a once-in-a-century pandemic and rebuild a shattered economy. 



Here are five areas in which big data is saving lives and creating new jobs...

Improving the PPE Search and Obtain Process

Big data can grow even larger when companies with similar interests and goals connect and share the data they have compiled. In today's health-driven culture, nowhere is this more important than in finding and securing the personal protective equipment essential workers and consumers need to function during this difficult health crisis.

Early mishaps pointed to a need for better data accumulation and management; now, with six months to retool and rethink the management and disbursement of personal protective equipment, along with the help of big data, a functioning entity comprised of loosely interrelated groups is working together. This is an inspiring example of independent forces creating a more effective whole than their equally important individual components.

Personalizing Safety Masks to Increase Adoption

In the first frenzy of the pandemic, the rush was to find protective materials in order to reduce the exchange of germs and viruses. Initially, people were trying to grasp the gravity of the situation, then began patching together acceptable alternatives to the dwindling supply of face masks.

Next, local entrepreneurs rose up, making cloth masks by hand, earning a few bucks while helping to flatten the curve and save lives. Now, big business has caught on, so more personalized face masks are popping up everywhere. One popular merchandiser catering to business and individuals alike has widened the opportunity: Cafe Press now has an entire section devoted to face masks, where you can choose from a broad selection of designs and statements, or make your own.

Personalization normalizes mask-wearing, while consumer data allows for targeting individuals with ads for masks that meet their needs and wants. Both of these factors (as well as statewide mandates in some areas) are leading to an increase in the adoption of mask-wearing which will continue to help slow the spread.

Enhancing Contact Tracing

One of the best protections against Covid-19 spreading is through contact tracing (finding all people who were in contact with an infected person and notifying them of their increased risk). This is so important that two tech giants, Apple and Google (News - Alert), noted for their competitive efforts to outdo each other, are working together to provide tools to slow the spread of the virus.

This unusual partnership will ensure that apps created to aid in contract tracing are compatible across all platforms, particularly Android and Apple (News - Alert)'s iOS. By allowing interoperability between operating systems, health professionals throughout the United States can obtain accurate and actionable data without delay. 

Creating New Employment Opportunities

As mentioned previously, businesses are popping up across the nation as a natural and empathetic response to a global crisis. This is only the beginning of new opportunities arising based upon our changing needs. In the early stages of small businesses shuttering throughout the country, we needed this "dust" to settle before we could see the new horizon.

Creative and imaginative people with hearts in the right places are finding solutions to these newly rising problems. With ongoing shortages of foods and supplies, many people are turning to self-sufficient practices, such as growing their own veggies and fixing their own plumbing. Some find a niche which they share with friends and acquaintances; soon, word is out and business comes their way, because a need was creatively filled.

Adapting to Remote Work Situations

Fortunately, about 70% of working Americans did not lose their job during this health crisis and economic tragedy. This doesn't mean those workers didn't miss a beat in their jobs. Many faced reduced hours and wages; many more had to work remotely. Swift (News - Alert) and dramatic changes don't come easy; many employers find their employees at sea, struggling to create a work routine that adapts to their new environment.

Big data comes to the rescue yet again. By frequently collecting and compiling data, you can analyze the remote work habits of your staff, and see which people are producing at or above their pre-pandemic work level. Hone in on their habits and approaches; there you can find the answers to get your remaining workers on the right track of productivity and satisfaction. 

As you can see, big data doesn't just help you reap larger profits; it can also save and enhance human lives around the world.



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