When disaster strikes, technology ensures vital connectivity
In association with Huawei
The fallout from the coronavirus is being felt all around the world. Disasters often bring out the best in people and inspire us to come together, which is of course how we should tackle any crisis. Either individually or collectively, we must all strive to give what support we can. To accommodate the rapid rise in infections, make-shift hospitals are currently being set up in many countries across the globe.
While Huawei might not be taking the personal risks that many people like the heroic nurses and doctors do, ICT still has an important role to play in containing the epidemic and our company is contributing whatever it can to help contain what some already call the first pandemic of the digital age.
In several European countries that have been hit particularly hard by this tragedy, Huawei has offered to supply technology to improve the flow of data between hospitals. Digital connectivity is helping to make the containment of the virus more efficient. Apps and network connectivity ensure that food supplies reach the homes of hundreds of millions of house-bound people each day. Self-reporting of health status, getting information about the condition, and receiving guidance on handling the virus are digitalised like perhaps never before in history.
Supporting medical personnel with cutting-edge technology
E-health services like data collection, remote diagnosis, and remote monitoring can reduce person-to-person contact, boost communication speed, and drive up treatment efficiency. Understandably, these require highly reliable and responsive networks and cloud services. Our experience in China as a provider of vital communication technology during this crucial period has shown that 5G in particular is playing a vital role in the struggle against the virus. 5G networks feature more connections, higher data rates and lower latency when compared to 4G. A deep integration of 5G into economic and social sectors will foster emerging information products and services as well as assist in Covid-19 prevention and control in multiple ways.
High-definition online video consultation services over 5G make top-level expert resources available at the grassroots level – improving the ability of medical organizations to cope with the outbreak and reduce the risk of cross-region people-to-people spread. In the news media sphere, wireless transmission is not limited by space. This means that 5G can handle all-day livestreaming as well as production and distribution of high-definition video content over the cloud.
Enabling education in a time of social distancing
5G can also help deliver immersive leaning experiences and enable true remote teaching amid the epidemic. High-quality teaching resources are available wherever 5G networks can reach. Through high-definition screens and VR/AR, students can feel as if their teachers were present in person, and live videos can even be transmitted to remote areas. Our solutions are designed to provide online teaching and learning services for primary and secondary schools, training centers, and higher education. Our eLearning platform has already served millions of students and Huawei’s Learn Anytime Education Alliance includes more than 100 partners.
Covid-19 has not just put lives at stake, it’s also jeopardising livelihoods, particularly in Europe, the current epicenter of the virus. And it is likely that it will hit the global economy hard – with some sources forecasting up to $1 trillion in losses. At Huawei, we believe that supporting the economy well beyond the partners of our ecosystem is key. That is why we are offering the use of Huawei Cloud to SMEs for free in many affected countries.
In the global public sector, Huawei’s WeLink cloud is already serving more than 10,000 healthcare centers, hospitals, government departments, schools and training centers. By giving it way for free, we help minimising the impact of Covid-19 across Europe.
Huawei has maintained a strong presence in Europe for over 20 years and we are proud to reaffirm our commitment at this challenging time. We firmly stand by our European partners and will support them by any means to win the fight against this virus. As we look forward to strengthening the bond between China and Europe and support Europe in its digital endeavors, healthcare and education are two key pillars of our long-term commitment to ensure that digital technology leaves no one behind.
A virus doesn’t have borders and neither does the fight against it. All we can do is continue to help minimise the impact of the virus on life and business in the way we know how – by leveraging technology.
Kevin Liu is president of Public Affairs and Communications Department, Western Europe, for Huawei Technologies