The Covid-19 pandemic had an instant and seismic effect on society as we knew it. The way we work, shop, and interact changed virtually overnight, with a welcome emphasis placed on community and supporting others over the sheer speed of service.
A new way of doing things requires new ways of thinking, with a post-COVID-19 world certain to be permanently different to what went before. Technology naturally plays a significant role in such innovation, allowing us to reimagine everything from the workplace to the speed with which potentially lifesaving drugs are developed and distributed.
New responsibilities for a new world
For a post-pandemic world to thrive, we all have an important part to play. Safety is naturally paramount. We need to ensure we take sensible precautions to minimize the risks of catching the virus. And by not taking unnecessary chances, we also lower the possibility of spreading Covid-19 without realizing it.
But any safety measures we take have to be carefully considered – it is equally important to make sure that the society we build is empathetic and community-focussed, leaving no one behind.
Within this new framework, remote working has quickly become the new norm across the world. Roles that were previously considered impossible to be undertaken remotely are now being carried out from kitchens, living rooms, studies, and garden sheds.
So far, both employers and customers have been understanding of the need for greater flexibility. But with the possibility of restrictions continuing for months to come, it is vital that our remote workspaces are sustainable in the longer term.
Digital technology has enabled this essential reconsideration of the workplace, and it will also continue to play a central role in supporting sustainable development for society in general.
The physical office – and location altogether – is now less central to the world of work. Within Fujitsu Global Delivery regular homeworking increased from 5% to 90% in just ten days at the beginning of the pandemic, without any impact to service. Naturally, people are now questioning whether there will ever be a need to return to the world of full-time office working.
Support is being provided to remote workers with the use of Virtual Reality, enabling people to self-help or to be guided remotely to resolve issues. Collaboration tools are not only creating global virtual meeting rooms but are now essential in ensuring a human aspect to daily interactions – reducing the impact of self-isolation. Physical isolation may be necessary to some extent in a post-virus society; emotional isolation can never be.
Supporting food supplies
Retailers and hospitality have also had to make immediate changes following the pandemic. For example, home delivery has become an essential lifeline (literally) for people to receive home provisions.
To assist companies that have been required to adjust to significantly increased volumes, our operational teams in Fujitsu can provide live dashboard reports that track ticket volume against normal run-rate so we can understand the invisible backlog and forecast potential future volume.
It identifies tickets impacted by COVID-19 and provides a global visualization of on-site based engineers. Our Global Partner Network is also available to support our customers if needed.
Accelerating drug discovery
And perhaps most importantly of all, AI technology is being leveraged to support the research and piloting of ground-breaking new drugs, to bring vital medication to market more quickly and cost-effectively.
For example, Fujitsu recently launched a new quantum-inspired platform that brings together pioneering technology from Fujitsu and POLARISqb to significantly improve the speed and chemical diversity of small molecule lead discovery. The technology has already been tested on the Dengue Fever polymerase.
This platform will significantly impact early-stage drug discovery by reducing typical timelines from 24-48 months to approximately 8 months. Additionally, the quality of leads is improved by screening a far larger targeted chemical space of over 1 billion molecules.
The outcomes will be patentable, novel molecules that have optimized drug-like qualities, low toxicity, synthesizability, and are biologically active.
Supporting one another
Whether it’s enabling people to work from home to slow the spread of the virus, ensuring vital food supplies reach those in need, or accelerating drug discovery, technology has already played a critical role in helping us cope during these unprecedented times.
But there is also the opportunity to sow positive seeds for the future. By working together and making the most of the advanced technology at our disposal, we can help to overcome the effects of the pandemic, and even create positive change for the post-COVID-19 world.
Together, we can do incredible things, built on the foundations of care and kindness to others which have been so hearteningly prevalent in recent months.
Get in touch to discuss how your business can reimagine the possibilities for reliable, productive remote working