The COVID recovery: How technology can drive a more Inclusive Future
In a year of profound challenges and tragedies, technology kept businesses, schools, and hospitals up and running across the globe. But the COVID-19 pandemic also exposed glaring inequities. For too many people, a lack of connectivity meant isolation from education and skills development, economic opportunity, and healthcare.
This included supporting nonprofits that were helping first responders and people in need of food, rental assistance, or financial support due to income loss. Now, as we move toward the strategic recovery phase almost a year later, we are looking at key interventions that could have the most long-term impact.
Building upon the lessons of 2020, we’re committed to using technology not just to cope with our current challenges, but to power a better, more inclusive world. Here are some key areas where Cisco is using its technology and expertise to support an inclusive recovery, as we look to a post-COVID world that’s more equitable, sustainable, and resilient.
The key to COVID recovery: safe and secure vaccines for all
Moving past our current crisis demands vaccine distribution on an unprecedented, global scale that transcends geographic and economic barriers. Cisco and its partners are working on networking, security, and IoT solutions that support everything from development and shipping of vaccines to administration and patient follow-up. Security solutions — both cyber and physical — ensure that only the right people gain access to vaccines and information.
In hospitals, pharmacies, and pop-up vaccination centers, advanced network technologies and collaboration tools like Webex and Cisco Telehealth provide the secure connections essential to this massive effort, enabling contact centers and medical professionals to share critical information with patients and with one another. The overarching goal is to get a vaccine to everyone who needs it, no matter their economic situation, or where they live.
New ways of working, learning, and governing
For all its harsh realities, the pandemic has spurred innovation and positive change. And some of those changes will bring greater flexibility and opportunity to people around the world. Organizations with modernized networks, security, and collaboration technologies had the agility to respond to fast-changing conditions.
Not all organizations were able to have modernized networks – be they a small business, school or government. An inclusive recovery means that we should look at different models that enable these organizations the opportunity to leverage the power of the network. To that end, Cisco and Meraki have helped organizations large and small with technology donations and flexible pricing solutions.
To make that work-from-home experience as seamless and flexible as possible, Webex is incorporating AI and other emerging technologies.
A connected recovery for everyone
Of course, we can only be proud of a COVID recovery that includes everyone — with new opportunities in healthcare, education, jobs, and overall well-being. On America’s Native reservations, for example, COVID rates soared as job opportunities plummeted, and students lagged behind their peers in better connected regions.
Approximately 1.5 million people on these Tribal lands lack even basic wireless services, and more than a third don’t have access to high-speed broadband. 5G and Wi-Fi 6 together can offer high-bandwidth, fast-speed and low-latency connectivity to remote regions, where the cost of laying fiber cables can be prohibitively high.
But to drive real change, partnerships are critical. Moving forward, we’ll need to forge similar alliances across public and private sectors alike, because no organization can drive change alone.
At Cisco, we believe that technology is a bridge.
Jan 14, 2021 at 21:21