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    Using technology in times of crisis 2020
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    Using technology in times of crisis 2020

    Using Artificial Intelligence technology in times of crisis 2020

    Artificial Intelligence was on the frontlines of battling coronavirus from the first days of the outbreaks. Hospitals use the technology to help diagnose patients, whereas scientists apply AI during research and modeling. So far, we’ve seen that AI technology, often together with blockchain, is a big help in analyzing coronavirus’ genome, evaluating treatment options, analyzing clinical reports, and approving diagnosis. However, healthcare isn’t the only field that will be ravaged by the coronavirus crisis. Experts are overwhelmingly negative about a grim situation that society is facing after the outbreak. Even if humanity manages to wipe the virus out, we’ll be left with economic consequences. Luckily, AI technology may be able to give us a hand - and not only in healthcare, but in the manufacture, fintech, in combination with blockchain, HR, and other fields.

    Main capacities of Artificial Intelligence in data processing, fintech, and management

    The main thing that makes AI superior to human experts is its capacity to analyze large volumes of data in a short period. Artificial Intelligence can trace patterns, find connections, and paint the bigger picture. Most importantly, it can work with large data samples and product tangible conclusions. Another application of AI technology is automation. During the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown, companies are bootstrapped in human resources. Manufacturing and services are put on hold in many countries - there are simply no workers to do the job. AI and its automation possibilities are the answer to this HR crisis. Let’s take a look at how AI-based digital tools can help companies to face coronavirus economic crisis and its consequences.

    Practical application of Artificial Intelligence during COVID-19 crisis

    Let’s take a look at how governments, businesses, and research organizations are using AI to face critical situations. AI can help with many aspects of predicting and responding to economic risks that will likely arise over 2020-2021.

    Lockdown control

    The main goal of governments all over the world is to assure that citizens stay home and follow the guidelines and laws for the lockdown. Artificial Intelligence has been used to monitor infected citizens and track compliance with quarantine laws. South Korea, for instance, built a digital app that detects the number of infected users within a radius of 100 meters. If there’s an infected person near you, you will get a notification. The application sparked controversy among Koreans and in the international community (because it could discriminate infected people), but it helped the country to contain the spread of coronavirus.

    Data processing during a healthcare crisis

    AI technology has been used by scientists and doctors to get access to the latest information on coronavirus new symptoms, treatment options, dangers, side effects. COVID-19 Open Research Datasets can be used to get information and COVID progress in real-time and deliver real-time insights. What’s more important, similar systems can be used beyond healthcare. All businesses can use AI data monitoring digital tools to track changes in their industries, get updated on potential risks and opportunities, and react faster. To stay successful during a crisis, companies have to keep track of technical and financial changes, and this leads to the need of active data processing.

    AI for predictive maintenance

    The first-priority goal for companies is to minimize unnecessary financial spendings. AI technology can analyze big datasets, evaluate hardware performance, check the machinery to detect issues before there is an evident malfunction. Now, this is especially important for healthcare tech, but similar technologies can be used in other fields, too. AI-maintenance can help detect serious technical issues, reduce spendings and financial risks by minimizing the number of downtimes, saving time of tech specialists, and preventing accidents. Hospitals will likely be on the frontline of adopting such innovations, but other industries should consider implementing AI-based maintenance as well.

    Management with Artificial Intelligence

    Educated management decisions during a financial crisis matter more than ever. Businesses need to make data-driven decisions because there will be less room for experiments and mistakes. Implementing digital AI technology in ERP and CRM platforms is an essential step in 2020. This way, companies will be able to reduce HR costs, automate organization processes, manage their costs, and internal processes more effectively.

    Artificial Intelligence for collaboration

    Companies can use AI-based digital platforms to power communication between employees, partners, and stakeholders. AI systems can provide a smart communication environment for teams who only started their transition for remote work.
    • Automation: AI technology can sort through messages in different communication channels, saving employees time;
    • Improving management: AI can help managers to oversee the efficiency of their teams. AI can measure the productivity of every employee, assign, grades, and give HR suggestions.
    • Facilitating onboarding: AI technology can be the one to teach new recruits and collect documentation with the company’s best practices.
    The key goal of companies during a crisis is to minimize unnecessary spending and time expenses. A business budget should be focused on essential tasks.

    AI-based fintech solutions and economic platforms

    Traditional financial operations, banks, and offices experience a need for a fintech transformation. Now, most clients can’t visit a bank, and even people who weren’t enthusiastic about adopting digital payment solutions, now accept the opportunities and fintech and blockchain has to offer. Payments aren’t the only aspect of fintech that will be disrupted. Financial documentation, insurance, security confirmation - users now have to make a lot of operations remotely. Banks and financial institutions need fast websites, mobile fintech and blockchain apps, data storage and processing algorithms, security testing. After fintech transformation, possibly powered by blockchain,  institutions can be sure that user experience is comfortable and secure.

    Criteria for AI implementation

    Artificial Intelligence is especially effective when it has large volumes of data to work with. This obviously creates challenges: companies need to protect users’ privacy and assure the security of the solution. If you are thinking about implementing AI technology in your company to get your business through coronavirus crisis, consider these key requirements.
    • Usage and timing limits: the use of all data should be restricted only to a particular scenario. AI should collect data just in case if it’s not needed by any processes.
    • Fair use: the AI system should treat all users the same way. You need to use tried-and-proven databases to train your AI technology. No racist, sexist, or other discriminatory messages.
    • Transparency: all users should know what data is collected and how it will be used.
    • Accountability: your organization should have people who are responsible for data security and processing algorithms.
    • Security: many companies adopt decentralized data processing (blockchain) to distribute data between many locations to decrease the risk of breaching single storage. Blockchain allows storing information in a peer-to-peer network where each transaction is confirmed by other participants.

    AI is a leading technology in facing a coronavirus crisis

    AI has tremendous potential of resolving risks that arise during a COVID-outbreak and potentially can cause problems later. Artificial Intelligence can help with assuring that quarantine measures are respected, help in research, accident prevention, smart management, and collaboration. AI-based fintech technology will minimize the need for human interactions during financial operations - and they will likely be there to stay after the outbreak. The applications of AI in 2020 will not be limited to the healthcare industry. Companies across many fields will benefit from smart tools that will help make educated management decisions and optimize their internal processes, and fintech operations.

    How Virtual Reality May Be Useful During the COVID-19 Epidemic

    Unfortunately, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is becoming a worldwide phenomenon. What’s more, its impact on business is adverse - from reducing cash balances for almost every company to the entire business bankruptcy. For this very reason, it is imperative to think of new ways to survive in a current situation. Organizations of all sizes should consider the advantage of virtual reality technology to function better during such a difficult period. Sounds impressive, right? Below you can find some use cases for VR solutions used in a variety of industries to gain benefits from. Let’s take a closer look below!

    E-commerce: Remote shopping with Virtual Reality 

    With the global Coronavirus outbreak, many people are not doing shopping offline due to isolation and quarantine. However, it doesn't mean that e-commerce companies should also stop interacting with their clients and customers. Thanks to virtual reality solutions that open up golden opportunities, companies can provide new buying experiences for potential clients without stopping outreach. Only by utilizing VR solutions can e-commerce businesses redefine the shopping experience for their customers and reinvent their shopping journeys. More importantly, when powered with VR, they can create more positive personalized virtual experiences that will return them to the normal selling and buying activity. For example, Zuo Modern, which creates contemporary furniture for modern spaces, offers its attendees to visit the virtual showroom designed using VR technology if they are not able to visit the showroom personally. Another example, US-based brand Gap built a virtual DressingRoom app that allowed users to try on clothes in a virtual way before making a buying decision. Not only does it help customers to choose the right clothing, but also it leads to reducing product returns as well as cuts down costly financial burdens for retailers.

    Benefits of VR technology for e-commerce businesses

    Let’s find out below how e-commerce businesses can benefit from virtual solutions (VR) during the global coronavirus outbreak:
    • a VR-generated store lets your customers virtually browse the store no matter where they are, and buy items they find without physical visiting.
    • VR experience increases brand awareness when customers are sharing information about your brand on social media.
    • VR provides 360-degree views of the products and allows your customers to physically hold a product. Not only does it give the user a much better understanding of what they’re going to buy, but also it allows them to know all the possible angles and make a decision.
    • With VR solutions, you can demonstrate complex solutions easily for people who speak a different language to you.
    • VR gives you a real boost by offering more personalized customer experience in a virtual environment, you will likely increase the conversion rates while reducing your refund rates.

    Travel: Virtual reality helps to show the world

    Unfortunately, the travel landscape faces extreme challenges due to the ever-growing global COVID-19 virus outbreak. Moreover, with the current situation of lockdowns and travel bans, VR solutions can be a way out for a variety of companies in the travel sector. However, it’s also not a secret that being on the beach using VR is not a reality, but it allows you to experience the feeling as if you have been to the beach. Thanks to VR technology, not only can travel consumers experience virtual walks or tours but also they can even dive into the ocean virtually. For example, Escape Now: The Icons provides users with travel experiences by taking them on a virtual journey and sharing the stories about visited destinations. In addition to that, you can visit a variety of another great places in a virtual way. Another example is Switzerland’s Igloo Village travel brand that uses a virtual reality experience and brings a village covered with snow and cozy igloo accommodation to reality. In addition to that, you can attend a virtual archaeological tour in Grand Canyon in Arizona to explore and learn more about the history behind the canyon’s formation by clicking on different geological features.

    Benefits of VR technology in the travel industry

    Below you can find some benefits of VR solutions in the travel industry:
    • VR provides access to destination information in a much more accurate and reliable way;
    • VR helps to run a successful sales promotions;
    • VR helps to speed up the process of decision making or booking;
    • VR delivers extensive, immersive virtual tours.

    Entertainment: Bring museums collections to life with Virtual Reality

    In the age of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, a great number of museums bringing the history to life have closed globally to prevent the spread of coronavirus. With coronavirus lockdowns and travel bans, you might be looking for new ways to entertain yourself. That’s why instead of visiting museums in real life, you have a great opportunity to go and visit virtual ones. For history museums and art, one of the most effective ways not to stop outreach is going digital by offering virtual tours powered with VR. For example, the Parisian Louvre Museum offers three virtual tours for their online visitors. They include Egyptian Antiquities, the remains of the Louvre’s Moat and the Galerie d’Apollon, known for its great collection of paintings, sculptures and its high-vaulted ceiling. Another example is New York’s Guggenheim Museum that offers its collection online as well as a virtual tour equipped with the museum’s audio guides. Not only do VR-powered digital tools allow people around the world to experience the Guggenheim’s architecture and art, but also they will hear the echoing sounds of visitors’ voices. Having that in mind, it’s imperative for museum professionals to act fast and keep their audiences engaged virtually with the help of VR solutions.

    Benefits of VR  technology in entertainment

    Below we have outlined key benefits of VR solutions in entertainment:
    • VR offers the ability to participate in a variety of activities - races, airborne jumps, climbs, etc. that is riskless to people’s health;
    • Virtual environment allows people to engage with the exhibits, museums, galleries, etc.;
    • VR opens up golden opportunities for businesses and allows them to return to normal selling activities by delivering fully virtual experiences and engaging more users.

    Real estate: Interact with clients using VR

    With the global Coronavirus expansion and its impact on real estate business, companies of all sizes are looking for new ways to interact with their audience - buyers and sellers. That’s why many companies and agencies started to increasingly use VR-backed tools in their business. With shared VR programs and interactive interfaces, not only can the business providers interact with their clients in real-time without exposing each other over the threat of COVID-19 infection spread, but also they provide training courses for their agents and teach them how to use VR. Only by allowing people to virtually visit properties from any place in the world, even from homes can VR technology help to minimize the spread of potential coronavirus infections. In addition to that, it helps you decide which homes, apartments or offices are worth buying based on experience from virtual tours. Moreover, now the field of architectural visualization has become a reality - real estate businesses can utilize innovative VR technology to show their clients both the interior and exterior of the future properties and display the results in a virtual way.

    Benefits of VR technology in real estate business?

    Below we have found out how companies of any size can benefit from virtual solutions (VR) in real estate business:
    • VR eliminates the costs of staging a property and transforms some of the traditional marketing initiatives;
    • VR saves time and resources - you don’t need to schedule property showcases to travel and see;
    • users can virtually view properties from anywhere in the world when powered with VR;
    • VR provides better personalization and increases revenue.
    • VR allows realtors to get key insights into user behavior and preferences that helps them to improve future interactions.

    Medicine: VR telehealth support and safety

    From developing new life-saving techniques to training the doctors of the future, VR has a great potential in medicine. Thousands of doctors and nurses will need new skills to help  COVID-19 patients. VR-powered solutions can help them to deal with an expected deluge of coronavirus patients in a virtual environment. Currently, taking up the training and reading clinical guidelines is a very tedious and time-consuming process. That’s why healthcare professionals can use VR technology to be trained effortlessly, slow down and prevent outbreaks like the Coronavirus infection. For example, training solutions powered with virtual reality especially built for pathological coronavirus scenarios is extremely useful and practical in today’s situation. Moreover, it allows medical students/clinicians/nurses to apply learned concepts and techniques in the real world immediately. Another example, the XRHealth platform that helps the hospital to treat incoming coronavirus patients quarantined at the hospital. In addition to that, it allows doctors to monitor them once they return home.

    Benefits of VR technology in medicine

    Below you can find some benefits of VR that help businesses leaders to decide whether they need VR or not in medicine:
    • VR allows relaxing patients;
    • VR provides real conferences with enhanced virtual experience;
    • VR speeds up recovery in physical therapy;
    • VR helps to visualize the lungs of a COVID-19 patient;
    • VR allows doctors to visit potential COVID-19 patients in isolation wards in a virtual environment.

    Automotive: Carmakers turns to Virtual Reality solutions

    As the coronavirus spreads increasingly fast globally, many auto companies have been closed globally due to the recent shutdowns. In response to the Coronavirus infection outbreak, many automotive businesses are looking for digital solutions to continue their business and drive sales. For example, some carmakers have opted for a virtual solution - VR technology, and automotive brands like NIO, XPeng, Volkswagen, BMW,  Nissan, SAIC tend to promote their products and stimulate sales process by utilizing VR tools in their business. In addition to that, VR-powered solutions can be also applied in the training process that is essential for the automotive environment. Not only does it help technicians to learn how they can service or repair all-electric vehicles (EVs) without physical access in a virtual environment, but also they will be taught to perform the high-voltage systems diagnostics and maintenance. Moreover, this new and innovative VR-powered training solution allows the tech staff to better understand the components and steps needed to repair any high-voltage systems (50 volts or higher).

    Benefits of VR technology in automotive

    Below we have found out how companies of any size can gain the benefits of VR solutions in automotive business:
    • Virtual Reality increases productivity during the vehicle conception phase;
    • provides better opportunities to train technicians;
    • Virtual Reality helps car designers to significantly reduce both project cost and time by virtually visualizing the exterior of a vehicle;
    • Virtual Reality delivers better in-cabin experience and prevents accidents and disruptions.

    Gaming: Stay fit with Virtual Reality solutions

    In today’s Coronavirus outbreak, virtual reality solutions are now in play. Not only do they help to find ways to search and destroy coronavirus DNA, but they also help to combat boredom and quiet their ever-growing fears of dread. Moreover, virtual games powered with VR are more effective than books. For example, an affordable coronavirus VR game COVID Escape Room built for children to help them to learn real-world behaviors and models in a virtual environment. Not only will children learn how to wash hands and cover a sneeze to avoid coronavirus infection (COVID-19) in a fun way, but also they have been explained why social distancing is important. Additionally, there is also a diversity of virtual games that help to stay fit and healthy while you and your family are in coronavirus quarantine or isolation. Another example is BoxVR that provides a must-have workout by enabling players to move their bodies and punch along to the music in a virtual environment.

    Benefits of VR technology in gaming

    Below you can find some benefits that VR can provide businesses in the gaming industry:
    • Virtual Reality makes the games more engaging than before;
    • Virtual Reality offers users a chance to explore a new world;
    • Virtual Reality gaming is a great way to stay healthy and fit;
    • Virtual Reality provides a remarkable learning experience.

    Education: Learn and develop with Virtual Reality

    The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way how millions of people around the globe are educated and trained. Schools, colleges and universities around the world are closing. As a result, many of them are looking for solutions that enable people to gain knowledge online and without physically being present in the classroom. Fortunately, virtual solutions are here to help you to be applied in the educational process. The classroom of the future powered with virtual reality technology is turning into reality increasingly fast. The VR usage in remote education allows students to get classroom experience without being there in a virtual. For example, InstaVR Inc. offers a web-based solution that can be utilized by any professor or student to provide classroom virtual experiences with minimal training at the beginning. Moreover, the professor can insert and display virtual 3D objects during the lecture for a better understanding of the information presented. Also, faculties can use VR-based solutions to create their own virtual environments required for their disciplines.

    Benefits of VR technology in education

    Below we have highlighted how companies of any size can benefit from VR solutions in education:
    • VR helps to increase knowledge area;
    • Virtual Reality provides more practical experience rather than just passive information;
    • VR helps to understand complex concepts and theories and gain new experiences from a different perspective;
    • Virtual Reality drives students' creativity and expands efficiency to gain knowledge.

    Games vs. crisis: How coronavirus is impacting the gaming industry

    As coronavirus keeps people at home, making offline entertainment unavailable, more users turn to online games. Gaming lifts people's spirits during the lockdown, helps fight boredom, and makes communication easier. Moreover, games that allow talking to friends and strangers are getting especially popular - since everybody lacks communication. However, the impact of coronavirus on gaming wasn't entirely positive - in-house development teams have to deal with the transition to remote cooperation tools, many major events were canceled and companies have to make changes in the investment plans due to impending global crisis. Let's take a look at how the last couple of weeks have been for the gaming industry and the future impact.

    Cancellation of major gaming events - a crisis for developers

    When the coronavirus epidemic officially became a pandemic, countries started actively forbidding mass events to help stop the spread of COVID-19 infection. Gaming conferences also took a hit. The most noticeable cancellations are the E3 and Game Developers Conference - the two biggest gaming events of the first half of the year. E3 is one of the biggest video gaming events ever since the 90s, and it's the first time it was canceled. It's possible that E3 may be conducted digitally, but this news isn't confirmed yet. The same thing happened to Game Developers Conference - the organizations designed to postpone the event to the indefinite amount of time due to COVID-19. All attendees that will not be able to attend the postponed conference will get a refund. This is obviously a massive networking problem - usually such events provided the possibilities for game studios, big and small alike, to present their projects. Now, these global meetups won't be happening - and this could lead to a potential crisis for new releases.

    Cancellation of gaming matches - a potential crisis for competitive sports

    Another niche of gaming that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak is competitive gaming. Activision Blizzard, for instance, canceled all matches in March and April, and  this decision will likely be prolonged. The same thing happened to the Call Of Duty competitions. All matches have been moved online due to coronavirus and streamed technology-driven digital environment. On the one hand, users now have more time to follow the matches but also, conducting live matches has been an essential part of the culture that is now put on hold. Having that in mind, games can be optimally positioned to come out stronger than ever before during this new era of Coronavirus pandemic. Sounds impressive, right? Let’s delve into the details below!

    How the gaming industry can benefit from the Coronavirus pandemic

    Even though coronavirus caused created a certain crisis for game studios and their staff, it's reasonable to believe that the gaming industry will be the one to suffer the least from the outbreak. Even further, coronavirus quarantines attracted users’ attention to online ways of entertainment. Even users who weren't gamers before started downloading and buying online games. Let's take a look at the definite opportunities that a COVID-19 pandemic and a global crisis presented gaming companies and developers.

    Millions of gamers online during coronavirus quarantines: an opportunity for developers

    The first driver of the increase of online gaming user base is school quarantine. Kids and young people are the main audiences of most games. The impact is obvious: with all of them are at home, gaming companies get a shot at attracting users that wouldn't otherwise be interested. According to the report of Valve Corporation, the company behind Steam, the number of players in the second half of March broke their records. On 15th, more than 20 million players were occupying the services, and this number is reported to grow day by day. Free games were especially successful in attracting a user base. The newly released and free "Call of Duty Warzone”, created by Activision Blizzard was downloaded 15 million times in 4 days - usually getting such numbers takes months. In addition to that, Newzoo’s analyst anticipates an increase in at-home gaming across PC, mobile and console games and predicts the global games market will generate revenues of more than 189 billion U.S. dollars by 2022.

    Growth of e-sports popularity: impact on streaming

    COVID-19 led all sports federations to spot matches, throwing NBA, NHL, and soccer games into hibernation. Olympics and Euro-2020 have been postponed for the next year due to coronavirus. Sports fans don't have games to watch anymore - and they turn to online alternatives. E-sports are thriving in this crisis. According to Twitch, the service's streaming statistics spiked by 31%. People are not only playing games but also watching gamers compete with one another. Even though the cancellation of the biggest competition couldn't have gone unnoticed, it's possible for e-sports to readapt - certainly much easier than for other sports. The main challenge that esports companies and streamers face is internet connection issues. With everybody being online, the Internet speed risks to drop by a huge number, and streamers might not be ready for this.

    Gaming stocks are going up during the coronavirus crisis

    Initially, gaming stocks were also hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. The decline of the economy overall doesn't help stock growth - as the number of sponsors and partners declines. However, as the quarantine and lockdown progressed, gaming companies not only managed to become one of the most attractive investment options but even almost reached their pre-coronavirus crisis numbers. If the situation keeps up like this, the gaming industry will likely track increases in numbers. Activision Blizzard stocks declined only by 11%, whereas the overall S&P 500's declined by 25%. The successful release of Activation Call of Duty and its quick rise to 15 million followers definitely helps the company's reputation and stock dynamics. Another telling example is shares of Electronic Arts. The company's revenue only fell by 13%, compared to 19 February - the last day of pre-coronavirus high on the market. There's an even more impressive stock statistic - Take-Two Interactive has seen only a 2% decrease since the crisis. Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption are among the most popular games during the outbreak.

    Socialization through games

    Whether you're self-isolating or working remotely, video games provide a way out for a lot of people who might not be able to see their friends and families during self-isolation. Moreover, video gaming has been among suggested methods for communication and socialization, according to many healthcare experts and mass media. BBC, The New York Times, and The Guardian defined gaming as one of the best ways to socialize during the COVID-19 crisis. Increased usage of multiplayer games like Fortnite backs up this theory. It looks like users took the advice to relax and communicate via online games really seriously. This opens gaming companies access to a new niche - communication-gaming, where a game is a way to connect a user to as many people as possible.

    High demand for business games

    Companies transferred their staff from offline to online environments, and that leads to changes in the education and onboarding process. Communication, training, and cooperation have to be reformed. Using existing tools isn't enough - teams need to interact with other members and keep themselves engaged. If the situation is to continue, we might find ourselves facing high churn out rates and struggle with finding new employees amidst COVID-19. To make the work process more engaging and interesting, companies can implement a variety of gaming solutions. Here are the three most common types of gaming that companies are adopting during the coronavirus crisis. Let’s take a closer look below:
    • Team building games: using intellectual and teambuilding online games help business owners to keep control over their employees' growth and skills. It's also a way to introduce diversity into the work routine and prevent burnout and internal crisis.
    • Onboarding games: introducing new members is difficult. Even if you let people meet each other on virtual calls and chats, they might not be able to bond with a new employee well. Designing a custom online game for team onboarding, where the soft skills will be presented, allows business owners to connect to new employees better.
    • Skills-training games: some fields aren't particularly suited to remote work but are now forced to readapt. If your niche typically features a lot of hands-on experience (manufacturing, transportation, etc.), you can keep your employees' skills intact by offering them interactive simulators. This can be a simple desktop or mobile game, or a complex AR/VR tool. So, whatever happens, keep your team ready.

    Bottom line: What is the future of gaming during and after the Coronavirus pandemic?

    Picking a field for investment and expansion during coronavirus crisis is difficult. The gaming industry provides a way out. You can build an online game in regards to trends, set by the lockdown, and minimize the negative impact. Focusing the product on communication and socialization is definitely an idea for consideration. If you run a business, implementing games to your workflow is a must-have. Not only will this help you to motivate your team and check up on their skills and growth, but also you can simplify the new hire onboarding process and welcome new members. Whatever industry you are working in, consider gaming - now it's a must-invest industry. The first step is finding a development team and talking about your project ideas. If you move in time, you might still be able to fit the growing trend.

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