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Leverage smart city solutions to fight an outbreak like COVID-19
The outbreak of COVID-19 has shown the importance of a digitally enabled city infrastructure in tracking and tracing the pandemic and acting accordingly. With the advent of IoT, the “smart city” has become a popular concept worldwide, and many countries have announced smart city initiatives in the last few years. Most of the world’s cities are still run by command centers that are only partially digitally enabled or not at all, which poses difficulties in streamlining a city’s resources to fight a pandemic like COVID-19. In this PoV, we discuss the key characteristics of smart cities that are very effective when fighting COVID-19 and how Atos is engaging with clients using its disease outbreak response management solution. This PoV will help service providers understand the importance of an integrated smart city solutions portfolio and help them target clients in this space.
Smart city programs are critical enablers in the fight against a pandemic like COVID-19
Some government authorities are leveraging smart city infrastructure and solutions to fight COVID-19. Examples include
- In India, 45 smart city command and control centers have turned into COVID-19 war rooms. India uses the centers to monitor quarantine facilities, track the health of suspected patients and their contacts under home quarantine, and monitor traffic management, plus other related tasks.
- South Korea is using smart city technology to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. It is leveraging a “Smart City Data Hub” (a tool to analyze urban data) that provides data about coronavirus cases and people they have come into contact with, through a single platform, enabling authorities to gather data in a short period and take actions accordingly.
How can a smart city help authorities fight COVID-19?
Typically, a smart city solutions portfolio includes point solutions such as smart energy management, smart waste management, smart transportation, and smart healthcare, which are used daily. In contrast, disease outbreak response management solutions are only required for emergencies such as an epidemic or pandemic. This response management solution gives us real-time details about the outbreak; we believe that city authorities can plan their resources better when this solution is integrated with other point solutions, particularly with lockdown scenarios such as those happening during COVID-19.
Exhibit 1: Integrated real-time track-and-trace model of an outbreak and city infrastructure is the key to fighting COVID-19
Source: HFS Research 2020
COVID-19 presents a unique opportunity for service providers
We have observed very few implementations of disease outbreak response management solutions as a part of smart city initiatives. Post COVID-19, city authorities will be interested in implementing disease outbreak response management solutions as a part of city infrastructure to control this type of pandemic in the future. This is an opportunity for technology service providers, and they need to develop solutions accordingly. Atos is leading this space with its solutions portfolio and recent client engagements.
Atos has built an “Epidemic and Outbreak Management” solution that empowers health managers and professionals with a response tool to fight real or potential epidemics of every kind, from flu and measles to Ebola or SARS. Built on Microsoft’s proven xRM technology, the solution tracks and traces incident reports in real-time, analyzes patterns, and predicts the risk of the disease spreading. This updated data management system enables the authorities to coordinate an immediate and targeted collaborative response and manage critical countermeasures such as vaccination programs.
Recently, Atos was commissioned by the Vienna City Council Department 15, the Health Service of the City of Vienna, to develop and implement an Epidemic Management System (EMS) to support the control of the spread of infectious diseases. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, EpiSYS, a digital platform that manages all patient data and data related to the virus, including tracking and tracing patient incident reports in real-time, is made available to other municipalities and provinces in Austria.
The Bottom Line: Service providers can differentiate their smart city solutions portfolio through their outbreak response management offering.
To fight COVID-19, city authorities need to focus not only on the outbreak spread, medical infrastructure, and patient management but also on city infrastructure management (to monitor adherence to stay-at-home orders, safe waste management systems, etc.). Service providers should think about the bigger picture while architecting the disease outbreak response management solution—How can an integrated smart city platform solution help fight a pandemic like COVID-19? As most of the world’s cities (including already-smart cities) still lack this solution, service providers have an opportunity to serve many city authorities.