Cloud Technology Soars to New Heights
There’s been a steady movement toward cloud-based technology for the past decade. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, that shift has accelerated as governments race to provide essential services to a public forced to rethink many aspects of daily life.
Cloud-Based Innovations that are Here to Stay
If you’ve got your head in the clouds, you might not be familiar with the concept of cloud technology. In a nutshell, it refers to the on-demand delivery of technological resources via the internet. It’s based on a pay-as-you-go pricing model; rather than buying, owning and maintaining servers and data centers, businesses can access technology from cloud providers as needed, saving them money and encouraging innovation.
This has allowed governments to respond quickly to their citizens’ needs and deliver crucial public services during COVID-19 without having to buy and maintain their own equipment. As working from home and distance learning became the norm, many educational institutions and businesses learned their IT systems were outdated or unable to meet the increased demand. Cloud computing proved to be a viable solution; even when the pandemic subsides and things return to a new normal, cloud technology will continue to thrive.
Some of the cloud-based technological innovations likely to persist long-term include:
- Cloud-powered citizen hotlines. Despite the popularity of digital and online platforms, public hotlines remain an essential service. During lockdown, public call centers such as unemployment hotlines were overburdened as the number of callers spiked, leading to excessive wait times. Cloud-based contact centers solve this problem by offering scalable and flexible methods of supporting customers via options that include phones, social media and chats. They can also be staffed by agents working remotely. Add in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) and businesses have access to a trove of data that can help them utilize their resources more effectively.
- Machine learning for hospitals. As the pandemic overwhelmed the health care system, many providers relied on AI to help serve patients and provide relief for frontline workers. Cloud technology can be used to screen patients for symptoms, reducing health care workers’ exposure, provide real-time data on waiting times and allow patients to take advantage of telehealth services by connecting remotely from any device.
- Cloud-based learning. Schools have been deeply affected by COVID-19, with most struggling to figure out ways to ensure students receive the education they need. Online learning has been especially popular, but the increase in demand can prove to be a burden for many platforms. Cloud computing gives students and teachers continuous access to data, allowing virtual classrooms to succeed.
Innovation will continue to be key even as life returns to normal. The fast response to COVID-19 will help public sector organizations reduce costs and improve efficiency while creating all new ways of doing business.