Intelligent tech's contribution and growth amid COVID-19 prevention

By Mei Xinyu Published: 2020/4/22 0:10:19

Workers assemble robots at a subsidiary of Chuangze Intelligent Robot Co in Zhangye, Northwest China’s Gansu Province. Photo: cnsphotos

Intelligent technology has played an important role in China's fight against the coronavirus outbreak with rapid development and application of innovative products, most of which may become industrial giants and generate vital strength for future economic growth.

Innovation has always been a crucial resource for the growth of a country or an economy, and critical innovation often comes from the requirement of facing major challenges, or from the following weakened traditional market which had suppressed the development of innovation.

Huge challenges, when emerging in a country which is diligent and full of energy with sound infrastructure, industrial facilities and public service, could turn into opportunities to cultivate innovation. These innovative advances could later develop into new forces to drive economies.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in late January, China has taken all-out efforts to contain the virus while innovative production and new forms of enterprising organizations keep emerging, among which intelligent tech is a great example of assisting epidemic prevention.

Epidemic prevention and personal health management

The most direct application of intelligent tech during the fight is assisting management of epidemic prevention and residents' personal health since no effective medicine has so far been found.

No matter if it's people wondering if they were infected or those with minor infections who were self-isolating at home, their blood oxygen levels need to be constantly measured, and easily accessible testing equipment could largely relieve pressure on hospitals.

Smart wearable devices have been developed for people to easily measure blood oxygen and the pandemic has promoted the upgrade of these smart products.

Also, a series of intelligent devices and mobile apps have been rapidly invented and used for public epidemic prevention. For instance, smart temperature measuring devices tailored for public places, mobile tracks, personal health code systems and community management apps. All of these have been applied and have contributed a lot during China's fight against the outbreak.

New 'growth pole' for China's goods and service export

Chinese firms have shown remarkable response ability and invented many innovative products such as KN95 face masks made of nanometer materials and artificial intelligence (AI) related products.

Among the four largest AI plus Internet of Things (AIoT) oriented companies around the world, three of them are Chinese firms - Hikvision, Dahua Tech, and Uniview.

Uniview, a private company, has rolled out eight solutions, and temperature measuring products based on thermal imagery, AI, and other advanced technologies. It has laid out its products in over 1,000 projects in 100 cities involving scenarios of production recovery, classes resumption and community livelihood.

Uniview estimated that its epidemic prevention products could gain sales of one billion yuan ($141 million) this year, equal to 20 percent of its total revenue in 2019.

Meanwhile, Sweden-based Axis Communications, among the four top AIoT firms, rolled out a product which does not relate to epidemic prevention at all amid the peak phase of the outbreak in Europe in March.

There might also be an acceleration of China's export of intelligent tech related services, such as free 24/7 online medical consultation offered by medical institutions since the outbreak. If such services can be extended overseas, it could later become a new growth pole for China's service industry.

Multiplier for traditional industries

Intelligent tech products have limited market scales, and face restrictions by markets' infrastructure levels, quality of human resources and others. However, it could serve as a multiplier for traditional sectors of national economy and social activities. Not only could it boost production, it could also reduce infection risks among workers.

Moreover, intelligent tech is also offering increasing support for logistics amid the pandemic, including personnel health management, application in unmanned ports, and long-distance material distribution by unmanned aerial vehicles. All the applications amid the epidemic prevention have been boosted by strong and resilient demand.

The author is a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce.


blog comments powered by Disqus