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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced society to adopt radical methods as the world’s population struggles to stem the spread of the disease. The highly communicable and easily transmitted virus has led to the practice of social distancing being employed in many countries across the globe. It is our best defense against the coronavirus until treatments or a vaccine are developed.

Cloud computing services are playing a large and important role in various aspects of the social distancing phenomenon. In diverse ways, the resources of the cloud are being used by governments, organizations, and individuals to navigate the uncertain landscape we all face. Here are some examples of the cloud’s contributions to social distancing efforts. 

  • Local governments need to keep functioning and providing vital services despite the COVID-19 outbreak. Govpilot is offering a suite of cloud-based software tools that help non-essential government employees do their jobs remotely while maintaining social distancing. The tools are free and are easy to learn and use. Some of the software modules give local officials the ability to perform: 
    • Coronavirus drive-through testing registration;
    • Receipt and expense tracking for FEMA reimbursement;
    • Volunteer registration;
    • Management of vehicle and equipment resources.
  • Working from home is one of the major components of social distancing. For businesses needing to quickly implement work from home environments, the cloud offers a flexible and reliable solution. Microsoft has seen a 775% increase in the use of its cloud services in areas that are practicing effective social distancing. Specific tools that are in demand include Windows Virtual Desktop, Power BI, and Microsoft Teams. The ability to scale at will with cloud services has been a major contributing factor to the ability of businesses to quickly move to a system of remote work.  
  • Organized and televised sports were a large part of the entertainment world before being interrupted by the coronavirus. The NBA was the first professional sports league to postpone its games, with all other major sporting organizations around the world quickly following suit. Formula One racing has canceled races through the summer as of early April. To help fill the gap for devoted racing fans, a group of current F1 drivers is engaging in a series of cloud-based eSport Grand Prix races. Fans can also engage in online races with each other through several different gaming systems. 
  • Finding options that adhere to social distancing guidelines can be challenging for people accustomed to physically gathering in social settings. Cloud-based group chat engines can help fill the void to some degree. They allow multiple individuals to interact simultaneously while at the same time watching everyone involved in the conversation. Tools like Zoom, Skype, and Houseparty are designed to allow groups to gather virtually and interact while maintaining social distancing.  

Until the healthcare community has COVID-19 under control, the need for social distancing may persist. Creative use of cloud resources can help governments and businesses to function while alleviating some of the feelings of isolation that accompany this necessary practice. It’s time for the cloud-tech world to step up in a big way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last modified on Monday, 13 April 2020
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 Robert Agar

I am a freelance writer who graduated from Pace University in New York with a Computer Science degree in 1992. Over the course of a long IT career I have worked for a number of large service providers in a variety of roles revolving around data storage and protection. I currently reside in northeastern Pennsylvania where I write from my home office.

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