• Dylan Wingrove

COVID-19:The catalyst in digital transformation

Updated: Apr 30, 2020

With the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the world, almost every company is now searching for solutions to adapt to working under strict lockdown conditions. Although this horrific pandemic has shocked the world, it may just be the catalyst we need to usher in digital transformation.

Video conferencing is now the new norm with companies such as Zoom seeing a huge increase in their number of downloads, according to Apptopia, the company boasted 2.3 million downloads on the 23rd of March alone. With a huge increase in uptake of this technology, what else is likely to follow in the coming months?

AI to predict pandemics

In crisis situations, having accurate and accessible data is vital and if correctly used can help us to stay ahead of the virus. The Canadian based AI firm BlueDot showed the importance of big data by predicting the pandemic some 9 days before the World Health Organization thanks to it’s AI Algorithm which scours web-based forums and news sites to inform users about possible danger zones.

Using your phone as a trail of breadcrumbs

Tech giants Apple & Google joined forces this past month to work on rapidly deploying a contract tracing app using Low Energy Bluetooth. The first phase of this innovative project will require users to have download the app and opt into the contact tracing. When two phones who have the app come into contact with each other, they will exchange anonymous beacons of information. If either one of the users later tests positive for the Corona Virus, they can enter it into the Public Health Authority App which will identify any phones you have been in contact with over the past 14 days and notify the users to self-quarantine. Here’s how it all works:

Courtesy of Google

While the app only uploads anonymous beacons of information and does not track users locations, there are huge privacy concerns around this technology. While these concerns must be carefully addressed, this technology has the potential to provide governments and citizens with powerful information to slow down the spread.

IoT helping us on the front lines

We’re ever grateful for those working on frontline and IoT technology is creating a safer environment for them to fight the growing pandemic. Wearable IoT devices were effectively used in a field hospital at the original epicenter of Wuhan China. Through this technology, staff & patient vitals were tracked including their heart rates, temperatures & oxygen levels through a connected AI Platform, CloudMind.

Others are making use of IoT in order to keep their facilities clean and prevent further spread. Visionate installed IoT Buttons that alert management & cleaning teams of cleaning or maintenance needs. Management is able to track response time and ensure areas are kept sanitized.

3D Printing, the answer to personal protective wear shortages?

South African Hobbyists have come together in order to print facemasks and other personal protective equipment, while the hobbyists face challenges of cost of materials and slow production times (3 hours/facemask) they are pushing forward to do their part. Commercial Additive Manufacturing companies such as Rapid 3D are collaborating with other local companies to produce parts for a "Uniquely African Ventilator" which is transportable, robust and features battery backups in case of power failures.

Kenya has also looked to 3D printing to fill the gap, printing materials needed for plastic face masks. In addition the Nairobi based company has developed an innovative valve that could allow one ventilator to support multiple patients.

While these solutions are admirable, scalability is always in question when it comes to this technology.

“Kenya can do 3D printing. The question is…. Is it just a short term stopgap?…Or is it scalable?”

questions Dr. Aleksandra Gadzala, head of research at The Singularity Group.

Full-body Auto Sanitization

As the spread of the pandemic begins to slow in many regions, companies are now searching for ways to return to work and BhekaDala is focused on doing everything it can to serve its local community through 4IR. We've teamed up with partners Yaxxa & WinWin International to provide our clients with a range of tools they can use to get back to work in a safe and efficient manner.

Our Full-Body Sanitization booths allow for installation in high traffic areas to ensure individuals and their tools or trolleys are sanitized. These booths can be rapidly deployed and fully automated allowing for fast installation and little to no ongoing maintenance required. These booths are just the beginning of ensuring safety with our other range of products including building access control thermometers, employee performance tracking and immersive learning content to ensure your team is well informed.


This virus has certainly showcased that many governments, businesses and counties at large are unprepared for such a widespread pandemic and they are turning to innovative 4IR technology to provide creative solutions.

BhekaDala Digital is your Fourth Industrial Revolution partner, helping organizations and cities throughout Africa & The Middle East make their digital transformational ideas reality. We've partnered up with industry leaders such as WinWin International and Yaxxa to ensure that your organization is well prepared when the lockdown is lifted and employees need to return to work.

If you have a project in mind or simply just want to learn more about what the 4th Industrial Revolution is, make sure to join our mailing list and follow us on social media for the latest in transformational technology.

Do you believe that countries are doing enough to encourage the use of 4IR tech to combat the virus?

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