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Covid-19: Software vendors focus on big data, AI despite fall in IT spending


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much.

Mains level: Paper 3- Leveraging AI and Big data for dealing with Covid-19, and how the IT industry could turn the Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity?

The article discusses how COVID-19 has prompted the software companies to focus on technologies that are still in demand. The IT companies have started to focus on ways to leverage the potential of AI and the Big data to deal with the pandemic.

Impact on IT companies and how they are planning to cope with it?

  • Fall in spending: Spending on information technology (IT) globally is expected to shrink by 3-4% by the end of 2020.
  • Impact: That would have a severe impact on hardware and slowdown in the software and service businesses.
  • How companies are planning to deal with the situation? Software vendors such as IBM, SAP Software Solutions and Microsoft Corporation plan to make use of emerging technologies to become more relevant to their customers.
  • IBM has created an AI platformWatson Assistant for Citizens’ on its public cloud.
  • The platform helps citizens understand and respond to common questions about covid-19, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
  • While the ongoing pandemic is having a dreadful impact on companies at scale, matured ones are taking a pause and rethinking their analytics approach.
  • Using data analysis to prepare contingency plan: Data science teams are being called into action to crunch petabytes of data and build best business models on trusted data for decision-makers to quickly prepare contingency plans.
  • This is where we are seeing enterprises using AI, machine learning, and natural language processing to mine the data and build predictive or prescriptive models in IBM Cloud Pack for Data.

UPSC could ask question connecting the use of IT and its potential to deal with the pandemics. And it could also be other way round you can cite the example of use of IT in the health sector.

Adoption of the AI by various sectors

  • The government and public service agencies as well as healthcare and research companies urgently need AI solutions and analytics as they are in a race to find a treatment for the deadly disease.
  • Other industries with high end-user touch-points like banks, insurance, retail, etc. are also in urgent need to use AI/ML-driven analytics and cognitive technologies to automate their communications, streamline predictions, decision making, etc.

AI and Big data could be a game-changer across the various sectors, health being one of them. As among the buzzwords in technologie today UPSC could ask about AI and Big data.

Covid-19 as an opportunity for the IT industry

  • The covid-19 crisis is an opportunity for IT vendors to build and improve on their capabilities on AI and big data.
  • Leveraging AI: They are also keeping an eye on emerging uses cases in AI for disease detection, tracking, and prevention.
  • Relatively smaller companies are also launching dedicated AI-based apps to assist people amid the covid-19 crisis.
  • Eka Software Solutions recently released ‘COVID-19 Risk Monitoring’, it help customers quickly gain visibility in supply chain risks by showing a company’s contract position across countries with reported cases of the virus.
  • Based on company data, the app instantly visualises contracts at risk and provides businesses with the ability to identify alternate suppliers to maintain business continuity.


As the epidemic is far from being tamed, various sectors are likely to feel the existential crisis and IT could be one of them. But they can also turn this crisis into an opportunity by leveraging the AI and Big data in tackling the epidemic at various levels.

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