South Africa: 4IR Could Help Save the Day Amid the Devastation of the Coronavirus Outbreak

A microbiologist performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus.

Could the Covid-19 pandemic be the impetus that accelerates the adoption of digital solutions? Could the global economic devastation from the worldwide outbreak be the catalyst that ultimately leads to the embrace of the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

As the Covid-19 outbreak forces the cancellation of trips, large gatherings and a slowdown in manufacturing, the economic damage is mounting across the world.

The call for social distancing has resulted in universities suspending lectures, churches halting services and many companies formulating plans on how to safeguard their employees. Schools have brought mid-term breaks forward with the intent of running catch-up classes when they resume.

The effects of Covid-19 have also left supply chains around the world disrupted. China's industrial output contracted at the sharpest pace in 30 years, as workers were told to stay home, falling by 13.5% in January and February 2020, according to Reuters. Worldwide, a delay in the fulfilment of orders is being felt as companies like Apple reduce their revenue growth forecast.

In all this despair, digital solutions are rising to save the day. As business and schools ramp up their disaster management plans, turning to the use of smart technologies seems to be the only way to...

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