With more than 700,000 people worldwide affected by the Coronavirus, we as a global community face a pandemic unlike anything any of us has ever seen. During this time, CTA’s primary focus has been the safety and well-being of our employees, colleagues, and communities around the world.
As one of the world’s foremost providers of integrated communications and information technology services, however, we cannot overlook the potential that our technology can play against this invisible enemy that has now stretched to every corner of the globe. We see connectivity as an effective means for providing healthcare to the millions of people living in remote areas where individualized medical attention is not possible or economically feasible.
While full and comprehensive healthcare most often requires in-person care, telemedicine can be incredibly effective during the initial phases of diagnosing and treating illness and injury. It can also be a powerful training tool for local healthcare workers to increase their ability to provide the localized care required to identify and stop the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19.
While connectivity is the logical component of telemedicine based on its ability to conduct teleconsultations and videoconferencing, we believe that the application of other technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) can play an important role in improving care globally.
Connecting Globally, Thinking Locally
As the largest subsidiary of China Telecom, it is impossible for us to look at a global issue such as COVID-19 without considering the implications and opportunities locally in China; an area that is well-suited to provide a telemedicine use case that the world can follow.
China combines a vast geographic area, an aging population and a lack of infrastructure outside of its major metropolitan areas that would lead one to question its ability to create a blueprint of effective telemedicine that can be replicated in other markets.
Despite these challenges, China has several compelling attributes such as pervasive mobile broadband, an abundance of talent and technical innovation, and governmental support which combine to create optimism around how technology can be applied to improve healthcare.
In response to the recent pandemic, there have been several examples of how China Telecom has leveraged technology to serve the greater good. Some of these examples include:
- Working to deliver China’s first 5G remote diagnosis of new coronavirus pneumonia equipped with advanced 5G technology with the high bandwidth and low latency, required to improve diagnosis and treatment.
- The use of the China Telecom network to aid in the roll out of online learning programs to support students across China who are not allowed to meet in their usual manner. This has been implemented across all levels of education from primary and middle students to the more than 563 undergraduate courses offered being offered by Peking University that utilize online video, group chats and live streaming.
- Outside of illnesses related to COVID-19, we are seeing patients treated for a variety of other ailments – both physical and psychological – by doctors and institutions who understand the desire of the public to avoid hospitals as they practice social distancing.
- The launch of the “5G + Cloud + AI” pneumonia intelligent auxiliary analysis system that improves the accuracy of virus detection and shortens the time of CT scanning. Early data shows that the system can control the reading time within 1 minute through the AI algorithm, with detection accuracy greater than 90% which represents a significant improvement in the efficiency of epidemic diagnosis and treatment.
- The establishment of the “5G AIoT Anti-epidemic Resumption Solution Online Launch Conference”, focused on exploring how to apply the Internet of Things, 5G, AI and further cloud and network integration can help to prevent and control epidemics.
- The use of location data from consumer mobile devices to help identify the travel patterns of carriers of the COVID-19 virus.
While these represent only a handful of the efforts underway, we are confident that use cases like these will ignite further innovation around how technology can be applied to improve healthcare, to control the spread of this virus and to prevent future outbreaks.