Sunday, August 01, 2021

Editorial: A digital post-pandemic society

DISCUSSIONS on the need to digitize some of the things we do on a daily basis have been ongoing after progress has been made in the internet and digital technology.

However, we were not in a rush then. Different societies adopted digital technology at their own pace and whenever the technology reaches their country.

Little did we know that we would have to rapidly adopt several forms of digital technology or shift to digitize the way we do things.

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, we saw a rapid change in how we do things in the digital sense.

“Technology is being used in many different ways during this crisis. From rapid vaccine development to advances in video conferencing, to virtual classrooms, eCommerce/online shopping, cashless payments, delivery apps, etc. technology has made this pandemic much more manageable than previous ones,” John Naranjo, Ingenuity CEO, said.

These were already being done by several individuals, companies, and institutions pre-pandemic but because of the pandemic, more people are transitioning to a more digital lifestyle. We are also seeing the benefits of digitalizing certain aspects of work or daily activities. We saw that digital technology can improve work efficiency and certain process. The digital work set-up has also allowed offices to reduce the risk of an infection at work.

In terms of Covid-19 management, we saw how it can be used to effectively manage Covid-19 cases whether it is through the implementation of a QR code system, sending test results through email, or mobile applications being used as contact tracing measures.

In Davao City, the city government is implementing the Safe Davao QR (DQR) as a contact tracing instrument. The QR code system that was developed by the city government and partners in the private sector allows it to notify individuals who may have had close contact with a Covid-19 patient. Now, it is set to integrate the DQR into the Covid-19 Vaccine Information Management System-Immunization Registry (VIMS-IR) platform, introduced by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

According to the Philippine National Covid-19 Vaccination Deployment Plan (PNCVDP), VIMS is “an electronic, confidential, and secure information system that will record all vaccination doses administered by participating providers to people residing within a given geopolitical area.”

Through the system, those scanning the individual DQR of Davao City residents will be able to see if the person has been vaccinated or not.

“Combating Covid takes place on both the public and economic fronts and problems in either one of these areas can reinforce the negative effects of the other. The effective use of technology allows us to maintain economic activity and will ultimately lead to vaccine availability and rollout solving the public health aspect of the crisis,” Naranjo said.

However, we also cannot discount the worries of individuals with regards to the safety and security of private information. To use some digital tools, we are asked to provide some information. But Industry leaders and experts in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector have assured us that there are technologies in place to ensure that our data and privacy are protected.

Last year, was a clear indication that a post-pandemic society will lean in towards a more digital society. The pandemic has caused a domino effect when it comes to changing how we do things. The digital change is something we have to face and adapt to once this pandemic ends. For individuals and businesses, this could mean that we have to also start upgrading our skills and knowledge when it comes to digital technology.


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