Podcast Sic!: Pandemic and innovations

During the past over a year, things happened not only because of the pandemic, but also owing to it. In episode 9 of the podcast “That’s the way it is!, moderators Victoria Coroban and Eugen Muravschi discussed innovations stimulated by the pandemic in such important areas as education, business and medicine. Their interlocutors were Aliona Rotaru and Kardo Sharifi, both from the technological startups “accelerator” Dreamups, and Iulian Alexa, electronic trade entrepreneur, IPN reports.

The crises, despite the evil with which they come along, usually offer opportunities for change and innovation. The experts said the pandemic accelerated the pace of using innovative technologies in medicine by five years. Zoom, one of the most popular videoconferencing and distance work platforms, this April had 300 million “online” meetings daily, a 30-time increase compared with the start of 2020! The rise at the rival platform Microsoft Teams was from 32 million at the beginning of the pandemic to 145 million in April 2021.

Dreamups staged a 48-hour hackaton in which the participating teams looked for technological solutions to a given problem so as to improve distance work. Aliona și Kardo were surprised to see that almost one third of the 140 persons who applied to take part were teachers and the hackaton was won namely by a team  of teachers, showing that the education sector employees didn’t get stuck in the past, as the general perception is.

Online education is an opportunity for those who do not afford tuition fees. At least in the West, the online equivalent is cheaper. The shops and restaurants were closed for a rather long period and some of them went bankrupt, but those who survived were helped by electronic trade. It’s hard to find relevant statistics about Moldova, but in Romania, for example, online sales during the pandemic grew by 30% against the decline in sales in general.

But online trading means more than creating a website. “A lot of grants were offered to small and medium-sized enterprises, but the people do not know what online business means. They do not understand what e-commerce is and do not have the culture to develop and promote an online business. Moreover, this implies costs,” stated Iulian Alexa.

The pandemic accelerated the development of telemedicine and other solutions needed for situations in which human contacts should be limited. Even if drugs are not delivered by drones in our country, the medicines delivery services were a solution for those infected who self-isolated, as were the scheduling of appointments with doctors. Victoria says she was surprised to see that it became much easier to make an appointment and to also benefit from distance consultations.

To listen to the podcast, click on the link. The project is financed with the grant provided by Soros Foundation Moldova from the “Phase II COVID-19 Response” Reserve Fund for assisting the Republic of Moldova in fighting the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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