Nation gets creative in challenging times

By Fan Feifei and Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2020-03-20 10:02
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An AI robot disinfects the makeshift Fangcang hospital in Wuhan, Hubei province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Telecommuting surges

Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding have seen the use of telecommuting tools such as video conferences and online office kits surge as tens of millions of white-collar employees work from home to avoid cross-infection and curb the spread of the virus.

Alibaba's all-in-one mobile workplace DingTalk has served more than 10 million enterprises and over 200 million people. Meanwhile, to meet the rapidly rising demand for remote offices, Tencent Meeting, which provides free, unlimited use for up to 300 participants per audio or video conference, has increased its computing resources capacity by adding more than 100,000 cloud servers.

With stringent supervision of large-scale population flows critical to preventing the spread of the virus, these two tech giants are also lending a helping hand in community management.

They have introduced electronic exit and entry systems for residential compounds, allowing property management teams to keep precise track of people entering and leaving neighborhoods, including their time of arrival and departure, length of stay and health status.

As more companies resume production, WeChat and Alipay have launched a health QR code system linked to residents' health status and recent travel history. The system is being used at travel checkpoints in railway stations, on highways and at community level.

Tong Taosang, senior executive vice-president of Tencent and president of the Cloud and Smart Industries Group, said the system aims to provide the government with a better picture of people's health status during the outbreak, as well as offering new ideas for pushing forward the digitalization of public governance.

"So far, it has covered more than 700 million people nationwide and over 100 cities are preparing to launch the health code system," Tong said.

He added that the company has also applied its cloud computing capacity and AI-enabled technologies to various industrial platforms and production processes.

Prompt information, including the location of traffic control areas, designated hospitals and cases of infection, is being provided by Baidu Maps to help users cope with the outbreak. By using big data analysis, the company tracks population movements and predicts the spread of the outbreak nationwide.

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