Google Cloud VP discusses unprecedented computing needs because of the coronavirus
Get details on how hospitals are using chatbots to answer COVID-19 questions, telemedicine is on the rise, and patients are using Chromebooks to communicate with relatives.
CBS News and CNET Senior Producer Dan Patterson talked with Philip Moyer, VP of Industries for Google Cloud, about the needs that hospitals, healthcare workers, and other essential services are facing due to the coronavirus. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.
Philip Moyer: It’s been a pretty extraordinary thing to witness to be able to see the entire world economy adapt to what’s going on with coronavirus right now. Google Cloud is a business that allows organizations to be able to rent the power of our computing farm by the minute. Google’s computing farm serves billions of users.
I would tell you that there’s a whole variety of things that I’m seeing that are unprecedented just in terms of organizations like central organizations in needing to stand up websites or needing to be able to support their users, like hospitals, retailers, and manufacturers, having to deal with unexpected spikes. Organizations being able to deal with working-from-home scenarios and study-from-home scenarios. And so it truly is from a computing profile perspective, a completely different dynamic than anything I’ve seen in my career.
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Dan Patterson: What are some of the use cases the needs that hospitals, healthcare workers, and other essential services are facing right now?
Philip Moyer: I would tell you probably the first and foremost thing that most organizations, most hospitals, and essential businesses need to do is communicate. Communicate with patients, communicate with the public, and so we’re doing a tremendous amount of work around things like chatbots to be able to help hospitals be able to answer common questions as it relates to COVID-19. We’re seeing a really significant surge in telehealth . AdventHealth is a great example where we actually help them deploy Chromebooks into patients’ rooms so that patients that want to be able to communicate with their family whether or not they’re having a baby, or whether or not they’re dealing with COVID-19. We’ve helped the Oklahoma Department of Health as well deploy Chromebooks, and doctors anywhere be able to accomplish telehealth.
SEE: Tips for becoming a Chromebook expert (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Then you’ve got things like tracking of supplies, and tracking of ventilators, and tracking of beds. We’ve been very involved with organizations like HCA, and the Singapore government in being able to track the actual medical supplies, and making sure that the right supplies and the right beds and capacity is making it to the right patients.
And then finally, I would tell you, research. There is a significant need to be able to stand up very large data sets. If you could imagine someone that’s studying a particular population that has a high degree of resistance, and another researcher is discovering or working on a drug that is showing signs of creating resistance, they need to bring together massive data sets. And so we’re working with the White House around their open data initiative for COVID-19, and our Kaggle initiative is being able to really help researchers and hospitals and healthcare workers be able to come together and collaborate on the cure and resistance.