Micro and Small business owners were the most affected segment of people during the lockdown. But when the days pass, people started to get adopted to the situation and moved forward with the business survival instincts. COVID, accelerating the future of SMEs.
Accelerating the future of SMEs:
Mr Kumar, like millions of small retail business owners in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, had to shut his Electronics & Home Appliances store for two months as the Kingdom had imposed lockdown to check the pandemic from the spread. Kumar had anticipated that footfalls to his retail store would be very thin, even when the situation becomes normal. So, he started to connect with prospective customers on WhatsApp. This was his first digital move to make service his business
Syed, 56, who runs a small restaurant in a small town in the Southern part of Bahrain, got financially unstable due to the Closure of his dine-in business to maintain social distancing and personal hygiene. Decided to move online. He started a Youtube channel and started demonstrating his cooking skills on traditional healthy food recipes online.
About 45% of his customers started to follow his channel immediately. He’s also started a Facebook page to get connected with modern Foodies during the lockdown and restarted his business with home delivery at a competitive price. India’s small businesses, particularly retailers, have lobbied hard for curbs on large online retailers.
These are only a few cases, moving forward, many small entrepreneurs moving online as people are still afraid to venture outdoors even as the lockdown has been ease across the world.
Digital Take Off — Online Shift:
Lockdown has restricted people to remain indoors and stuck to Mobile phones and television. Thus Pandamic accelerated the retailors to shift drastically towards online sales. With the billion of internet users in India, eCommerce business greatly bloomed not just in India but across the globe too.
Customer reviews on product quality, performance, ease of product comparison with other brands, safe and contactless payment options is pushing most of the shoppers to go online.
Not just Small Scale business even the Medium and Large industry sectors like Automotive Industry has started selling their Posh Cars through Online Test drives to booking a new car till free home delivery and service pickups.
Boost SME Business with Social Media:
Digital Influence on business had a rise in enrollment among Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked users in India. Industry-specific deep-dives into India’s largest consumer categories — packaged goods, apparel, and smartphones — all of which have deep offline retail networks, confirm that digitally influenced Brand purchases have increased significantly, by up to 15% among urban consumers in just three months.
In the apparel category, digital influence increased to 55–60% during Covid-19 compared with 45–50% earlier, while for mobiles it rose to 70% from 50–55 per cent prior to the pandemic, it said. As high as 90% of consumers who purchased apparel online during the lockdown show willingness to continue, it said. For foods, 84% has returned online.
Now like Mr Kumar and Narayanan, who has no hope about the future has now adopted to continue business on both Retail and Online platforms. Pandemic has pawed a new hope for the SMEs in Saudi Arabia.
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Bhavesh Bhatt, Data Scientist from Fractal Analytics posted that he has created a Python script that checks the available slots for Covid-19 vaccination centres from CoWIN API in India. He has also shared the GitHub link to the script.
The YouTube content creator posted, “Tracking available slots for Covid-19 Vaccination Centers in India on the CoWIN website can be a bit strenuous.” “I have created a Python script which checks the available slots for Covid-19 vaccination centres from CoWIN API in India. I also plan to add features in this script of booking a slot using the API directly,” he added.
We asked Bhatt how did the idea come to fruition, he said, “Registration for Covid vaccines for those above 18 started on 28th of April. When I was going through the CoWIN website – https://www.cowin.gov.in/home, I found it hard to navigate and find empty slots across different pin codes near my residence. On the site itself, I discovered public APIs shared by the government [https://apisetu.gov.in/public/marketplace/api/cowin] so I decided to play around with it and that’s how I came up with the script.”
Talking about the Python script, Bhatt mentioned that he used just 2 simple python libraries to create the Python script, which is datetime and requests. The first part of the code helps the end-user to discover a unique district_id. “Once he has the district_id, he has to input the data range for which he wants to check availability which is where the 2nd part of the script comes in handy,” Bhatt added.
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With the current pandemic spreading like wildfire, the requirement for a faster diagnosis can not be more critical than now. As a matter of fact, the traditional real-time polymerase chain reaction testing (RT-PCR) using the nose and throat swab has not only been termed to have limited sensitivity but also time-consuming for operational reasons. Thus, to expedite the process of COVID-19 diagnosis, researchers from the University of Oxford developed two early-detection AI models leveraging the routine data collected from clinical reports.
In a recent paper, the Oxford researchers revealed the two AI models and highlighted its effectiveness in screening the virus in patients coming for checkups to the hospital — for an emergency checkup or for admitting in the hospital. To validate these real-time prediction models, researchers used primary clinical data, including lab tests of the patients, their vital signs and their blood reports.
Led by a team of doctors — including Dr Andrew Soltan, an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Professor David Clifton from Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering, and Professor David Eyre from the Oxford Big Data Institute — the research initiated with developing ML algorithms trained on COVID-19 data and pre-COVID-19 controls to identify the differences. The study has been aimed to determine the level of risk a patient can have to have COVID-19.
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The Cambridge Analytica[i] scandal along with other data breaches[ii] have given the data extraction industry a negative reputation. That’s a hard reality to face, because (a) I lead a company that provides ethically-sourced proxies for public data extraction, and (b) I believe that web scraping can be a force for good.
I realise that some people will need to be convinced that this is true because positive stories don’t get nearly as many clicks as negative ones. But they do exist, and I hope to change some minds with this article.
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Android is dominating all other mobile operating systems in the market globally. There’s no doubt that Android applications will always be in demand. Companies like, Flipkart, Amazon, PayTM, Airtel, and many more are investing highly into third-party apps. These all apps be it native or third-party are powered by Android. Also there’s a growth in the prevalence and quality of Android Certification these days.
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