At the end of December 2019, a start-up from Canada named BlueDot alarmed their clients about cases of pneumonia appearing nearby an animal and seafood market in Wuhan China. BlueDot uses AI and big data to visualize and predict the eruption and spreading of diseases over the world. The company presented a list of destinations that could potentially be affected by the spreading of the virus, unknown at the time, through the usage of airline ticket data. Reading that list today, the top 11 cities mentioned were all of the first to be affected by Covid-19.

WHO states that the usage of AI and big data has been a major tool for many countries in the fight against Covid-19. Taiwan controlled the spreading of the virus by using both big data analysis and phone tracking, while Shanghai minimized the spreading by alowing the people to contribute to big data sets by reporting things such as their temperature and travel history. South Korea, one of the most connected countries in the world, share insights with the people about where the virus is more spread, and thereby, making it possible to prevent more people from getting infected. 

Even though the techniques exist, the pandemic still emerged as a chock to the world, and a lot of countries now affected has never before dealt with similar diseases, like for example SARS. Lets hope that from now on, data will be used more and in new ways for prediction, control, stabilization and also for research and development in search for treatments and vaccines. 

challenges in data due to covid 19

A new problem facing many companies in the food sector, and other industries, is the abnormal data of customer buying behavior that disturb prediction and forecasting during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since these kinds of pandemics are unusual, systems are in general not prepared for this type of forecasting abnormalities. Scenarios like this require that we structure systems where we can manipulate and enrich data with macro data and enable people to interact quick and direct with the data to ensure the right analyzis. 

While many now are focusing on the present, we must not forget the importance of data usage post-Covid-19. Our work aftermath of the pandemic will be crucial for the future, and the importance of making decisions based on data will be even greater now in times of disorder. Cooperation across borders and fact-based decisions will be key for effectively handling post-Covid-19. 


Agnes Lindell

Agnes Lindell

Business Analyst and Project Manager

Expert in data driven innovation, design thinking and agile methods.

Part of Elvenite since January 2020.

[email protected]


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