Cloud computing has helped save academic research during the pandemic

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A report from Google Cloud has highlighted how researchers in many fields are increasingly using cloud-based online collaboration and communication tools, AI and Machine Learning, following the disruption caused by the pandemic.

Polling almost 1,600 researchers from all over the world, the company found that many struggled to manage their workloads without interacting face-to-face with their colleagues and peers. 

Globally, two-thirds (67%) reported a slowdown in progress, while 85% said they couldn’t innovate effectively. Furthermore, 77% struggled to test, compute and collaborate effectively in a remote working environment. 

All of this accelerated the demand for cloud-based and VR-powered collaboration and communication tools. Virtual meetings were up 91%, while the use of chat apps rose 62%, globally. Disruptive technologies, such as cloud, data and analytics, digital productivity, or AL/ML tools, are all being increasingly deployed. Among 96% of the respondents, at least one such tool is in use, right now.

Scaling with the cloud

While most businesses, both in the public and private sector, switched entirely to remote working to remain operational during the Covid-19 pandemic, some weren’t so lucky as to have that opportunity.

Among those are scientists in various critical fields, such as medical research, geophysics, climate science, chemistry, or computer engineering.

Even with the rollout of the vaccines and the pandemic slowly subsiding, investment in cloud and cloud-based solutions won’t dwindle, the company found. More than half (52%) believe their firms will invest even more funds in cloud-based technologies over the next 12 months. 

If new variants continue to keep researchers away from their labs and inside the virtual realm, Google argues businesses should use the cloud to scale as needed, leverage AI and ML as much as possible, optimize their data, and maximize ROI. That way researchers from both public and private facilities can continue working unabated.

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.