In an exclusive conversation with SMEStreet, Mr. Prashant Bhatia, Vice President, Sales, Vertiv India explained some contemporary trends in cloud adoption and how cloud-based solutions have created their mark in the COVID hit economy. Here are the edited excerpts:
For COVID-19’s vaccine rollout in India, could you explain the role digital infrastructure will play? Elaborate
As India swiftly progresses towards its next phase of administering COVID-19 vaccines, one critical concern still remains – whether we’re equipped with reliable and efficient infrastructure for the storage and distribution of the vaccines. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 50% of vaccines go to waste each year due to improper handling, including temperature control problems at storage facilities. Additionally, India will need to deploy the right kind of digital infrastructure to ensure the distribution process is smooth.
Apart from creating task forces like NEGVAC (National Expert Group of Vaccine Administration for Covid-19) to oversee the vaccination process in India, the government is also making use of a new digital platform called Co-WIN (Covid Vaccination Intelligence Network) to keep a track of the vaccination supply chain in the country. Another critical area that the government of India needs to focus on is constantly monitoring our cold storage facilities to ensure optimal temperatures are maintained and they have a constant supply of power with efficient backup options. The Indian government and task forces need to continuously monitor the situation to make sure precious vaccine vials don’t go to waste due to infrastructure failures.
What are the ideal kinds of emergency power backup solutions to support cold storage facilities for vaccines?
So far, while the vaccination process has picked up pace, India still has a long way to go before the vaccine reaches the most remote areas of the country. It is therefore crucial that we ensure our vaccines are stored safely and properly. A major concern, therefore, is power supply and backup solutions for our cold storage facilities – an emergency backup power must be a part of the solution at each location where the vaccines will be stored. Ideally, that solution should include an intelligent Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) that meets the following five criteria:
- On-line double conversion technology: There are three major types of UPS system configurations: off-line, line-interactive, and on-line double conversion. For the most mission-critical applications, an on-line double-conversion UPS solution offers the greatest degree of protection. With this type of UPS, ultra-low temperature freezers will be fully isolated from raw utility power, protecting the freezers from power sags, surges, blackouts, or brownouts that could compromise their ability to keep the vaccines inside at the right temperature.
- Zero Transfer Time to Batteries: Even in applications that use a generator, there is transfer time involved in switching from the main power source to the backup generator. During that lag, freezer operation can be negatively impacted, jeopardizing the contents inside. A double conversion UPS fills the transfer time gap with battery power until the generator kicks in. For premium protection, the UPS should transfer to battery backup power instantaneously, ensuring a truly uninterruptible supply of power and a constant holding temperature for the vaccines.
- Scalable Runtime: Sometimes a generator isn’t available or contingency planning for critical systems requires hours of battery runtime instead of just minutes. In these cases, a UPS model that can detect and connect with external battery cabinets for access to additional battery power can offer this level of support.
- UPS Remote Monitoring Capabilities: It’s important to know that the UPS is always functioning as intended and doing its job around the clock. Facilities personnel also need to know the UPS batteries are fully charged and ready to discharge if and when they are needed. An intelligent UPS enables monitoring both remotely and locally, helping personnel manage battery health and proactively predict battery replacement dates. Alarm notifications delivered via both email and text keep staff informed of any power issues and expedite response time if there is ever a problem with the units.
- Easy Installation and Operation: With so much on the plates of healthcare operations right now, a UPS cannot add more complexity to the equation. A plug-and-play system that is quick to install and configure and that can support multiple freezers ensures your emergency backup power remains a help instead of a hindrance. A compact, flexible form factor that can be mounted on the floor or wall further streamlines installation and takes up minimal space. Finally, a user-friendly, easy-to-read interface for system insights and diagnosis helps simplify ongoing system operation and maintenance.
How will technology influence the vaccine distribution drive in India? What are some of the technologies that play an important role in the vaccine storage and distribution process?
With a massive population and all its vastness, India will require technological assistance to fight the pandemic and administer vaccines to citizens across the country. It began with the government launching Aarogya Setu in the initial phase of the lockdowns, to keep a track of rising cases in India, containment zones, and keep a check on citizens to ensure people followed social distancing norms and adhered to travel restrictions and rules that were implemented.
In the vaccine administration phase, digital platforms like Co-WIN are being launched to help streamline processes. Aside from emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things among several others, technologies like 5G, location intelligence, and hybrid cloud solutions for data storage will be a gamechanger for vaccine storage, distribution, and administration in India. The government and healthcare industry will need to monitor people’s movements in real-time and keep a check on how many people have been vaccinated so far, what all age groups and areas have been covered and which ones are pending, states and union territories that require larger quantities of the vaccine due to rapidly increasing cases, proximity of storage facilities to airports and transit hubs, and several other parameters.
How is Vertiv likely to contribute to India’s vaccine distribution drive?
Vertiv supported its customers during one of the harshest and most challenging lockdowns India has ever faced. Several of Vertiv’s clients in India were from sectors that were covered under the Essential Services Maintenance Act. These included data centers, IT & ITeS companies, telecom services, media networks, banks, financial institutions, stock exchanges and hospitals, among others. Given the criticality of these industries, Vertiv continued to provide its services to customers in these spaces and helped ensure business continuity for them.
Vertiv has a wide gamut of customers in the healthcare sector to which we ensure timely support, services, and maintenance. At Vertiv, supporting our customers especially in the healthcare sector has been a priority in this pandemic so that all critical facilities are never disrupted.