The COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as one of the worst disruptors of the global economy in recent times. As the total number of positive cases surpasses the 59 million mark, companies have already shifted their workforce from offices to homes to ensure social distancing. Businesses had to find innovative methods to deal with this change and AWS provided them with the means for the same.
In a recent blog post, AWS stated that its customers are using machine learning (ML) to finish tasks in weeks that would have taken them years under old systems. The blog states that enterprises are also using machine learning in various applications to process documents faster and achieve a better efficiency in forecasting. Amazon had recently launched an automated document processing service called Textract, which is being heavily used in areas like loan processing, payroll management, and many more services where the ability to respond quickly is vital. Textract is a fully managed ML service that extracts text from documents.
Textract’s need was recently highlighted in US Federal Government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), wherein small businesses were struggling to take part in the program due to the extreme demand. A fintech firm then chose AWS Textract for automating loan application process and brought solutions to those in need.
Due to the COVID-19 induced lay-offs, organizations were struggling to continue their operations and were unable to process new hiring paperwork online. HelloSign, a Dropbox company provided solutions here by using AWS Textract to automate document processing as it converts PDF documents into mobile-friendly forms. As per Amazon, this automated document processing saved hundreds of hours while keeping customers safe. HelloSign saw 3-times more demand than before as entities ranging from grocery delivery, urgent care, and ambulance services started using it, the blog states.
In the same blog, Amazon also mentioned Amazon Forecast, a fully managed service that delivers accurate forecasts for COVID-19, product demand, financial performance etc. Unlike other tools, Amazon Forecast can integrate multiple variables along with irregular trends to deliver accurate predictions. Rackspace Technology, Plan4Co, and the University of California have introduced a new COVID-19 model based on Amazon Forecast. The model uses deep learning to learn patterns and target time-series to deliver more accurate predictions than previous models. This is extremely useful for governments to determine re-opening specific sectors of the economy based on the predictions.
Tata A. Kass-Hout, director of machine learning at AWS, said, “as the pandemic continues, new challenges will inevitably arise. When time was of the essence, these organizations looked to ML technology and automation to serve their customers’ needs and find new ways to operate. This use of new technology will not only help them respond to the pandemic today, but also set them up to thrive in the future.”