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We’ve talked a couple of times in recent days about the search for a coronavirus vaccine.
And I have also given you plenty of details about promising new treatments at the cutting edge of science that could help keep the spread at bay.
In other words, biotech and pharmaceutical firms can play a big role in either stopping the disease with vaccines or treating seriously ill patients with effective new drugs.
But those are hardly the only ways in which high tech is helping to check the spread of this novel new pandemic.
Fact is, there are a wide range of high-tech solutions and platforms that are proving invaluable. They cover everything from robotics to video conferencing to robust medical AI.
Innovating Against the Crisis
Now then, I don’t think there’s any doubt among scientists, doctors and drug executives that Covid-19 has created a huge paradigm shift.
It is forcing us to work – and think – in different ways. Ditto how we use the tech tools at our disposal to keep the pandemic from infecting and killing more people.
All told, the three segments I want to walk you through today are on their way to being worth more than $70 billion on a global basis.
I think you will find these useful from both a health and an investing basis. Take a look:
Coronavirus Tech Tool No. 1: Robotics and Automation
Even before the coronavirus first broke out in China last December, medical robots and automated pharmacy management were on the rise.
Medical robots are a fairly wide field. Some uses are pretty basic like delivering drugs and documents. Other are more advanced, such as precision surgery.
But because Covid-19 poses so much danger to healthcare workers and patients, this area is now looking at a huge new catalyst. Simply stated, robots are a now a key part in the fight to prevent the spread of the virus.
According to the BBC, demand for disinfecting robots, which use a zap of ultraviolet light to kill microbes, has skyrocketed since the rise of Covid-19.
UVD Robots, a Denmark based company, says their production time has been sped up to the point where it takes less than a day to make a robot.
U.S. based Xenex has supplied LightStrike (their version of a disinfecting robot) to over 500 healthcare facilities. Some are using the machine to sanitize hospital rooms where coronavirus patients received treatment.
China is currently the highest spender on robotics systems and drones. Covid-19 has spurred further innovation for the nation and a higher adoption of new technologies to combat the disease.
A startup called YouiBot has quickly pivoted their autonomous robots into a disinfection device. YouiBot has already equipped factories, offices, an airport, and a hospital in Wuhan.
In the meantime, automated pharmacies will also get a lift. They not only help reduce prescription errors, they serve as a force multiplier for beleaguered pharmacists in the midst of a medical crisis.
Analysts expect the market to grow at about 8.2% a year. In 2017, the sector was worth $3.63 billion but will climb to $5.38 billion by 2022.
Coronavirus Tech Tool No. 2: Artificial intelligence
Data about the virus is abundant. We are getting information from patients, doctors, and public health officials across the globe.
Knowledge is power, but this is far too much for a human – or even a team of humans – to sift through quickly, let alone in real time.
That’s where medical AI comes in to save the day.
China has already developed and put into place multiple AI systems to curb the rate of infection among their dense population.
One such system uses AI-powered facial recognition in combination with infrared to screen people with a possible fever. Those with temperatures over 99 degrees Fahrenheit are flagged.
Additionally, the International Business Times reports that several of the nation’s tech firms have created apps that help individuals verify if they have been on the same plane or train as those with confirmed cases of the virus.
Machine learning techniques such as semantic computing, deep learning, and neural networks will be critical for the global market rising to the challenge of synthesizing colossal volumes of medical data.
That’s exactly why Tractica cites 22 separate areas in which AI can play a role in medicine, like image analysis and drug discovery. The firm predicts that by 2025 the healthcare AI market will top $34 billion.
Coronavirus Tech Tool No. 3: Telemedicine and Videoconferencing
Hospitals and doctors have been adding videoconferencing and phone consults in the last several years. Mostly to improve on productivity and reduce patient wait times at offices.
Covid-19 caused a massive paradigm shift. Hospitals would only see folks with very high fevers and other symptoms. And millions of people stayed away from medical office for fear of getting sick.
The Jerusalem Post records Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv as being the first in the world to launch a coronavirus telemedicine program in early February.
The telemedicine solution is not only being used to monitor a patient’s vitals at the facility. The hospital also plans to provide the app to patients that don’t have severe cases so that they can be monitored from their homes, freeing up the limited number of isolation rooms in the hospital.
Healthcare IT News states that by the end of 2020, the global market for telemedicine will be worth more than $34 billion.
This figure comes from a market research report published by Mordor Intelligence.
North America alone, the largest market in the world, accounts for more than 40% of the global market.
An aging population, increasing cases of chronic diseases, and rapid rises in the software market are contributing to the major growth in this market.
Additionally, while the crisis is in full swing, much of the nation is confined to working from home. That means a massive increase in videoconferencing.
That bodes well for a market that was already growing at nearly 10% a year.
Fortune Business Intelligence say the market is growing at 9.8% a year. Globally, the field will hit $6.37 billion in 2026, a little more than double the $3.02 billion level in 2018.
Add it all up and you can see that this field is brimming with breakthroughs that can help in the fight against the spread of Covid-19.
Now then, I am putting together a report regarding three great tech-centric ETFs you can use to rebuild your portfolio.
One of them is a great way to invest in cutting-edge medical tech. So, please check back with me. You won’t want to miss out on this vital information.
Cheers and good investing,
Michael A. Robinson