In the last two weeks, every reader must have received multiple desperate queries for available hospital beds and oxygen cylinders. Almost overnight, a mammoth nationwide peer-to-peer network powered by social media is directly fighting the battle against the virus, supplementing the valiant efforts of the organised medical workforce and supply chains.
The task of the day is to recognise the magnitude of this crisis and forge a game plan for public-private partnership, so that deaths can be avoided. P2P networks which helped shape the Jasmine Revolution and unified protestors globally are now being applied for basic survival, as we are relying on our fellow citizens in our toughest times. Instead of being unproductively critical, the challenge is now to mobilise every useful resource on a wartime priority basis and here I mean brands and corporations.
On oxygen, there are two issues, namely production and distribution. Every industry that has the technical capability to produce or divert or import oxygen must do so immediately – from automobiles to engineering to perhaps a consortium of ancillaries. CII and allied business forums working with MSMEs must facilitate this search and generate nationwide momentum courtesy its partners. While every company with a physical distribution network, including Coca Cola and Nestle, must free up vehicles to deliver the same to hospitals. A service that can be performed by Ola and Uber as well, as patients struggle to get due replenishments.
Google is in the business of search and who better than them to direct customers to the nearest available hospital beds and emergency resources, with pinpoint accuracy and utmost regionalisation, in partnership with authorities. Swiggy and Zomato must divert a part of its home page to a perpetual ticker of available solutions, while the taxi aggregators must give priority access for journeys to and fro hospitals. Facebook can do much in this cause as can LinkedIn, in their own unique technical and networking capacities. While companies must be motivated by industry leaders to implement WFH wherever possible, so that risk is minimised without compromising productivity. Real estate companies are already sharing unsold capacity for building centres and this pattern must continue.
But to make this momentum sustainable, we need to unify this Peer-to-Peer network, so that it can seamlessly integrate with the solution providers. This network by the way is a remarkable societal unifier and after the troubles are over, will emerge as a key accelerator of integration. As perfect strangers are helping each other, unconnected to any affiliation, in a manner that is truly emerging as a benchmark for both technology and humanity. Which is exactly why organised corporate entities must come to the party in their support, as we know by now that healthcare infrastructure, public or private, is stretched unimaginably. I thus propose the launch of a P2P hub, #IndiaLives, and you can pronounce the second part the way you wish to, as a verb or a noun.
Powered by a consortium of tech and consumer giants, aligning both Google and ITC, this will be an app like Arogya Setu to be installed on every willing device. The #IndiaLives app will be a mammoth P2P network with participation from all able players in this battle, from hospitals to temporary bed stations to supply channels. Every P2P query will be automatically diverted to this location and thus facilitate location specific responses, by both organisations and individuals. Private in spirit, public in outcomes and supported selflessly by the state, this will be our biggest weapon in these desperate times. As a cultural foundation, there will be no room for criticism or polarisation as that is the spirit of #IndiaLives.
We are possibly witnessing the world’s largest P2P network being unleashed to solve India’s greatest crisis. While case studies can be written later, the time is ripe for all corporate stalwarts to co-create the #IndiaLives app and indeed movement. It will save precious lives today and unconditionally unify the India of tomorrow.
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