Tata Consultancy Services supports mission critical tech
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the pandemic has created significant global challenges that have caused widespread disruption. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) believes “that all global challenges need global solutions. We are engaged with our employees, clients, partners, public institutions, and community organisations to rise to the occasion. As the world comes together to fight this, human endeavor and ingenuity will surely prevail over this crisis,” comments .
Continuing its support of mission critical technology
As a leading technology provider, TCS works with thousands of organisations around the world in order to keep them up and running.
“We power the financial backbones of several countries, support some of the largest health care and pharmacy companies in the world, manage integrated systems – including online channels – for retail companies, and run technology for governments and public services organisations. The smooth functioning of all these organisations will be vital during a period of lockdown and social distancing,” adds .
With 50 years of experience in location independent work practices, TCS has the capabilities to deploy collaboration platforms, cloud enabled infrastructure and robust security practices to mitigate the challenges presented by COVID-19. “Our clients have trusted TCS to manage their technology. We will continue to keep earning their trust by working together to navigate these difficult times.”
Currently TCS has pledged over US$200mn to protect and empower those affected by the impact of COVID-19, and is working closely with governments and institutional partners. “We are continuously engaged with government authorities, industry chambers and multilateral organisations to support them in ensuring the safety of communities, while keeping critical services operational. Governments in the countries where we operate recognize the IT sector as mission critical in powering functional economies. We are in touch with public institutions to ensure continuity on all fronts.” TCS is also a strategic partner to the World Economic Forum as part of its COVID-19 action platform.
In addition to its financial pledge and engagement with governments and institutional partners, Tata Sons and Tata Trusts have pledged US$200mn to protect and empower affected communities. The pledge will include the supply of personal protective equipment for frontline medical personnel, respiratory systems, testing kits, modular treatment facilities and training for health workers and the general public.
Combating COVID-19 with technology
Drawing on its experience in research and innovation, TCS has been utilising its knowledge to deliver disruptive solutions and technology. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, TCS has been leveraging its R&D infrastructure to run multiple projects looking for opportunities to support high priority needs around the world.
“The foremost priority lies in the area of healthcare and vaccine research. Some of our initiatives include the COVID-19 patient tracker, creating a quick and light platform for clinical trials systems to rapidly collate effectiveness data in collaboration with pharma and medical institutions, drug molecule discovery using our patented technology and frameworks and exploring promising ideas for affordable and effective ventilators and kits. These represent just some of the ways we are harnessing our expertise to fight this virus.”
Amazon test new technology to improve employee safety
At the Amazon Robotics and Advanced Technology labs in Boston, and Northern Italy, team members are testing and developing new technologies in order to help to make employees’ jobs safer, these include technologies that help move carts and packages through Amazon facilities.
Recently the safety of Amazon's warehouses has drawn scrutiny. On June 1, the Washington Post's Jay Greene and Chris Alcantara published findings from an analysis of Occupational Safety and Health Administration data showing Amazon's serious injury rates are nearly double those at other companies' facilities.
A spokesperson from Amazon said the company spent more than $1 billion last year on safety measures, and hired more than 6,200 employees to a group dedicated to workplace health and safety.
One innovation being tested by Amazon, which is in early development, is the use of motion-capture technology to assess the movement of volunteer employees in a lab setting. These employees perform tasks that are common in many Amazon facilities, such as the movement of totes, which carry products through robotic fulfillment centers.
The motion-capture software enables Amazon scientists and researchers to more accurately compare data captured in a lab environment to industry standards rather than other modelling tools traditionally used by ergonomists.
“With this data, visualisations, and employee feedback, we are looking to identify relatively simple changes that can make a big impact,” said Kevin Keck, worldwide director of Advanced Technology at Amazon. “Something as simple as changing the position of handles on totes may help lower the risk of injuries to our employees at a massive scale.”
Autonomous Robots creating new paths to safety
In order to reduce the need for employees to reach up or bend down when retrieving items, Amazon is testing a new workstation system called “Ernie.” According to the company Ernie takes totes off of a robotic shelf and uses a robotic arm to deliver it to employees, so they can remain in a more comfortable and stable position.
“We’re known for being passionate about innovating for customers, but being able to innovate with robotics for our employees is something that gives me an extra kick of motivation each day,” said Keck. “The innovation with a robot like Ernie is interesting because while it doesn’t make the process go any faster, we’re optimistic, based on our testing, it can make our facilities safer for employees.”
“Bert” is one of Amazon’s first Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), and is being tested to autonomously navigate through facilities with Amazon-developed advanced safety, perception, and navigation technology. In the future, it is thought that an employee would be able to summon Bert to carry items across a facility.
‘Scooter’ and ‘Kermit’ are two other robots that also operate autonomously, and are both transport cars. The carts are used to carry empty totes and packages through our facilities.
In a blog post the company said: ‘By having Autonomously Guided Carts (AGCs) like Scooter and Kermit perform physical tasks, we believe we can make our facilities safer and enable our employees to focus on jobs that require their critical thinking skills. In addition, using an AGC like Scooter to pull carts through our facilities reduces the risk of strains on our employees, or even collisions. We currently plan to deploy Scooter to at least one Amazon facility this year.’
Amazon began using robotics in its facilities in 2012, and since then they have added more than 1 million jobs worldwide while simultaneously deploying 350,000 mobile drive unit robots.
“The role robotics and advanced technology can play in not only innovating for customers, but helping make our facilities safer, is a massive motivation for me and my team,” said Keck. “The health and safety of our employees is our number one priority. By listening to them, innovating on their behalf, and driving new technologies into our facilities over the coming months and years, I’m confident we’ll make a big contribution to our goal of reducing recordable incidents by 50% by 2025.”