AI vs Covid-19: Chris Ezekiel on AI to flatten the curve, ‘Creative Virtual Live’ and in-person interactions

We thank Chris Ezekiel from Creative Virtual for taking part in our AI vs Covid-19 Q&A and sharing several insightful and positive reflections, including:

How Creative Virtual turned the remote work challenge into an opportunity to learn more about each employee.
The difference that AI has made in combating Covid-19 in contrast with the 1918 influenza pandemic.
How technology may impact our need  for in-person and tactile interactions.

How has the pandemic affected your community?

I travelled to Australia on 1st March for a business trip. I was there for just under two weeks, visiting Sydney and Melbourne. There was concern about the virus as I left the UK, but we were still in the containment phase and nobody really knew how things would unfold over the next two weeks. I used some of the time on my long journey to the land down under to write my monthly column for the Wharf Life newspaper, the local newspaper where Creative Virtual’s headquarters are located. Published in the 11 March issue, my column was about human touch and the future impact technology might have on the need for in-person and tactile interactions. Now as I walk around an empty and locked-down Canary Wharf, this edition of the free newspaper remains in the plastic stands – the last issue published before the newspaper was temporarily suspended. It’s as if the irony of this human touch column has been frozen in time.

Navigating Creative Virtual through the pandemic will have its challenges for me as the business owner, but this is insignificant when compared to the life and death struggles going on every second throughout our communities. I’m fortunate to have such a fantastic team who have built strong relationships with our customers and partners, and this is what will get us through this. I recognise the importance of staying connected through these difficult times and also making sure we take time to relieve stress and have a little fun – smiling and laughing is some of the best therapy. As soon as the lockdown started in the UK, I put in place ‘Creative Virtual Live’ whereby volunteers (well, there might be some arm twisting!) within the company spend around 30 minutes each workday presenting a live show to the rest of the company. Everyone has a talent/hobby and it’s been great to learn more about each other. So far, we’ve had sessions on fitness, yoga, cooking, wine tasting, duck feeding, coding, juggling, a farm tour, an introduction to the game Go, martial arts, cello and piano recitals and even a talk on WW I. It’s been a great way for our work community to stay connected and learn more about each other.

What challenges are your company and your customers currently facing, and how are you working to overcome them?

The disruption to our customers varies depending on their industry, as you would expect. Our team are ensuring we’re there to help as they rush to...