Top Innovative Tech Collaborations in Response to COVID-19

by April 20, 2020

COVID-19

With more than 2 million people under the radar of the coronavirus outbreak, the pandemic has worse hit a number of industries. However, the tech industry is dealing effectively with the current crisis without much of the chaos under its hood. Moreover, tech companies are coming up with notable innovations and innovative collaborations to introduce tools/measures/solutions against COVID-19.

Yext, Inc., the Search Experience Cloud company, announced its collaboration with the United States Department of State on an official COVID-19 travel alert and advisory information hub, covid19.state.gov. When people visit this special information hub, people can enter COVID-19 search queries into the Yext Answers Bar and receive a contextual, verified answer from sources including travel.state.gov, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), the Department’s global network of Embassy and Consulate websites, the official United States coronavirus website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other key resources. Country, embassy, and consulate facts are built-in to answer queries about repatriation for US citizens abroad who are unable to travel back to the United States.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Hackster.io, an Avnet company and the largest online open-source technology hardware community, have partnered to launch the COVID-19 Detect and Protect Challenge to create open-source technology that developing countries can leverage in the fight against this global pandemic. The new design challenge is a call to action for all hardware and software developers, product designers, scientists, hackers, makers, innovators, and inventors to come up with innovative ideas to cost-efficiently support COVID-19 response efforts in developing countries. There will be prizes and recognition awarded to the top ten solutions, and Avnet will provide support to accelerate the winners’ time to market by offering business consultation and access to engineering, design and manufacturing resources.

According to an Apple’s blog, across the world, governments and health authorities are working together to find solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic and software developers are contributing by crafting technical tools to help combat the virus and save lives. In this spirit of collaboration, Google and Apple have announced a joint effort to enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus, with user privacy and security central to the design.

Since COVID-19 can be transmitted through close proximity to affected individuals, public health officials have identified contact tracing as a valuable tool to help contain its spread. A number of leading public health authorities, universities, and NGOs around the world have been doing important work to develop opt-in contact tracing technology. To further this cause, Apple and Google will be launching a comprehensive solution that includes application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing. Given the urgent need, the plan is to implement this solution in two steps while maintaining strong protections around user privacy.

First, in May, both companies will release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores.

Second, in the coming months, Apple and Google will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms. This is a more robust solution than an API and would allow more individuals to participate if they choose to opt-in, as well as enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities. Privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort, and the companies look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders.

Furthermore, the three technology companies — SingularityNET, Ocean Protocol and Nth Opinion — have joined efforts to utilize the latest technologies to outpace the spread of the virus.

Three technology companies — SingularityNET, Ocean Protocol and Nth Opinion — have joined efforts to utilize the latest technologies to outpace the spread of the virus. SingularityNET, the company which built artificial intelligence for the human-like robot Sophia, is a decentralized AI marketplace and fosters the emergence of beneficial general intelligence. Ocean Protocol is a decentralized data exchange protocol to unlock data for AI, launched in 2017. Leveraging blockchain technology, Ocean Protocol connects data providers and consumers, allowing data to be shared while guaranteeing traceability, transparency, and trust for all stakeholders involved. Nth Opinion is an AI health startup that originally launched, www.AskCo19.com, a platform for physicians and medical professionals on the frontlines to share information about this lethal viral pathogen that currently has no treatment. The grassroots open-source team behind AskCo19.com announced the partnership with SingularityNET to merge decentralized protocols, communication technologies, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

T-Hub and Q City, recently, announced the launch of COVID-19 Innovation Challenge. The program is targeted at empowering students to conduct research to develop potential solutions to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), is the knowledge partner for this program. Emerging Technologies Wing, ITE&C Dept, Government of Telangana, will help T-Hub in curating problem statements for the challenge. The program is open to student innovators across colleges in Telangana, Hyderabad. Students are encouraged to develop a potential solution, idea or an app for reporting, curing or tracing the COVID-19 pandemic, or anything else that can help curb its spread and prevent future outbreaks. The focus areas for the program are: Easy detection of infected persons; Low cost and easy to implement; Efficient tracking of infected persons and their contact with other persons; and Regular monitoring of the spread of the virus and predict outcomes.

SphereMail, a leading provider of online mail management software has officially partnered with OfficeRnD, a comprehensive software platform for co-working and flexible workspace providers, to address the significant and evolving impact of COVID-19 on the co-working industry. The companies have partnered by integrating the online mail management component of SphereMail into the robust co-working management platform of OfficeRnD to serve the immediate needs of co-working members and tenants who are forced to work at home as well as position for the evolving nature of the workplace which is expected to be forever changed by the impact of COVID-19.

Moreover, healthcare and tech have partnered to tackle COVID-19. The effort, called the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, will operate with the singular goal of achieving a “shut down” of coronavirus. Led by Mayo Clinic, this private-industry partnership will combine the talents of healthcare organizations, technology companies, non-profits, start-ups, and academia to organize a coordinated response to coronavirus. Across the tech industry, Amazon’s AWS has agreed to participate. Microsoft and Salesforce have also joined this coalition. In addition, numerous healthcare entities, including HCA Healthcare, Labcorp, and the University of California Healthcare System, have all joined the coalition. MITRE, a group that specializes in research and development, will handle the program management duties.

Currently, as the US stands at the worst, the US-based tech giants, including IBM, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, have partnered with the White House to “unleash the power of American supercomputing resources” for combating the novel coronavirus, President Donald Trump has said. From volunteering to manufacturing masks and ventilators to ramping up production of essential medical supplies and general items, the country’s private sector has joined America’s war against coronavirus in a big way, Trump said recently, while launching a new public-private consortium organized by the White House, the Department of Energy and tech company IBM.

IBM, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, MIT, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Energy’s National Laboratories, the National Science Foundation and NASA will be primarily computing resources to help researchers discover new treatments and vaccines.