7 Ways Technology Is Working to Address a World in Crisis Here are just some of the incredible developments that have come out of the past few months.
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The current crisis has disrupted work and life around the world. However, the spirit of innovation, with its resiliency and determination, is proving that such worldwide obstacles don't have to create the same disruption.
Technology companies are hard at work to create that shift. For example, here are just seven of the many incredible tech solutions already being developed and implemented.
1. Data collection and organization
Data accuracy is important for all types of decisions, but it's critical to accurately organize the copious amounts of data related to the current crisis. Verizon Media launched a set of resources for developers — including an API, dashboard and dataset — to help visualize and analyze available data.
The "Yahoo Knowledge" dataset provides access to global data about locations, cases and recoveries, all organized and detailed by country, state and county levels. Verizon Media's innovative approach to data organization can help API developers build their own charts, simulations and applications.
2. Contact tracing
To help stop the movement of current and future viruses, leaders in different countries are launching initiatives featuring mobile phone contact-tracing. Google and Apple announced they are working together in what is perhaps the biggest tech partnership in the contact tracing effort.
The idea is to use a phone's short-distance Bluetooth-based networking signals, while still maintaining user privacy, consent and security. As a contact-tracing solution, the resulting app lets users download it and participate in contact-tracing through their Android and iOS smartphones.
3. Early detection system
Sometimes, an innovation created for one purpose can serve as a solution for other issues. Ava, a med-tech company in Switzerland, developed biometric bracelets that may also track potential cases. The bracelets collect data related to skin temperature as well as heart and respiration rates.
The bracelets were originally created to track physiological changes across the menstrual cycle. However, the bracelet's sensors work across genders and age groups. Because some of the most common symptoms include fever and shortness of breath, the bracelet could be a way to collect the data necessary to build an early detection system that may slow or stop the spread of the virus.
4. Telehealth platforms
Telehealth services were already on the rise before the current health crisis. This is due to its convenience, cost savings and ability to provide more access to quality care through videoconferencing, remote monitoring and electronic consultations. With the new challenges and pressure now on our healthcare systems, telehealth became a way to help more patients while simultaneously mitigating the risk of exposure.
However, many clinics and health organizations were not prepared for delivery of telehealth services. Those professionals who were already using telehealth also needed access to professionals with experience in clinical care.
Telehealth solutions providers like RubiconMD stepped up to help primary care providers get connected and drive faster response to critical health care needs. The company has also offered free access to its telehealth platform to many clinicians so that they can reach more patients and access specialists.
5. Disinfecting drones
It may seem hard to imagine that a drone could operate in confined inside spaces to disinfect rooms and surfaces. It's another example of how companies are repurposing their existing technology for innovative solutions to virus-related issues.
One of the largest challenges businesses face is keeping large spaces and interior surfaces continually clean and free of any virus or other disease-causing microorganisms. Digital Aerolus uses its Aertos 120-UVC drone to disinfect interior spaces. Combining industrial drone technology, UVC emitters, and artificial intelligence, this drone can deploy disinfectant solutions that work in healthcare environments as well as office buildings and other areas with multiple surfaces.
6. Temperature monitoring
The key to helping more people survive such a contagious virus is eliminating or minimizing contact. Yet our frontline healthcare workers face the risk of continual contact due to the need to monitor patients.
Companies like TempTraq adapted their temperature monitor device for hospital and clinical settings. Now, healthcare workers can remotely monitor fever and temperatures in their patients without having to come in contact to collect that data. Even better, these patients can be sent home while continuing to be monitored remotely using the patches that accompany the temperature sensor. In turn, this opens up more hospital beds and lowers exposure for healthcare workers.
7. Developer collaboration
Codementor and Arc are two developer communities combining their developer talent to create solutions to meet the crisis. With more than 500,000 developers between them, the communities have joined forces to help other companies as well as each other on projects.
This assistance includes using technology to connect freelance developers, mentors and organizations for software collaboration. Projects include developing software to track outbreaks, reduce spread, monitor critical healthcare supplies inventory and more.