COVID-19 Tracker

A collection of stories handpicked by IDG India editors, this series collates articles from multiple media sources on how technology is battling coronavirus on a war footing. Follow this page to keep yourself updated on COVID-19 developments from a tech perspective.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) affects around the globe
Thinkstock| IDG edits

6 May, 2020

Aarogya Setu team says 'no user data at risk' after French hacker raises concerns over 'security of 90 million Indians'

(Source: Firstpost)
Key Takeaways:
1) A French security researcher expresses concern over security issue
2) CERT-In and NIC confirmed the security issue

Covid-19 research under hacker attacks, US and UK warn

(Source: Indian Express)
1) Cybercriminals have attacked hospitals with ransomware
2) Hackers also use lures related to the crisis in phishing emails and espionage campaigns

5 May, 2020

How governments are communicating online during the COVID-19 crisis

(Source: WE Forum)
Reader ROI
1) In Estonia, 99% of government services are already online
2) An open government approach is needed that ensures citizens without internet access aren't left behind

The Covid-19 Pandemic Shows the Virtues of Net Neutrality

(Source: Wired)
Key Takeaways:
1) Even in crisis, internet companies can provide a neutral network
2) Spike in entertainment traffic worries net neutrality opponents

4 May, 2020

Why ‘shoe-leather’ contact tracing can’t be ignored: WHO COVID-19 briefing

(Source: WE Forum)
Successful tracing efforts involve more than apps or data analytics: they also require following up with people, making phone calls, knocking on people's doors, and finding out who could have been exposed to the virus. New technologies can complement, not replace, "shoe-leather" contact tracing efforts.

COVID-19 impact | Getting ready for coronavirus-safe production is the challenge: Apollo Tyres

(Source: Money Control)
Reader ROI;
1) Two plants partially resumed operations by adhering to guidelines prescribed by state governments
2) Measures taken for restarting plants didn't put the company in a grinding situation

Contact tracing: Europe's Coronavirus tech angle

(Source: Balkan Insight)
1) Countries like The Czech Republic and Poland in Central Europe have tech-based solutions for social tracing
2) Most nations have chosen Bluetooth-based technology for tracing

1 May, 2020

How the virus could boomerang on Facebook, Google, and Amazon

(Source: Politico)
Reader ROI:
1) Internet titans have a huge advantage over other companies: cash
2) Competitors are shrinking as most of them are laying off employees
3) Big players can always change the rule for own benefit

(Source: Guardian)
Key Takeaways:
1) National Statistics study estimated around 1.5m British jobs to be at risk from automation, even before the pandemic started
2) 4 in 10 companies are now bringing forward their plans for automation

India business most affected due to coronavirus lockdown: Amazon CFO

(Source: Business Standard)
1) The firm is fulfilling only essential goods, cutting off a lot of its offerings
2) Amazon has been rolling out initiatives to woo the sellers and deliver essential goods

April 30, 2020

Finance, tech firms on hiring spree amid coronavirus turmoil - LinkedIn

(Source: Reuters)
Reader ROI:
1) Retailers will hire 700,000 workers to meet a surge in demand
2) Fidelity Investments to fill 2,000 roles including software engineers

Singapore minister says 5G rollout still on track despite coronavirus challenges

(Source: CNBC)
1) Singapore Telecommunications and a joint venture between Starhub and M1 are to build their 5G networks
2) Singapore expected to achieve nationwide 5G coverage by 2025

April 29, 200

How an entrepreneurial approach can help end the COVID-19 crisis

(Source: WE Forum)
The evidence base and experimentation of science, coupled with the agility and risk-taking of entrepreneurs, are major elements of this wave and essential to ending the crisis and building a post-COVID-19 world.

Post-COVID, 75% of 4.5 lakh TCS employees to permanently work from home by '25; from 20%

(Source: Business Today)
1) Decision comes after 90% of its workforce moved to an operating model called Secure Borderless Work Spaces
2) Model called 25/25 will require far less office space

A.I. can’t solve this: The coronavirus could be highlighting just how overhyped the industry is

(Source: CNBC)
Key Takeaways:
1) AI needs a huge amount of labeled data for training its algorithms, there isn’t enough reliable coronavirus data for this
2) Scientists turn to tried and tested technologies, instead of AI
3) DeepMind, OpenAI and Facebook AI have remained relatively quiet throughout the crisis

28 April, 2020

Cyber-intel firms pitch governments on spy tools to trace coronavirus

(Source: CNBC)
1) Technologists remain skeptical that spying tools can be used to effectively combat a virus
1) With Cellebrite, authorities siphon up the patient’s location- making it easy to quarantine the right people

27 April, 2020

Tech’s Next Big Idea? A No-Layoffs Pandemic Pledge

(Source: Bloomberg)
Reader ROI:
1) Nvidia follows a no-layoff policy and introduces new salary hikes
2) PayPal made job-protection vows; so did Cisco and ServiceNow

Telcos, DoT in sync with states to track movement of Covid-19 patients

(Source: Economic Times)
Key Takeaways:
1) Only location details of calls are used; detailed CDRs remain untouched
2) Privacy experts say this will trigger concerns around data privacy as no permission from subscribers

10 technology trends to watch in the COVID-19 pandemic

(Source: WE Forum)
1) 3D printing mitigated shocks to the supply chain
2) Big Data, cloud computing, IoT and blockchain are building a more resilient supply chain management system

Big tech firms caught in US-China clash over coronavirus crisis

(Source: NY Post)
1) Apple to not meet revenue goals as it relies on China significantly
2) Facebook and Google are expected to see some drop in their earnings due to advertising declines

Coronavirus Tracking Apps and How Countries Are Monitoring Infections Through Them 

(Source: The Wire)
Reader ROI 
1) Australia: COVIDSafe app uses bluetooth signal to access info about a person’s interactions
2) China: Users scan QR codes to share information about their health status and travel history
3) Italy: App that traces people who have come in contact with a confirmed case

Tech’s trillion-dollar valuations are about to be tested by coronavirus-tainted earnings

(Source: MarketWatch)
Key Takeaways:
1) Alphabet has fallen below USD 900bn as its ad-supported business faces more doubts.
2)  Ad troubles to be balanced by strong cloud growth as demand for digital services increases

Coronavirus wipeout: $13 billion firepower that TCS, Wipro and Infosys can use

(Source: Gadgets Now) 
Analysts see the current downturn as the right time for IT giants to look for acquisitions or buyout captives of global giants. A look at how and why Indian IT companies are well-placed to execute acquisitions right now.

26 April, 2020

Microsoft technology chief explains how A.I. could someday help rural people get through a pandemic

(Source: CNBC) 
1) Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott is hopeful that rural entrepreneurs can tap AI to build businesses
2) He says it would be better for society as a whole to use AI to lower costs on necessary items

24 April, 2020

Apple and Google are tweaking plans for tech to help officials track coronavirus exposure

(Source: CNBC) 
1) The updated system includes security and privacy enhancements
2) The system can alert people about the number of days they were potentially exposed
2)  Strength and duration of the signal monitored to make a better judgment of infectious contact

How will fintech fare through the COVID-19 crisis? 

(Source: TechWire Asia)
Reader ROI

1) 72 percent spike in the use of financial apps in Europe
2) Fintech deals rose to hit 3,000 last year; total funding hit USD3.5bn

23 April, 2020

Doctors are using AI to triage covid-19 patients. The tools may be here to stay

(Source: Technology Review)
1) Technologies are used for the first time under the pressure of staff shortages and patient loads
2) Lot of AI firms have developed new software or revamped existing tools

How students are assisting in the battle against covid-19

Source: LiveMint
Key takeaways:
1) Kawach, square-shaped pendant, glows whenever someone comes within one meter of the wearer
2) Kawach sends reminders about regularly washing hands and also monitor body temperature

Evaluating the consequential impact of coronavirus on tech spending in 2020 

(Source: Analytics Insight) 
1) IT spending expected to decline by 2.7% in constant currency terms this year: IDC
2) Major spending declines this year are now expected in PCs, tablets, mobile phones, etc.
3) Spending on server/storage and network hardware will also decline

22 April, 2020

Future tense: Campus placements take a beating as COVID-19 hits businesses hard

(Source: CNBC)
Reader ROI:
1) COVID-19 outbreak has led to 60-65% interviews getting dropped or delayed
2) MNCs are revisiting their hiring plans and even revoking offers

21 April, 2020

Combating COVID-19: Lessons from Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan

(Source: Knowledge Wharton)
Key takeaways:
1) Singapore: investments in rapid and effective delivery of care were enhanced by the strategic use of ICT
2) South Korea: capabilities to fight disaster were amplified by tech to orchestrate a cohesive response
3) Taiwan: VP led the public information campaign from the office of the president

The Pandemic Has Slowed Wireless Network Buildouts

(Source: IEEE Spectrum)
1) Lockdowns made it difficult for companies to complete network buildouts on schedule
2) For a wireless network operator, it could mean the loss of its license to operate a network

Coronavirus hasn’t diminished allure of big tech stocks

(Source: LiveMint)
1) FANG added USD 251 billion in market value last week
2) Their biggest gain on record dating to Facebook’s 2012 initial public offering

20 April, 2020

How to create a trustworthy COVID-19 tracking technology

(Source: WE Forum) 
Reader ROI:
Tracking technologies tools may lead to an unprecedented infringement of freedoms unless governments and tech companies turn to robust governance frameworks and rely on true cooperation.

19 April, 2020

Coronavirus: Will Covid-19 speed up the use of robots to replace human workers?

(Source: BBC)
Key Takeaways:
1) Social distancing measures will increase the demand for robot workers in 2021
2) Covid-19 has changed the need for the human element in interactions, opening new opportunities for automation

How tech firms are helping build robust local supply chains amid Covid-19

(Source: Business Standard)
1) B2B e-commerce platforms stepped forward to solve the problems of local Kirana stores
2) They are bridging the last mile by delivering products directly to the customer.

16 April, 2020

Coronavirus: Facebook will start warning users who engaged with 'harmful' misinformation

(Source: The Guardian)
Users who liked, shared, commented or reacted to such posts will see a message in their news feed directing them to a 'myth busters' page maintained by the WHO

Tech Job Openings Plunged More Than 20% As Coronavirus Crisis Deepened: Glassdoor

(Source: CRN)
Key Takeaways:
1) U.S. job openings in all industries dropped to 4.8 million as of April 6, a 20.5% decline since March 9
2) The declines in job openings ranged from 11.5% in Montana to 32.6% in Washington State

How Facebook and Google Track Public's Movement in Effort to Fight COVID-19

(Source: IEEE Spectrum)
1) Location data provide a rich resource for decision-makers, scientists, and the public
2) The two companies say they are now making their troves of GPS-based mobility data available.

Hospitals On COVID-19 Frontline Facing ‘Double Extortion’ Cyber Threat

(Source: Forbes)
1) Hospitals cautioned regarding the rise a double extortion cyber threat
2) This ransomware tactic involves extracting large quantities of sensitive data before applying the encryption lock

14 April, 2020

Coronavirus: Apple tracks changes in travel behaviour

(Source: BBC)

Unlike Google, it provides daily readings from early January. Apple also provides a way to export its records as a spreadsheet, making it easy for researchers and the media to make use of the data within their own models.

13 April 2020

How Smart Cities Are Protecting Against Coronavirus But Threatening Privacy

(Source: Forbes)
Key Takeaways:
1) Use of connected sensors will make the pandemic a testbed for new surveillance technologies that may threaten privacy and civil liberties
2) Coronavirus has become an experiment to monitor people at scale.

Government can’t force people to use tech Google and Apple created to trace coronavirus cases

(Source: CNBC)
1) Representatives from both companies insist they won’t allow the technology to become mandatory.
2) Users will have to opt-in to the system of contact-tracing software built with these APIs

11 April, 2020

Tech giants can help save us from coronavirus — but should we let them?

(Source: NY Post)
Summary: Apple, Google, Twitter, Tesla, and Microsoft have the power and the data to lead the defense against the coronavirus. But should we let them?

10 April, 2020

Apple and Google Team Up to ‘Contact Trace’ the Coronavirus

(Source: NY Times)
Key Takeaways:
 Apple and Google said they would be able to release the smartphone tool in several months. The tools will be built into the operating systems of billions of devices.

9 April, 2020

Coronavirus: The online scams, apps and trends you need to know about during the pandemic

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