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.

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(Source: Irish Times)
Key Takeaways:
1) Fraudsters calling people who lost their jobs due to the outbreak to ask for bank details to process the payments.
2) Video conferencing: security researchers calling it 'a privacy disaster'

There’s no consensus on technology’s role in the COVID-19 response

(Source: The Verge)
Highlights:
An interesting list of proposals for using technology to reopen cities
1) Virus-tracking apps could help authorities find people exposed to COVID-19
2) Apps are released on a voluntary basis to meet strict EU privacy rules

7 April, 2020

Why the coronavirus lockdown is making the internet stronger than ever

(Source: Technology Review)
Key Takeaways:
1) Between January-March, internet traffic increased by around a quarter in many major cities
2) Internet companies are having to handle traffic from multiple locations instead of a handful of hubs

Fearing the Invisible

(Source: Slate)
Summary:
1) The thesis—that pandemics are linked to the 'electrification' of the Earth—got certain people’s attention
2) Is there something about wireless infrastructure that lends itself to concerns about everything?

The tech sector is finally delivering on its promise

(Source: Vox)
Summary:
1) Vaguely promising ideas like telemedicine and remote learning are being used at mass scale
2) Frivolous food delivery apps have become a lifeline for small businesses

India Unemployment Rate Spiked To 23% Post Lockdown, Says CMIE

(Source: Bloomberg Quint)
Key Takeaways:
1) Unemployment rate started to rise before the lockdowns; stood at 8.7 percent in March
2) Labor participation rate fell to 39 percent; employment rate was a mere 30 percent

6 April, 2020

Coronavirus war rooms: Integrated Command and Control Centres in smart cities

(Source: Money Control)
Summary:
1) Varanasi, Pune, Surat, Bengaluru and Tumakuru are using the Integrated Command and Control Centres to keep tabs on people who have been quarantined during the lockdown
2) Also provides up-to-date information about the status of coronavirus in different administrative zones

Coronavirus: Call for single EU tracking app with data protection 

(Source: BBC)
Highlights:
1) Privacy advocates warn of the dangers of the use of tracking apps
2) EU app with strong data protection built-in is the best solution to the coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus is Pushing Mass Surveillance in India, and It’s Going to Change Everything 

(Source: Vice)
Highlights:
1) Contact tracing could persist beyond the COVID-19, say tech experts
2) Privacy and personal data are not black-and-white, especially in India, and hence a need for vigilance
3) Another side-effect of increased surveillance is loss of autonomy

5 April, 2020

Tech for good during COVID-19: Texts for frontline workers, a crisis prevention hotline and more 

(Source: TechCrunch)
What's in the article?
1) Rounding up a few startup efforts to combat the COVID-19 impact
2) Unique ways companies unpack tech to answer questions

These new gadgets were designed to fight COVID-19  

(Source: WeForum)
Reader ROI
1) Hands-free door openers to basic ventilators, COVID-19 has ushered urgent innovation
2) Some of the newest coronavirus inventions via 3D-printing - masks, ventilators, etc

Coronavirus: Scientists brand 5G claims 'complete rubbish'

(Source: BBC)
Reader ROI:
1) Theories claiming 5G technology helps transmit coronavirus have been condemned by the scientific community
2) Scientists say the idea of a connection between COVID-19 and 5G is 'complete rubbish' and biologically impossible

4 April, 2020

Coronavirus pandemic| Amidst remote working, technology poses unusual challenges 

(Source: Money Control)
Highlights:
1) Official meetings is through a simple login and passcode, it is not too difficult to break into the system
2) This time has become the golden chance for hackers
3) CIOs say that these hackers could be business rivals trying to gain confidential information.

3 April, 2020

3 Tips to Bypass WFH Burnout 

(Source: Harvard Business Review)
Reader ROI:
1) Maintain physical and social boundaries
2) Maintain temporal boundaries as much as possible
3) Focus on your most important work

Google taps vast trove of location data to aid global effort to combat coronavirus
(Source: Washington Post)
Reader ROI:
1) Google harnesses cache of digital records of users’ whereabouts to spot key trends
2) It would share anonymous mobility data with unspecified researchers to forecast the pandemic

2 April, 2020

How virtual reality is helping to deal with COVID-19 

(Source: Analytics Insights)
Highlights:
1) VR offers a solid option for video calls and those that adopt it could keep up virtual communication as a long-term strategy.
2) 25% increase in attention span when meeting in VR compared with video conferencing

1 April, 2020

Coronavirus: Amidst Layoffs, Trump Urged to Pause H1B Visa Programme

(Source: Wired)
Highlights:
1) Labour Dept will see 50-70 mn unemployed Americans by April end
2) US Tech Workers urged Trump to suspend the H-1B visa programs

How COVID-19 Is Showing Us We Might Be Wasting Our Tech Revolution 

(Source: Forbes)
Reader ROI
1) The first step to modernizing transportation solutions is data collection
2) Followed by data mapping - to find blindspots
3) Next step is good policy - strong public-private initiatives

Coronavirus Has Potential to Reshape Government Technology

(Source: Governing)
Key Takeaways:
1) For CIOs investing in IT will be tough with budgets heading south
2) Govt agencies rely on old mainframes and proprietary software
3) Pandemic has made clear that tech is essential to govt continuity

Coronavirus: India's race to build a low-cost ventilator to save COVID-19 patients

(Source: BBC)

Highlights: 
1) 7 engineers at the start-up have three prototypes of a portable ventilators ready.
2) By 7 April, they plan to test it on patients after approvals.

March 31, 2020

Travel Tech Predictions For A Post COVID-19 World

(Source: Forbes)
Reader ROI:
1) Travel industry is expected to have a loss of 5.9 million jobs
2) USD 910 bn loss expected- 7 times worse than the impact of 9/11

Coronavirus impact: Startup funding falls 50% in March

(Source: MoneyControl)
Highlights:
1) Indian startups raised USD 354 mn in March 2020, less than half the USD 714  mn raised in February.
2) Startups raised USD 1.74 bn in Q1, 7.5% less than last December. 

A coronavirus recession will mean more robots and fewer jobs

(Source: Vox)
Interview with Mark Muro, policy director at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.
Key Takeaways:
1) 88% of job loss took place in highly automatable occupations in the last 3 recessions
2) With more automation, should come more upskilling

Hospitals Deploy AI Tools to Detect COVID-19 on Chest Scans

(Source: IEEE Spectrum)
Reader ROI:
1) AI-powered analysis can alleviate the growing burden on radiologists.
2) Prediction of patients in need of ventilators can be made

Tech Billionaires Are Making Friends With Big Brother

(Source: Bloomberg) 

Highlights

1) Once a 'surveillance capitalism' is now a pandemic necessity.
2) Market power that made Big Tech look so dangerous makes it look vital.
3) Global giants like Facebook and Amazon are likely to emerge even bigger as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

March 30, 2020

Coronavirus Drives 72% Rise In Use Of Fintech AppsCOVID-19: Implications for business

(Source: Forbes) 

Reader ROI:

1) 72% bounce in fintech app usage is part of a fundamental adaption to life in lockdown
2) Indeed, Zoom Video Communications shares gained more 32% since the market began its decline in mid-February.

COVID-19: Implications for business

(Source: McKinsey) 

Key Takeaways:

1) 5 horizons leaders should think and act - Resolve, resilience, return, reimagination, reform
2) How 5 Rs will help win the battle against COVID-19

How COVID-19 will impact IT and tech spending for 2020 and beyond

(Source: Cloud Computing) 

What to look for in this article?

1) How COVID-19 is affecting 11 major industry sectors in 4-D: personnel, operations, supply chain, and revenue.
2) Key insights from Forrester’s latest IT spending forecast and predictions.

4 ways COVID-19 could change how we educate future generations

(Source: weforum) 

Highlights:

1) 85% of the jobs in 2030 that Gen-Z and Alpha will enter into have not been invented yet
2) 65% of primary school children today will be working in job types that do not exist yet
3) New definition of educator - teaching life skills needed for the future.

136 million jobs at risk in post-corona India

(Source: LiveMint) 

READER ROI:

1) Tourism and hospitality industry will have a possible loss of over 20 mn jobs if recovery stretches beyond October 2020: Industry body CII

2) Falling demand and supply constraints would not only make fresh job creation tougher but also hurt those who are currently employed.

March 28, 2020

AI Can Help Scientists Find a COVID-19 Vaccine

(Source: Wired) 

Reader ROI:

AI is playing two important supporting roles in this quest:
1) Suggesting components of a vaccine by understanding viral protein structures
2) helping medical researchers scour tens of thousands of relevant research papers at an unprecedented pace

Coronavirus: What if this had happened in 2005?

(Source: BBC) Today, many of the digital tools we are using to keep connected, fed and sane either did not exist back then or were available to only a few. So how would've we dealt with the pandemic if it were to happen a decade ago?

March 27, 2020

How 3D printing could save lives in the coronavirus outbreak

(Source: Technology Review) As the pandemic strains global supply chains for critical medical products, a number of digital manufacturing companies are rushing in to meet immediate needs. Will 3D printing plug these critical gaps in the supply chain?

March 26, 2020

Coronavirus has brought misery to people but respite and glory to the tech industry

(Source: India Today) Companies that provide business services such as call centers, information technology services and business process automation were not prepared for work-for-home arrangements, according to interviews with more than a dozen employees of several companies. 

Call center, IT services struggle to work from home amid coronavirus

(Source: Business Today) During this period of pandemic, the tech industry is thriving, it is looking at new windows of opportunities that are opening even as roads close and people shut doors in their homes.

What COVID-19 tells us about technology and human behavior

(Source: RTE) We are witnessing some smart thinking during the current crisis when it comes to technology, but will such flexibility continue afterward?

Use of surveillance to fight coronavirus raises concerns about government power after pandemic ends

(Source: CNBC) Governments around the world are using technology to track the coronavirus outbreak as they race to stem its spread. But how long will it last and is this an infringement of privacy, rights groups have asked.

March 24, 2020

Defense Ministry to develop voice-based test for coronavirus

(Source: The Jerusalem Post) The Israel Defence Ministry collaborates with a healthcare startup to begin testing a voice sampling application to diagnose symptoms of the COVID-19. The application uses an AI platform to identify the unique 'vocal fingerprint' of virus carriers.

How Indian IT firms and BPOs are staying online to serve the world 

(Source: The Print) Nasscom is asking state governments to grant special exemptions for their industry to ensure some workers can go to the office, where they have access to essential databases and reliable high-speed internet — which most workers lack at home.

March 23, 2020

COVID-19: Tech giants, government agencies add supercomputing to the fight

(Source: The Network World) Cisco announced a donation of USD 225 million to support global and local response to COVID-19. Now, IBM, AWS, Google, HPE, Microsoft, NASA, MIT, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and U.S. Department of Energy come together to form a High-Performance Computing Consortium to fight COVID-19. 

New global platform to keep information networks ‘safer, stronger’ throughout COVID-19 pandemic

(Source: UN News) The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) launched a new platform on Monday to help global networks under increasing strain and facing rising demand during the COVID-19 crisis to remain “safer, stronger and more connected”, according to the specialized agency’s chief.

Three Sectors Remain Unscathed (So Far) From COVID-19 Hit

(Source: Bloomberg Quint) While the novel pandemic has brought many industries to a screeching halt, three sectors have remained unscathed from the impact of the virus outbreak as yet. 

COVID-19 Is Changing Our World – As Well As Our Attitude To Technology And Privacy –Why Could That Be A Problem?

(Source: Forbes) As the world adapts to contain COVID-19, the next casualty could be our concerns over privacy and freedom from state surveillance of our day-to-day activities. Even though it could be a matter of priority, it could be the beginning of a journey down a dangerous path.

March 22, 2020

Coronavirus cruelly exposes the fragility of the offshore outsourcing industry: Will clients trust all their eggs in one basket again when this is over?

(Source: Horsesforsources) The outsourcing industry is fast-becoming be the first vital piece of the global economy to come under the microscope as nations, businesses, and societies try to build a blueprint for what the post-coronavirus economy may look like.

March 20, 2020

In Coronavirus Crisis, Public Cloud Computing Is ‘An Unsung Hero’

(Source: CRN) As the entire world converts personal interaction to virtual ones, public cloud and its supporting technologies have enabled things from remote working to entertainment. ‘It's easy to forget, but ten years ago, none of this would have even been possible,’ says a public cloud exec.

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