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How The Tech Industry Is Coming Together To Fight The Coronavirus Pandemic

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How The Tech Industry Is Coming Together To Fight The Coronavirus Pandemic,Startup Stories,Tech companies could face more pressure to share location,Tech Industry,Tech Industry Latest News,The Tech That Could Be Our Best Hope for Fighting COVID-19,The Biggest Business Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic


We live in a time when technology has taken over the world.  No matter what the problem, there is always a startup or a tech giant coming up with a solution.  There is no doubt that technology has elevated the quality of life across the globe and has increased life expectancy all over the world.  However, we are currently living in an extraordinary time when the entire world and stock markets are being brought to its knees due to a virus of the physical kind.  The virus which originated in the Wuhan province in China, has quickly spread like wildfire across the globe due to its exponential growth and transmission rates. World governments are enforcing quarantine measures in order to combat the spread of the virus.  As quarantine measures are taking effect, corporations and businesses have come up with innovative ideas to ensure their work stays on track and have implemented work from home options.

The unforeseen threat of the Novel Coronavirus crippled the stock markets around the world so much so that it is being compared to the great economic depression that shook the world in the 1930’s.  However technology companies are coming together to offer whatever assistance they can to help combat the Coronavirus.

 

Microsoft:

Microsoft has always prided itself on being one of the largest technology companies in the world for more than two decades.  Microsoft was always on the forefront of innovation and Bill Gates visionary leadership was a vital contributor for its growth.  In these testing times Microsoft’s communication application Team has seen a huge surge in its usage. The chat and conferencing app gained more than 12 million daily users in one week as more people worked from home during the coronavirus outbreak.  Microsoft understood that healthcare providers and hospitals are under extreme stress and therefore rolled out several features designed to help with telemedicine and employees working from home, such as a bookings application for Teams to help hospitals manage virtual appointments.  

Facebook:

Facebook is a social networking platform which boasts of having a whopping 2.36 billion active users on its platform.  This makes it a very powerful tool to communicate and spread information quickly. However, this also means a lot of misinformation and myths can be spread as well.  Facebook usually has a team of moderators verifying information going online on its platform and checking to see if the information meets their community guidelines. In these testing times, misinformation is spreading at an alarming rate and therefore Facebook is considering the usage of Artificial Intelligence to do the job of a moderator in order to combat wrong information being spread about the Coronavirus.

Twitter:

Microblogging platform Twitter is one of the quickest ways to search for information online from all over the world. A verified Twitter user tagged Jack Dorsey and asked him why popular and esteemed epidemiologists, contagion experts and virologists do not have a verified account which is indicated by a blue tick on their profiles.  Paul Graham, the cofounder of Y Combinator retweeted the original post and asked Jack why Twitter is not verifying the accounts of contagion experts as their expertise is the need of the hour. Jack Dorsey was quick to acknowledge Paul Graham’s tweet and has called for users to help Twitter in identifying public health experts.

Alibaba:

Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma has pledged an extraordinary amount of resources to help the world out in this crisis.  Jack Ma donated face masks, safety suits and virus testing kits to Japan, Iran and Italy. Italy and Iran in particular have seen the highest cases of Coronavirus outside of China.  In the latest update, Jack Ma pledged more support to some of the poorest countries in Asia.  

In this time of crisis, it is heartwarming to see businesses putting profits aside for the moment and instead focus their efforts on helping humanity as a whole.  As the whole Coronavirus pandemic sees its course, there will no doubt be countless stories of humanity winning all over the world.  

 

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How This Bangalore Based Augmented Reality Startup Helped Contain Wuhan Covid-19 Outbreak

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How This Bangalore Based Augmented Reality Startup Helped Contain Wuhan Covid-19 Outbreak

When news about a new type of virus broke out, the world was not ready for what was to come.  The Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 virus originated in Wuhan province of China. This is now established as the  epicenter/epicentrum that quickly paralysed the entire Country, before the virus spread to other countries.  Currently, the virus spread to almost every nation on the planet with Italy, Spain, America and Germany being some of the worst affected countries.

The virus seems to have finally subsided in Wuhan and life is slowly returning back to normal.  However, when the virus was at its peak, ventilators were the need of the hour. The virus affects the respiratory system and symptoms include difficulty in breathing.  Beside the lockdown which played a part in controlling the spread of the virus, ventilators supplied by Huber & Ranner, a German company played a vital role in combating the illness.  

However, the technical team could not travel from Germany to Wuhan in order to install the ventilators and demonstrate how to use them.  This is where a Bangalore based startup BlinkIn, stepped in to the rescue. According to reports, BlinkIn developed an augmented reality (AR) product named Scotty to provide visual guidance to the technicians in Wuhan.  They did this based out of their office in Pocking,Germany. All that the technicians in Wuhan had to do was to click on a link to see a visual demonstration.

Scotty was unlike the other AR products available currently and what makes it special is its simplicity of use and the ease of deployment.  Scotty uses WebGL, a JavaScript API(Applications Programming Interface,) to render graphics on to a compatible browser. Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of BlinkIn, Harshavardhan Kumar says “WebGL lets you access a mobile phone’s GPU (graphics processing unit) to run computer vision algorithms. That’s how we bring AR experiences through the Web rather than a mobile app (sic.)”   All the technicians at Wuhan had to do was point their phone screen at a ventilator and an installation point, and the AR markers helped indicate how to set the ventilators up as a technician walks through with instructions over voice communication.

The idea behind Scotty was to use lightweight technology in order to provide just enough AR support to get the job done ‘then and there.’  Scotty requires minimal computational power unlike traditional AR, which relies heavily on heavy downloads, graphics processing units and figuring out how to use it.

It is truly wonderful to see how different technologies are adapting to these uncertain times and it will certainly be interesting to see how AR can be merged into other technologies as well in the future.

 

ALSO READ: Coronavirus Pandemic Testing Startups By Disrupting Supply-Demand

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Online Food Delivery Platform Zomato Acquires Uber Eats

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Uber Eats, the online food delivery business owned by Uber, has been in the news for quite some time, saying it will cease operations due to losses from the business.  Swiggy, which is one of the leading online food delivery startups in India, had its eyes on acquiring Uber Eats. However, the deal could not fall through due to disagreements about the financial terms and taxation clauses.

The Indian public was in for a surprise when Zomato announced they will acquire Uber Eats in an all stock deal for $ 350 million.  This is one of the biggest acquisitions of this year. The Uber Eats app ceased operations and instead shows you a notice which redirects you to the Zomato platform.

Uber Eats posted on their official Twitter handle regarding the news about the acquisition.

This deal now gives Zomato a 55 % control of the market, which it now shares with its competitor, Swiggy.  The online food delivery market has been very difficult for Uber Eats to make inroads as it was already captured by Swiggy and Zomato.  The deal excludes Uber Eats’ employees as Zomato stated they will not take them. Uber will absorb these employees and allocate them other business roles.

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Sundar Pichai To Lead Alphabet Inc As New CEO

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Sundar Pichai is all set to lead Alphabet Inc., the multinational conglomerate parent company of Google. Pichai was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Google since 2015 and now, he will also lead Alphabet Inc.

On the 3rd of December, Larry Page, the co founder of Alphabet Inc., stepped down as the CEO handing over the position to Sundar Pichai. Alphabet, which emerged in 2015 as a result of restructuring of Google, currently owns more than 12 companies, including Waymo, Malta, Makani, X Development, Calico, the healthcare software company Verily and others.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the co founders of Google, wrote a blog post speaking about their decision of moving out of the company, instating Sundar Pichai the CEO of Alphabet.

Larry Page showed his confidence in Sundar Pichai, who has been leading Google as the CEO since 2015. Page said, “We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President. Going forward, Sundar will be the CEO of both Google and Alphabet (sic.)”

Though Larry Page and Sergey Brin resigned from their respective posts of CEO and President, they would still remain on the Board of Directors of the Company.

Born and brought up in a middle class family in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, Sundar Pichai completed his education from IIT Kharagpur and Stanford University. Later, in 2004, Pichai joined Google marking the starting point of his successful career. Sundar Pichai gained success after creating and executing the Google Chrome project, which is now the world’s most used web browser.

In the letter, Larry Page and Sergey Brin addressed Sundar Pichai praising his efforts, abilities and contribution to Google. “Sundar brings humility and a deep passion for technology to our users, partners and our employees every day,” they added.

The cofounders also mentioned Pichai worked for the growth and development of Google and Alphabet for 15 years, through the formation of Alphabet, as CEO of Google, and a member of the Alphabet Board of Directors.. They are confident Pichai would lead Google and Alphabet with great passion.

Speaking about the blog and the role, Sundar Pichai tweeted

Twitter users congratulated Sundar Pichai for becoming the CEO of Alphabet Inc. Hours after the big announcement, the shares of Alphabet Inc., rose by 0.64 % to 1,303 dollars.

From a small company in 1998 working out of a dorm room and a garage to a multinational conglomerate, the journey of Google and Alphabet has been incredible. Watch the biography of Larry Page on our YouTube Channel

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