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Tech Companies Rising Up to Fight Against Coronavirus Pandemic

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Rajan Sarma

As of 29th March 2020, the total number of Coronavirus infection cases in the globe has crossed 720,000 and global deaths stood at over 33,000. As the global workforce has suddenly switched to remote working, many IT companies and IT Pros around the world have joined hands fighting the good fight to alleviate us all from the COVID-19 crisis. This includes developing products to creating apps that are tracking and predicting its spread to funding researchers and various other ways. Here is a briefing on some of the ways in which Tech companies and IT professionals are helping to fight against the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic.

Intel Allocates 6M USD Coronavirus Relief Fund
Global Tech behemoth Intel announced plans to provide USD 4 Million as Coronavirus relief efforts in places where Intel has a significant presence. On top of that Intel is also planning to add USD 2 Million as additional matching funds towards every regular and part-time employee in many states of the US that include Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, California and Oregon. Internationally the relief fund areas include Costa Rica, India, Israel, Mexico, and Vietnam.
The 4 Million donations are mainly focussed on improving community foundations, food security,

providing shelter and medical equipments and supporting small business entrepreneurs.

Facebook Offers Messenger App to Governments
Social networking giant Facebook on March 23rd proposed two initiatives to governments all over the world to help fight Coronavirus through its messenger chat service. Facebook is partnering with its developer community to provide free messenger chat services to government health organizations and UN health agencies so that they can scale up their efforts against COVID-19. UNICEF and Pakistan were among the first ones to avail the free messenger services to share information and advice regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kaggle Creates Machine-Learning Challenge
Kaggle is a community of data scientists and a platform that is known for organizing major tech competitions. Recently Kaggle announced a bounty-paying challenge named CORD-19 also known as the COVID-19 Open Research Challenge.
This has stimulated the AI and ML researchers to develop data mining tools to analyze thousands of articles on Virology and Infectious Diseases The ultimate goal is to provide lines of enquiry and insights about the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic.

AI Start-up Haptik at the Forefront in India
Recently the government of India has launched a chat box called MyGov Corona Helpdesk on WhatsApp to help answer the citizen of India some of the pressing concerns and queries regarding the Coronavirus. The MyGov chat box has been powered by Haptik – an AI- based start-up located in Mumbai that was incubated by the Reliance Industry as part of its Digital India initiatives. Haptik’s technology uses conventional AI to understand messages and provide all the answers without any human intervention.

Microsoft’s Coronavirus Tracker
As the Coronavirus spread like wildfire all over the world at the beginning of March, Microsoft’s Bing team launched a web portal to track its progress worldwide. It provides up-to-date statistical infection rates for each country. The Coronavirus Tracker aggregates data from sources like the World Health Organization (WHO), US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and also the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). More than 1700 Tech engineers are currently working on the site.

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