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#StartupsVsCovid19: Ola Works With States For Passes, Google Promotes Remote Learning On Day 23 Of Lockdown

#StartupsVsCovid19: Ola Works With States For Passes, Google Promotes Remote Learning On Day 23 Of Lockdown

Maharashtra enables delivery on non-essential products through ecommerce portals

MHA warns users against security threat of Zoom video conferencing

Ola Connect will help state governments and authorities manage operations

With India registering 12,759 positive cases on the 23rd day of the lockdown, several governments have issued advisories to make masks mandatory for everyone stepping out. The #ApnaDeshApnaMask campaign, which is supported by over 1000 stakeholders from the Indian startup community, has come forward to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi for laying emphasis on masks.

Meanwhile, Telangana government-backed Technology Hub (T-Hub) incubator has identified nine startups that have come up with innovative tech solutions to tackle Covid-19.

  • BlueSemi: The company has developed a smart contactless and wireless thermal sensor and imager that measures the temperature data of individuals.
  • Byteforce: It has developed an AI-based computer vision solution called Safevision that can be integrated into any existing CCTV or drone cameras.
  • Blocksapp.ai: The company has developed an AI-based drone monitoring solution to combat COVID-19.
  • cogni.Care: It has built the first portable IR thermal sensor with AI algorithms to predict COVID-19 in real-time.
  • Dimension NXG: The company is developing large-scale thermal scanning glasses to help the government, universities and private organisations to reduce the further spread of Covid-19 and manage community infection.
  • Exprs: The startup provides selected, dedicated on-campus delivery executives for gated communities.
  • Master PCB:  The startup has developed a disinfectant sprayer with motion detection auto-spray capabilities.
  • Marut Drones: The company has developed an end-to-end drone solution from disinfections to real-time surveillance. 
  • Tericsoft: It has launched an AI-based computer vision product with the following modules to combat Covid-19 on a CCTV.

Robots In Hospitals And E-Passes For Farmers

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), India’s premier medical institution, has adopted tech solutions in an attempt to minimise the potential exposure to the coronavirus for its healthcare providers. First, the hospital is looking to offer telemedicine services to patients. Secondly, AIIMS will also be deploying robots to handle Covid-19 patients at its medical facility in Jhajjar. The service will also be adopted by its main hospital in Delhi.

Meanwhile, two hospitals in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district have also deployed robots to serve food and medicines to patients tested positive for Covid-19. The robot has been developed by Jharkhand’s District Deputy Development Commissioner (DDC) Aditya Ranjan.

While robots have taken over the healthcare sector, there have been technology interventions in other sectors and services as well. On April 16, the Punjab government announced its collaboration with Ola to develop a centralised automated, logic-based tech platform to issue e-passes to 17 Lakh farmers in the state.

Meanwhile, Ola has a separate announcement for itself as well. The cab-hailing service’s CEO and cofounder Bhavish Aggarwal, took to Twitter, to announce Ola Connect that will help the state governments and public service organisations to manage their operations. Ola Connect will also help the Punjab government to help in online management of trolleys and vehicles.

Google, on the other hand, sharpened its focus on remote education. The global tech giant is now offering free access to the premium features of Google Meet to extend enterprise-grade video-conferencing capabilities to its education customers until September 2020. This premium version can host up to 250 participants in a single video conference. Google’s YouTube has also launched its learning destination for curriculum courses and skill development.

However, Zoom, the video conferencing app, which is offering services for free amid the work-from-home trend, is in little trouble with the Indian government. The Cyber Coordination Centre, a body under the MHA, has raised security concerns regarding the platform and advised users to reset their passwords. This comes at a time when data of over 500K Zoom accounts is reportedly being sold for less than INR 1 per account on the web.

Ecommerce Keeps Rolling On Despite Hurdles

With the extension of the 21-day lockdown, there has been chaos around the delivery preferences in the ecommerce segment thanks to supply chain barriers and more. Many states have now clarified the policy around full-fledged ecommerce operations. The Maharashtra government allowed ecommerce companies to resume delivery for goods, foods, pharmaceutical products, electronics and electrical appliances in the state.

The Karnataka government is also looking to resume all ecommerce activities in the state from April 20. Meanwhile, Amazon is still seeking clarity whether ecommerce companies are allowed to restart delivery of non-essential goods as per MHA’s new orders.

However, amidst this chaos, the government officials have reportedly announced that ecommerce companies will be allowed to sell mobile phones, televisions, refrigerators, laptops and stationary from April 20, according to PTI.

Without wasting time, tech-enabled logistics aggregator for D2C sellers Shiprocket has made its entry into hyperlocal deliveries for essential goods. With this, the platform is looking to strengthen the logistics network of exciting ecommerce, food, groceries and online pharmaceutical companies. The company has partnered with B2B logistics plater Shadowfax to offer its services in 14 cities.

Further, DocsApp has developed a Coronavirus Risk Assessment Tool to help individuals assess the level of possibility of them being infected. It relies on a set of questions and generates a risk score based on the symptoms, similar to other such apps.

Google, ACT Allocate Special Funds

To tackle the Covid-19 impact, some of the most prominent venture capital funds, startups founders and advisors launched the Action Covid-19 Team (ACT) to boost the development of innovative ideas in this regard. Besides healthcare and medical devices, the group is also focussing on mental health startups. ACT has placed bids on three mental health organisations Mind Piper, Aatma Prakash, and I Am to provide them with funding.

Meanwhile, Google is looking to support local journalists and small, medium and local news publishers through its Journalism Emergency Relief Fund. Google.org has also collectively donated $1 Mn to International Center for Journalism and Columbia Journalism School’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.