How these 5 startups are supporting the government in fighting the coronavirus pandemic
The coronavirus outbreak has affected more than 2.1 million people worldwide with over 147,000 people succumbing to it. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought economic activities across sectors to a halt, and according to the International Monetary Fund, it will be the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
The Indian government, to that effect, announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown, which was later extended to May 3, to help curb the spread of the deadly virus in the country. As of Friday, India has reported 13,495 positive cases and 448 deaths, according to Worldometer, a real-time population tracker.
As they say, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention,’ at a time like this, both government and private entities including corporates, as well as the Indian startup ecosystem, have come together to help the country fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
And these five startups, with their technology-based innovations, are assisting the government in tackling the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Aiisma, a consumer to business data marketplace which rewards users for consensually and anonymously trading their data via the Aiisma app, has launched a data tracking feature for coronavirus called AiiHealth.
The startup’s location sharing and health mapping features can be used for effective contact tracing, which has been the strongest aid in fighting COVID-19 so far. The insights gathered by the Aiisma ecosystem naturally creates a digital fence against the COVID-19 spread, supporting citizens and authorities in the fight against the virus.
Founded in 2018 by Ankit Chaudhari (India) and Nicholas Boehnlein (Switzerland), the startup has its corporate headquarters in the US, operations headquarters in India, and presence countries like the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, and Africa.
Speaking about the product, Nicholas Boehnlein, Co-Founder and COO of Aiisma, says,
“Aiisma’s data marketplace ecosystem works in two ways. The geolocation sharing feature helps create a contact trace on the users’ device, which can track checks with a central server every five minutes, where an authority provided positive carrier coordinates history is uploaded regularly. In the event of contact with a positive carrier, the user is alerted for self-isolation, and authorities are alerted for a probable contact for further action.”
Bengaluru-based self-drive mobility startup Zoomcar has stepped up to ease the emergency transportation woes faced during the lockdown period.
While Zoomcar grounded its fleet following the government’s 21-day lockdown order, the startup is utilising select vehicles to ensure emergency mobility for the frontline workforce, including bankers, healthcare professionals, and delivery executives.
The service made available by the startup ensures the partnering organisations are able to lower the barriers for essential personnel to come in and serve the critical daily and emergency needs of the citizens.
Government officials in Mysore are also opting for Zoomcar for their everyday commuting requirements.
Commenting on the latest development, Greg Moran, CEO and Co-founder Zoomcar, says,
“At Zoomcar, we are ensuring safer transportation options through personalised and completely sanitised self-drive vehicles. From the government officials to the healthcare staff, we’ve seen the demand come in from multiple emergency functions. To help the nation weather this unprecedented storm, we shall continue to focus on delivering safe, reliable, and affordable self-drive mobility solutions.”
Earlier this year, as coronavirus spread like a wildfire across the globe, the Indian government along with Haptik started a WhatsApp chatbot to help address queries around the outbreak.
The chatbot ‘MyGov Corona Helpdesk’ has been developed and implemented by the AI platform, and the data shared is verified from the Ministry of Health.
Aakrit Vaish, CEO and Co-founder, Haptik says,
“We understand the severity of the situation, and the idea for the coronavirus chatbot germinated as a medium to tackle misinformation. The Haptik-powered ‘MyGov Corona Helpdesk’ has been engineered to fight rumours, educate the masses, and bring a sense of calm to the current chaos-like situation. We are committed to assisting the government with all our possible strengths and resources, and hope that this chatbot can help the goal spread the right information across the nation.”
According to Haptik, more than 55 million messages have been sent by over 20 million users since the chatbot was launched on March 20.
Bengaluru-based startup Trell is a community-based platform that enables lifestyle discovery through user-generated original content in regional Indian languages. Trell caters to the entertainment needs of the Bharat.
The startup’s USP lies in offering specially curated content by the doctors who are educating Trell users about coronavirus. The app’s user-base is predominantly from Tier-II and III cities.
Launched in August 2017 by IIT-Bombay alumni Arun Lodhi, Prashant Sachan, Pulkit Agrawal, and NITIE alumnus Bimal Kartheek Rebba, the platform claims to have created an ecosystem of regional influencers or KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) who are sharing localised and relevant content in five languages which include Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, English, and Hindi.
Speaking on the new initiative, Pulkit Agarwal says,
“As a platform that caters to the larger masses, we have been pledging doctors to become KOL’s, vlog, and share quick bites of verified information in regional languages that can help the nation stay safe. We have been taking strict measures to ensure all the information is tagged correctly and fact-checked before it reaches the users.”
Gurgaon-based startup Staqu has launched a thermal camera under its video analytics platform JARVIS, which alerts the system for anyone with a body temperature above 37 degrees Celsius, and examines heat signatures directly through the cameras, enabling authorities to identify and further inspect suspected virus carriers.
The startup’s camera has a range of up to 100 metres and can identify multiple people at the same time. The technology is functional and effective in scanning crowded places like airports, railway stations, malls, among others.
Founded in 2015 by Atul Rai, Chetan Rexwal, Anurag Saini, and Pankaj Sharma, the startup decouples big data into constituent elements like text, speech, and images.
Atul says the camera has been designed in a way to eliminate temperature differences due to clothing or in case anyone is holding a hot cup of beverage, etc.
The startup is currently looking to expand its technology to help doctors monitor patients simultaneously. The initiative will help the lower number of doctors as compared to patients, as frontline workers falling sick while treating patients is one of the biggest problems India is facing in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Edited by Suman Singh