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Smartphones that track virus spread: This could really make a difference

It has been reported that there are smartphone apps that track the possible transmission of the Coronavirus disease.

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Smartphones that track virus spread: This could really make a difference

It has been reported that there are smartphone apps that track the possible transmission of the Coronavirus disease. Across the globe, governments, industry and researchers are pulling resources to make this a reality.

China launched a Health Code app that assigns a green, orange or red QR code to users based on their health status. The code is combined with other factors that tell users if they have come in contact with someone who might have the virus and dictate whether users should be out in public or quarantine which requires the patient to regularly check in with health authorities via DinTalk, a workplace chat app by Alibaba. The database is closely monitored by authorities.

Other apps have been developed as well. Some of them are the Private Kit: Safe Paths at MIT Media Lab and Havard, and another QR-based tracking app was developed by WeChat, the list goes on.

This idea of collecting smartphone data to track where people have gone and who they’ve crossed paths with is potentially controversial. These developers, alongside the government, are using data of people’s daily existence to help combat the epidemic. This has probably helped contain the spread so far. In China, the health code app had a million downloads within the first 17 days of its launch, so something must have been done right.

[READ MORE: The greatest tech solutions spring from most regular problems)

The importance of innovations like this cannot be overemphasized. This whole pandemic came out of nowhere and the world is in a state of urgency. So we need answers and most people will try to get that from anywhere but while at it, we must all have this in mind as we make deliberate efforts at creating innovative tools to curb the spread of the virus.

Smartphones that track virus spread: This could really make a difference

Below are a few suggestions these innovators may want to consider in their approaches:

  • Focus on apps or technology that can accurately identify symptoms or outrightly detect the virus in someone who suspects they have been exposed.
  • Create apps or technology that can help with the delivery of medical and other supplies without putting individuals at risk of contact that usually comes with physical delivery.
  • Technology that live tracks confirmed cases in every location instead, that way anyone who potentially may have been in contact with an infected will know to take precautions immediately.

Kudos to all the professionals around the world doing all they can to manage this epidemic, being innovative, especially at a time like, is not an easy task but together we will come through stronger and better.

Nairametrics frequently publishes articles from experts such as financial analysts, economists, researchers and investors. We also feature articles from guest writers and bloggers who wish to push their views and opinions through our platform. To get your articles on Nairametrics, kindly send an email to info@nairametrics.com and we will publish it within 24 hours of approval by our editorial team.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. dan

    April 17, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    smartphones being able to track viruses would really be a great innovation, i just imagining using my camon 12 air to detect microorganisms around.

  2. chris

    April 21, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    of a truth that would be some fantastic initiative. my TECNO phone would have a better use for it then

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Tech

Tech Roundup S02E20

Discussion with an entrepreneur who has been using Tech to drive distribution of African Music. Demola Ogundele is the Founder of Notjustok.com

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Tech Weekly RoundUp, coronavirus, Week 8, wole

This week, we had a discussion with an entrepreneur, who has been using Tech to drive distribution of African Music.

Demola Ogundele is the Founder of Notjustok.com, a platform he started as a music blog over a decade ago. He has grown the company to be the leading African music repository and has had to change the business model to compete in this Tech age where big Tech firms like Amazon, Google and Apple actively distribute music including African and Nigerian songs.

Watch other episodes of Tech Roundup

During the discussion, we discussed the progress the company has made since inception and how he views the music industry post-covid. This episode is different and we hope you enjoy it.

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Tech

Facebook takes on Zoom with its new video chat feature

Video-calling services have seen a sharp rise during the coronavirus pandemic with options like Zoom and its daily active users growing to 300 million.

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Facebook widens anti-fake news project to 10 more African countries, Facebook just changed its logo, here’s why , Facebook launches new payment platform, Facebook Pay, Startups in Facebook Accelerator Programme raise $500,000 , Facebook to pay $550 million to settle privacy violations lawsuit , Facebook builds a gaming app, Facebook is building high speed internet connectivity to Nigeria, Facebook Takes on Zoom with its New Video Chat Feature

Virtual Meetings have exploded in recent months with the Coronavirus outbreak forcing people to start working and socializing from home. Video-calling services have seen a sharp rise during the coronavirus pandemic with options like Zoom and its daily active users growing to 300 million in April.

Another popular option, the Houseparty, owned by Fortnite-maker Epic Games has been downloaded more than two million times as at the beginning of March and other apps, such as Microsoft Teams, offer premium features for free.

With the current trend and the need to meet the demands of teleconferencing, Facebook is jumping into video chat game with its product feature, Messenger Rooms, a new feature that will allow up to 50 people to take part in a video chat, even if they don’t have Facebook accounts.

Facebook has had a long and notorious history of expanding its features to emulate major competitors, from first launching stories on Instagram in 2016 as a clone of Snapchat. Now Facebook wants more of the video market and is trying to take on the now popular video sharing platform, Zoom (ZM).

(READ MORE: Google, Facebook extend remote working for employees)

Previously, the messenger video calls were limited to eight people but with this new video feature ‘Messenger Rooms,’ users can currently host a meeting with up 50 people at once with no time limit on its messenger app, it will also be added to the company’s other applications- WhatsApp will see that the maximum number of people who can simultaneously join a video call will increase from four to eight.

Zoom founder reacts to criticism over app security as surge meets company unprepared, Facebook Takes on Zoom with its New Video Chat Feature

This new feature will be available on beta versions of WhatsApp for both Android and iOS. For making a video call with up to eight people, your WhatsApp must be running version 2.20.133 on Android and version 2.20.50.25 on iOS. The other condition is, the other participants that you’re looking to video and voice call, must also have the same beta version of WhatsApp running on their devices.

What’s the Catch?

Although these Messenger Rooms won’t be completely private, WhatsApp video and voice calls with up to eight people, will be end-to-end encrypted so no one else can view or listen in on private conversations, not even Facebook. Basically, end-to-end encryption is one of the main Unique Selling Points (USP) of the new video feature. Facebook is working to bring the security protocol to Messenger and Instagram Direct, so users will potentially be able to cross-platform chat across all these services one day, it’s easier said than done.

Like house party, the messenger rooms will let people drop in and out of the group video chats while the “room” is open just the way people have the ability to bump into each other in the physical world. Another catch of the new video feature is that users can create a Messenger Room that will be able to keep their room private, block unwanted participants, and send invitations to people who are not on Facebook.

Facebook is working to prevent the reoccurring issues its competitor’s faced like the “Zoombombing problem,” which let uninvited guests drop into video calls to abuse participants or share pornography.  The company is working with cryptographers to make the links for the Messenger Rooms difficult for hackers to guess. Although, publicly discoverable rooms will be listed at the top of the Facebook news feed and chats will not be end-to-end encrypted. Possibly, this would be one of the reasons why Facebook may successfully take on Zoom with its security and end-to-end encrypted tactics.

Other features of the new video feature include:

  • The ability to add eight people to a WhatsApp video call – up from four.
  • The return of “Live With”, which lets users host Facebook Live streams with another person, to bring guests or performers on to their show.
  • The ability to watch Instagram live videos on desktop computers.
  • Participants will be able to use augmented reality filters and change their background in real-time.

 

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Tech

Tech Roundup S02E19

The Nigeria tech space has seen major validation from global investors over the last few years, and reports

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Tech Weekly RoundUp, coronavirus, Week 8, wole

We conclude our Fintech Roundtable series, this time with a discussion on Fintech related investments.

The Nigeria tech space has seen major validation from global investors over the last few years, and reports show that over $400 million went into Fintech startups in 2019, and amid Covid-19, Nigeria based Fintechs have announced new rounds of investment this year but will this trend continue.

READ ALSO: PWC report details how COVID-19 will impact Nigerian FinTechs

To help us unpack this, this panel discussion was led by Deji Sasegbon, Director of Platforms at EchoVC and a returning guest on
the show.

We covered several topics but focused on what investors might be doing differently going forward and how Investments in Fintech ideas and businesses across Africa might be impacted going forward.

Hope you find the episode interesting.

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