Tech pitches in to fight COVID-19 pandemic
A growing number of tech companies and IT pros are working in a variety of ways to help fight the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Here's a rundown of what some of them are doing to help fight COVID-19.
As IT pros around the world go all-out to support a workforce that's suddenly fully remote, many technology workers and companies
are also joining efforts to alleviate the COVID-19 crisis in various ways, including developing products to combat the virus, tracking and
predicting its spread, and protecting hospitals from cyberattacks.
Verison Media touts Vespa for COVID-19 data queries
Developers with past experience using big data at Yahoo (now Verizon Media) have responded to the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset
Challenge (CORD-19) challenge from Kaggle and created another instance of the data set for queries.
"We thought the best way to help was to index the dataset, which includes over 44,000 scholarly articles, and to make it available for searching
via Vespa Cloud," the company said in a statement. "Now live at https://cord19.vespa.ai, you can get started with a few of the sample queries or
for more advanced queries, visit CORD-19 API Query."
The index is designed to allow medical professionals and researches to have quick access to information about the coronavirus. Details about how
to contribute to the effort are avalable on github.
BIMobject opens up platform to host product files
Building Information Modeling firm BIMobject is making its platform freely available for uploads of files used to create medical equipment, a move it
says could help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The coronavirus outbreak has put enormous pressure on medical professionals and frontline workers globally," Carl Silbersky, CEO of BIMobject, said
in a statement. "Medical supplies and equipment, such as face shields and ventilators, are in very short supply. Beyond equipment, field hospitals are being
set up around the world to treat COVID-19 patients. With no time for lengthy planning arrangements and contracts, designing these temporary hospitals
requires dexterity and agility.
"...Like many organizations globally, we at BIMobject want to help as best we can," Silbersky said. "To do so, we’ve opened up our platform to host any
information on products that can help combat the outbreak. At our COVID-19 page we are collecting everything from 3D printing files for medical equipment –
including masks and ventilator parts – to designs for emergency hospitals, shelters and supporting structures.
Synology offers VPN Plus licenses for free
Taiwan-based Synology said Monday it will offer VPN Plus licenses for its Synology routers for free until Sept. 30.
"We have seen many businesses rushing to adopt VPN solutions in order to set up an infrastructure to enable a remote workforce," said Hewitt Lee, Director of
Synology Product Management Group. "Over the past two months, we have seen a five-fold increase in VPN Plus license purchases. As the situation continues
to develop in unprecedented ways, we understand that many are uncertain of how to maintain business continuity. Synology is offering VPN Plus licenses for
free in an effort to help businesses resume operations remotely."
Current and new owners of Synology's RT1900ac, RT2600ac, and MR2200ac wireless routers can purchase VPN Plus Client VPN Access and Site-to-Site VPN
licenses for free," the company said. The licenses are perpetual and do not expire or require additional costs after Sept. 30..
Apple says it's sourced 20M masks for medical workers
Apple CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter on Monday to announce it has sourced 20 million masks for medical workers through the company's supply chain. In a
two-minute video, Cook also said Apple is now working to "design, produce and ship" face shields for those on the front lines fighting the pandemic.
"Our first shipment was delivered to Kaiser Hospital facilities in the Santa Clara valley this past week," he said, showing one of the shields. The company plans
to ship 1 million of the shields by the end of this week, and 1 million per week after that. Apple hopes to eventually make shipments outside the U.S. as well.
Postman develops COVID-19 testing site with crowdsourced info
Postman, a San Francisco-based platform for API development, has crafted a website that relies on crowdsourced information to locate coronavirus testing sites in the U.S.
"This effort to crowdsource and centralize the availability of COVID-19 testing locations across all 50 U.S. states uses two freely available online tools, while using
APIs to make sure the location data can be syndicated and distributed as widely as possible," Postman said in a statement. "This resource can also maintain the
accuracy and freshness of the API’s source data by centrally managing it via Google Sheets. Contributors can email the Postman team when they find new or
updated testing sites, and API developers can contribute their expertise via the GitHub page."
The effort follows the company's recently launched Postman COVID-19 API Resource Center, a list of APIs for health care workers, researchers, and government
experts who need quick access to real-time critical data.
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