Innovation during the Covid-19 response

Wednesday May 6, 2020

Vodafone has launched an IoT thermal camera to fight COVID-19

3D printing enthusiasts have banded together to make PPE for healthcare and essential workers during lockdown. 

Waiting lines outside some supermarkets have been managed via text platforms, and apps to connect people who may be socially isolated and at-risk, were designed and released. Hackathons, webinars and unconferences have been held around the country to try to solve some of the existing and upcoming Covid-19 induced problems, and contactless transactions have become a health and commercial priority. 

Z fuel stations have successfully piloted their cloud-based number plate scanning/paying platform 'Fastlane' which was developed in collaboration with NZ based firm Rush Technology.    

Image by: Kylie Jackson

As reported by Radio NZ, NZ's America's Cup campaign work was able to resume during level 3, through the ingenuity of Dunedin-based firm Igtimi. When contacted by Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton, "the team at Igtimi were straight onto the job developing an ultra wideband positioning system of personal tags that accurately measure the distance between people. Worn by [each] team member, the tags are programmed to react by flashing, beeping and vibrating when a pre-programmed perimeter is intersected. The interactions between the two tags (or people) are then logged for contact tracing purposes." Congratulation to Kylie Robinson, Brent Russell and the Igtimi team. 

IoT and big data firm Igtimi helps the Emirates Team NZ America's Cup campaign progress during Lockdown with these proximity sensors.   — Image by: Kylie Jackson

Video conferencing has become the norm for everything from social catchups with friends and family, to telehealth consultations with doctors, medical and support staff, when 'in-person' visits were discouraged.  Platforms such as Bluejeans Network (NZ and US-based), Zoom, Hangouts and others have seen traffic explode, as the people around the globe take to their screens to stay connected.  Criteria such as security, sound and visual quality, ease of connection and number of participants viewable have never been critiqued in such detail before, and this has resulted in several products being upgraded in the last month.

NZ and US-based Video conferencing company BlueJeans network offers top quality services including meeting transcription and high definition Dolby Sound to companies such as LinkedIn and Facebook. — Image by: Kylie Jackson

NZ-based company Soul Machines has used it's world-leading Autonomous Animation Platform to release Bella, an AI powered human-like digital assistant that can answer your questions on Covid-19. You can have a chat to Bella HERE, and find out more about her HERE. Bella is the latest in the range of digital assistants designed by Soul Machines, and these products are changing the face of customer experience for many organisations globally.

The importance and value of on-line learning and student tracking platforms have jumped to the fore for parents, teachers and educational institutions, with companies such as Dunedin's Education Perfect,  Education Technology, and The Tarn Group reporting massive increases in users and traffic.  

Musicians and artists have performed in global fundraising concerts from their homes, and a band in Lithuania held an outdoor 'drive-in' concert for music starved fans.   

DriveIn Concerts held in Lithuania allow the concert to be broadcast to the car's radio - dancing however could be problematic.  — Image by: Kylie Jackson

It is safe to say that humans are a creative and innovative species.  There is a widespread hope that as the world emerges from Lockdown that we will turn out attention more to technologies to empower all people and support the planet, as we have the chance now to reset our priorities to make long-term change for good. 

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