(Financial News) Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter, among others, are providing resources for the hackathon to create technical products that solve problems associated with coronavirus. The online hacking provider Devpost is the organizer of this initiative.
Developers can create any technology of their choice, but the World Health Organization has provided some examples of areas where help is needed most.
WHO is calling for technologies that can help support healthcare providers or scale up tele-medicine, help vulnerable populations such as older people stay safe, work in distance learning environments that teachers and schools can use, and foster social networking as people remain socially excluded.
As COVID-19 spreads all over the world, the fear of infection forces a large number of people to seek online medical advice. The services of virtual doctors are growing the business of the French-German company Doctolib, the French Qare, LIVI (the British division of the Swedish company KRY), the British Push Doctor and the German Compugroup Medical SE.
The business of consulting with doctors via the Internet in Europe has grown slowly due to the conservatism of patients, an unfriendly regulatory environment, inequalities in health systems and insurance rules. Now that hospitals are struggling to cope with the virus, patients are turning to these services, and governments are putting aside reservations about the risks of “couch counseling” to ease regulation.
According to the European Commission the global tele-medicine market will reach 37 billion euros ($42 billion) by 2021, and annual growth will be 14%. Currently, these figures can be revised upwards, as the current situation is increasing demand, making such consultations more routine and generally accepted.
Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Giphy, TikTok, Pinterest, Slack, and WeChat will provide resources to support developers who want to take part in the hackathon. In addition to WHO, scientists from Facebook Chan Zuckerberg Biohub – also collaborate with Devpost on this project.
Rarely, large technology firms that often compete with each other work together on a common project, although sometimes they collaborate to encourage the introduction of new technology standards in the industry.
Earlier, the largest American Internet companies and social networks announced that they will help each other in the fight against disinformation about coronavirus infection. Among the participants – Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and its member LinkedIn, Google and YouTube, as well as Reddit.
“We help millions to stay in touch, and now jointly counteract fraud and the dissemination of false information about the virus, post reliable content on our networks, and provide important new information from governments around the world”
In addition to providing resources for the global hackathon, many of these companies also use their own products and platforms to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
For example, Facebook provides free services to government health organizations and UN agencies wishing to use the messenger as a tool to disseminate accurate and useful information about the virus. According to Facebook, this tool is used by the Argentinean Ministry of Health.
As for the hackathon, Facebook provides educational content on Facebook Live for developers who want to take part in it.