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.
HPE Aruba provides network help to floating hospital in Italy
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, has installed network infrastructure on the GNV Splendid, a passenger ferry that has been turned into a floating hospital to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moored in Genoa, Italy, the ship now provides added hospital space and medical treatment for COVID-19 patients. The network includes 70 access points and more 4 kilometers of cable, providing Wi-Fi coverage for healthcare workers and patients on board.
In addition to support for data transfers to and from Genoa hospital, the network is designed to improve the day-to-day experience for patients, giving them full internet connectivity. It also allows ambulance crews to provide real-time updates on the status of patients as they arrive.
The ship has been converted to support 25 patients, with cabins converted into isolation chambers, and is equipped with oxygenators to treat coronavirus patients who need low-intensity care and for recovery. If needed, the ship can increase its capacity to house about 400 patients.
Aruba is also donating $50 million in secure network connectivity kits for the provisioning of pop-up clinics, testing sites and temporary hospital facilities in the US, Canada and several countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
Cortado offers up free 50GB ‘data rooms’
Berlin-based Cortado, which provides enterprise mobility and file sharing solutions for businesses, is offering free virtual data rooms for home offices and/or team collaboration efforts. The company’s Teamplace software is for those “who prefer to work in their home office [and] need a virtual room in which they can work and share documents with others in the simplest possible way.
“With Teamplace, such virtual workspaces can be created very easily, without VPNs and shared with colleagues, partners or customers,” the company said in a statement. “Cortado’s cloud storage solution, which is dedicated to teamwork, offers Office 365 integration for editing documents, a comment function, file versioning, and an activity overview. The data is encrypted during transmission and securely stored on servers located in Germany.”
Users interested in the data rooms start with 5GB of space, but the company said it would provide 50GB if needed. Users must send an e-mail to [email protected] and explain the data room’s purpose to qualify.
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.
Spell looks to boost ML efforts in COVID-19 fight
New York-based Spell, which provides a platform for machine-learning and data analytics, is providing a number of resources – and free GPU compute access – to people and institutions fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
“Are you a machine learning engineer or data scientist eager to contribute your technical expertise to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic? We’re here to help,” the company said on its website. “In record time, the machine learning community has rallied together, organizing a large number of projects and crowdsourced efforts that enable practitioners to effectively contribute time and energy to this cause.”
The resources Spell highlighted include:
- CORD-19, a body of work that contains full texts and paper abstracts from 44,000 journal articles covering COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and the coronavirus family of viruses. It’s available for download or as a Kaggle dataset.
- LitCovid, a literature hub that provides a reference list of 1,500 COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 -specific papers curated by subject matter experts. Many of these articles are open access, and users can download paper metadata as a CSV file.
- The 2019-nCoV dashboard, which was created by Johns Hopkins, tracks the regional and international spread of COVID-19. The dashboard is regularly updated and continues to be among the most accurate trackers on the web, according to Spell.
- Collaboration spaces for data scientists. These include Data Against COVID, a Discourse channel for data scientists looking to collaborate on COVID-19 -related data science projects; and Help With COVID, a Y Combinator created volunteer-to-project matching website for COVID-19 -related software projects.
Amplify.ai, Messenger team up on AI messaging
Amplify.ai, which develops AI-driven, conversational virtual assistants, is offering up its virtual assistant for free to government health organizations fighting the pandemic. The company partnered with Facebook to allow the organizations to share information with concerned citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak. The company also deployed a COVID-19 virtual assistant for the Indian Government through MyGov, the world’s largest government-to-citizen digital infrastructure, with more than 500 million users.
“Given the rapid rate of change around the pandemic, Amplify.ai’s Messenger experience can automate responses to commonly asked questions and push information to a large population in a timely manner,” the company said in a statement. “The main focus of Amplify.ai’s solution…is that it is interactively delivering the latest news, expert information and official updates, while providing one-on-one engagements and solutions within 24 hours. The platform uses personalization, custom variables, and conversational data gathering analytics to provide citizens with COVID-19 information regarding test sites, symptoms, results turn-around time, and more.”
“In pressing times like these, our team is equipped and dedicated to working in tandem with the team at Facebook … to help government health organizations and UN agencies combat COVID-19,” said Amplify.ai CEO and co-founder Mahi de Silva. “Our AI-powered, interactive platform delivers valuable insights not only to local organizations about community specific questions and issues but helps inform millions of citizens around the world with a fast turnaround.”
CenturyLink donates high-speed internet to temp hospitals
As the number of temporary hospitals grows in the U.S. to help patients affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, CenturyLink said it’s donating mich-needed fast internet connections to the facilities.
“Grappling with the sudden need for more hospital beds and overflow capacity, local municipalities are transforming various facilities into temporary field hospitals,” the company said in a statement. The list of facilities the company is provisioning now includes:
- The U.S. Naval Ship Mercy, now operating at the port of Los Angeles. CenturyLink set up high-speed connectivity for the Mercy and a 1-gigabit Ethernet circuit connecting the Defense Information Systems Agency’s shored-based Naval Air Station North Island to the ship.
- The CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle, which got a 200 Mbps fiber connection.
- The Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center in Salem, Ore., which got a 1-gigabit Ethernet connection.
- Seattle, which got high-speed fiber internet connections at eight quarantine locations.
“This is the beginning of our essential work to assist healthcare workers on the front lines, as we respond where we are needed the most,” said Ed Morche, CenturyLink’s president of government and enterprise markets. “As these needs arise across the country, CenturyLink is coordinating with local government, hospitals, and the military to locate field hospitals on our network so we can provide immediate connectivity.”
Domo updates COVID-19 Global Tracker
Looking to bolster the data about the pandemic it’s already providing, analytics firm Domo has updated its free, interactive Coronavirus (COVID-19) Global Tracker with county-level infection statistics, stay-at-home orders and testing-by-state data.
“We’ve seen incredible interest in this free resource as organizations of all kinds seek to quickly understand how the virus is impacting the world in which they operate,” said Domo CEO and founder Josh James. “Easy access to consumable data can help inform critical decisions and actions that help navigate through this crisis. We’re seeing hundreds of customers — healthcare organizations, grocers, national retailers, logistics firms and many others — combine the underlying data sets with their own operational data to help them respond more quickly to the changing environment.”
Updated every 10 minutes, the tracker aggregates and cross-checks data from sources including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), Johns Hopkins University, Worldometer and Enigma.
WPI turns to 3D printing to create ventilators
Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Mass. are developing designs that could be used with 3D printers to create ventilators from readily available manual, handheld, bag valve mask (BVM) resuscitators.
“The WPI researchers are going to make designs of multiple devices and their components publicly available so anyone with a 3D printer and a background in electronics and mechanical engineering could use them to produce ventilators for their local hospitals,” according to WPI’s Sharon Gaudin. “A manufacturing company also could use the designs to produce ventilators quickly and at scale.”
“We’re taking things that are used every day in emergency medicine and finding a way to turn them into safe, reliable, and readily replicable ventilators that can save patients’ lives. And we’re sharing those designs with the world,” said Gregory Fischer, professor of robotics engineering and mechanical engineering and director of the PracticePoint Medical Cyber-Physcial Systems R&D Center.
The ventilators built from the WPI designs are meant to be used for more stable patients so commercial ventilators with more advanced sensing and control can be saved for critical patients hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Google Cloud offers COVID-19 Public Datasets
Google on Tuesday unveiled a COVID-19 Public Datasets program designed “to make data more accessible to researchers, data scientists and analysts,” the company said. “The program will host a repository of public datasets that relate to the COVID-19 crisis and make them free to access and analyze. These include the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (JHU CSSE) dataset, Global Health Data from the World Bank, and OpenStreetMap data.
“As with all data in the Google Cloud Public Datasets Program, Google pays for storage of datasets in the program. BigQuery also provides free queries over certain COVID-related datasets to support the response to COVID-19. Queries on COVID datasets will not count against the BigQuery sandbox free tier, where you can query up to 1TB free each month.”
In terms of limits and duration, the company pledged that the datasets will remain free until Sept. 15, and said queries of COVID data are free. But if “you join COVID datasets with non-COVID datasets, the bytes processed in the non-COVID datasets will be counted against the free tier, then charged accordingly to prevent abuse.
The datasets will be updated daily.
DigitalOcean offers developer cloud assets
For nonprofit groups working against the COVID-19 pandemic, DigitalOcean is offering $100,000 in infrastructure credits for new projects and up to $50,000 in cash donations to the company’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. (The company gives $100 for each proposed project that meets DigitalOcean requirements.)
The kinds of efforts it’s backing include: