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covid irish innovation Insights from Ireland Insights

When the going gets tough, Irish tech gets going

Irish digital technology is taking up the fight against Covid-19

All over Ireland digital technology companies are taking up the fight against coronavirus. Innovation is rapidly emerging in response to the global pandemic.  A number of critical solutions are already in the fray, with many more set for rapid deployment.

Tech for tracking

We know from the World Health Organisation that tracking and tracing is an effective weapon in the fight against Covid-19.

In Ireland, Waterford based software development company NearForm is working with Ireland’s Health Service Executive, the country’s national health service, to develop a mobile tracing app for the disease.

The potentially life-saving app will facilitate the rapid notification of people who have been in contact with someone who is subsequently been found have tested positive for the virus.

Ireland’s HSE is just one of a number of major clients the company has worked with. Others include internationally known organisations such as the New York Times, US retailer Walmart, and ridesharing platform Uber.

NearForm was recently invited to participate in IBM’s Call For Code in Geneva, a worldwide developer initiative that seeks technology solutions for natural disaster preparedness, response and, crucially, recovery.

The new real-time symptom tracking and digital contact tracing app will curtail the spread of the virus and help eliminate the growth of clusters. As such it will be a vital part of Ireland’s national response to Covid-19.

Keeping a safe distance

Social distancing is a key protection against infection.

A new solution from Irish Internet of Things (IOT) specialist Taoglas is helping both public and private sector organisations to manage crowd sizes and social distancing, as part of the fight against Covid-19.

Called CROWD Insights, it supports the urgent public health need countries are experiencing globally to manage group sizes and, where people do come together, to keep them at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart.

Taoglas’ cloud-based analytics platform can measure, monitor, predict, alert and notify public gathering and social distancing breaches. It works in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

The company is currently working with one of Ireland’s leading hospitals and in time will offer the solution to municipalities, governments and enterprises, as well as healthcare systems.

The solution is quick and easy to deploy. It uses existing Wifi systems and collects anonymised data via smartphones. It can be up and running – remotely – in just one day.

“We believe this will be vital in the days and months to come, to allow people to move around safely without fear and to get the economy moving again,” says Ronan Quinlan, co-chief executive and founder of Taoglas.

“With a cost-effective tool to measure, monitor and manage people movement, we’re looking to help to expedite getting life – and businesses – back to normal.”

Taking the isolation out of self isolation

Keeping in touch can be a matter of life and death right now.

International mobile phone top-up provider Ding is helping people around the world to do just that, despite the challenges of Covid-19.

Since the international mobile phone top-up company was established in 2006, its users have sent more than 300 million top-ups globally. In fact, Ding delivers a top-up every second, via 600 mobile phone carriers across 140 countries.

Pre-paid mobile phones account for three quarters of the world’s five billion mobile phones but fully one quarter of them are estimated to be off-line and in need of top-up at any given time. Right now, a topped-up mobile phone is more important than ever.

In March Ding, which is headquartered in Dublin, launched a week long free fees initiative to help people keep in touch during a particularly critical phase in the disease’s progress.

Now Ding is focusing on its Access For Good charity programme, partnering with Medecins Sans Frontiere (Doctors Without Borders) so that every time someone uses the platform, Ding makes a donation to support doctors fighting against Covid-19.


Getting in a lather about hygiene

Hand hygiene is important to public health.

Irish healthcare technology company SureWash has been working to ensure people all around the globe are keeping their hands squeaky clean. Washing hands is known to be one of the most effective weapons we have at our fingertips. It helps to keep ourselves, and others, safe.

Research shows that correct hand hygiene can be over 90% effective in preventing the spread of harmful germs. But it only works if it is done properly.

SureWash is an augmented reality hand washing app which was developed in Ireland to provide proper hand hygiene training to healthcare workers, patients and visitors worldwide.

It was developed by health professionals, in conjunction with technologists, so the the app ensures compliance in hand hygiene to World Health Organisation protocol standards.

What makes it even more effective is that it delivers its life saving information in a fun way, using gamefication to improve engagement. It provides users with real-time feedback too, to help them improve their hand washing technique.

The software system behind it also provides infection control personnel with the data necessary to monitor hand hygiene progress and to guarantee positive results.

In response to the pandemic SureWash made its app to the general public in one clean sweep, so that everyone can play their part in stemming transmission of Covid-19.


Giving news organisations the whip hand

Finally NewsWhip, the Irish news analytics platform, has quickly become the ‘go to’ resource for media organisations around the world as they look to tackle Covid-19.

A pandemic is by its nature global, which presents its own challenges in terms of managing news. But Covid-19 is also the fastest paced rolling news story this generation of media has ever seen. Keeping on top of it is hard, which is why NewsWhip helps.

The corporate sector is also turning to the news analytics platform, to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of the virus on their brands. They rely on it to see what kind of responses – positive or negative – their Covid-19 communications are eliciting.

It’s why use of its real-time product has gone up by more than 25%.

As authorities around the world struggle cut through all the misinformation spreading online, it’s good for all our health to know that NewsWhip is also being used by anti-misinformation groups, to monitor fake news and debunk myths about Covid-19 as they emerge. No one should die of ignorance.


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