COVID-19, a typical black swan event, took the world by a complete surprise.
It is an unanticipated disaster that has exposed human fragility in an interconnected world. As it continues to impact the global community, companies are focused on supporting their employees, customers and families through a time of great uncertainty.
We have been closely monitoring the evolving situation, and we are following guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Consistent with our ISO 27001-compliant Contingency Plan, we have expanded our Business Continuity Plan to consider preparation and response to potential impact on employees, customers, and business processes. We have augmented our operations and will continue to make necessary adjustments to ensure the health and safety of our people and business continuity for our customers.
You can be assured that the WolkAbout team is committed to supporting all of you, our partners and customers while maintaining the high-quality customer service and support you have come to expect from us. Our SLAs remain unchanged, and our technical support and commercial teams remain available over email, chat, video conferences and phone.
One fact is beyond doubt: now, more than ever, digital technologies have a chance to play for millions around the world. While the entire humanity is rethinking their daily lives from work to school to entertainment, doctors, scientists and other experts are embracing the use of digital technologies to prevent the spread of the virus. IoT data will serve many purposes in the coming days, weeks and months.
For all of us at WolkAbout, leveraging the digital power to help the world run better and improve people’s lives has never been more important.
How Can We Contribute?
At times like these, we realise that thousands of people around the globe are suffering unimaginable hardship. There is no instruction manual for how to feel at a time like this, and we know this causes stress for everyone.
But, we are also fascinated to see so many people banding together to tackle this crisis and limit its impact on people and business.
We are especially proud to be part of the global tech community and heartened by the many ways in which peers throughout the industry are stepping in and stepping up. It’s inspiring to see technology being leveraged in so many ways to help curb the pandemic.
Our thinking is focused on COVID-19 and how WolkAbout can best play its role.
With all of this in mind, we decided to offer the WolkAbout IoT Platform instance free of charge to healthcare providers, EMS, law enforcement, educational institutions, NPOs, as well as any organisation wanting to tackle the coronavirus outbreak by building digital solutions.
From leveraging geofencing to connecting wearable sensors, there are many ways our technology can help fight the war with this dangerous strain.
1. Ensuring Compliance to Quarantine
In the wake of COVID-19, governments across the globe have issued different measures to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak, from police curfews to quarantine orders on people entering the city from all overseas countries. As a compliance measure, people under quarantine have been required to regularly report their current locations via instant messaging applications or answer surprise video calls from communication centres. This approach incurs high monitoring cost to the government and brings much inconvenience to those in quarantine.
Our geofencing feature is the combination of localisation and IoT technology. It allows users to set up or draw multiple places of interest for each individual or group separately and receive notifications whenever they enter or leave these geofence zones. In other words, it lets authorities make use of virtual boundaries.
In this way, the geofencing feature can be used to monitor people under compulsory home quarantine. Importantly, it doesn’t track one’s exact location, so it poses no privacy concerns. It merely looks at signals to deduce whether someone is inside or outside of the home. For example, paired with an electronic Bluetooth wristband worn on the quarantined person, the mobile application can accurately detect whether the infected person is complying with the quarantine order, and alert the relevant authorities if not. In this way, authorities receive an alert any time a home confinee steps outside designated safe regions. The IoT data can also help health personnel track down who else may be exposed due to the breach.
Finally, the geofencing feature can be used to ensure citizens comply with the police curfew. Law enforcement units can set different geofencing locations with their specific curfew times and receive alerts any time unauthorised citizens leave their homes.
Overall, the geofencing feature would increase cost-effectiveness and make the whole experience more convenient for both quarantined people and relevant authorities.
2. Timely Disease Detection
WolkAbout IoT Platform can help in building early warning systems to curb the spread of infectious diseases. By integrating our agnostic technology with a wide variety of smart sensors (regardless of the make, model or manufacturer), relevant authorities all over different ports of entries can get access to real-time information that can help detect the infected people very quickly. Once connected to our Platform, the lifecycle of these devices scattered across the field can be centrally managed through a single application.
For example, scanners for all passengers that come from international or domestic airports allow timely detection of high temperature or other acute symptoms. Plus, these findings can be stored and shared with local health authorities in real time enabling better resource planning and disease management.
In the short term, continued diligence in monitoring every “compromised” individual as they go through customs at airports or border crossings enables timely treatment of the potentially infected person, whether it involves home quarantine or in-hospital care.
3. Managing Patient Care
In a virus outbreak, having an emergency scenario is imperative. With a large number of patients coming every minute, it’s tough for the medical staff to monitor and treat every single one of them. Digital technologies can provide relief to the overworked staff at the hospital.
How? WolkAbout IoT Platform can integrate with any wearable or portable device, so health professionals can pull and analyse collected patient data with minimal staff. For example, patients’ biometric measurements, like body temperature, oxygen saturation, heartbeat and blood pressure, can be measured by different wireless instruments or wearables and sent to WolkAbout IoT Platform without any time delay. The Platform consolidates massive amounts of fragmented information coming from various sensors, thus improving monitoring accuracy and efficiency, and reducing heavy manual work.
Our data monitoring and visualisation module plays a significant role in this as it lets medical staff have a clear view of the current health state of each patient. Using different widgets to display live sensor data, the overall status of the patient, live messages, real-time location, and similar, allows them to check the health status of the patients and detect trends without personal contact. Medical staff can also set emergency alerts, triggered by data collected from patient monitoring devices so that they can react promptly on any escalation.
WolkAbout IoT Platform can also integrate monitoring devices with analytics software throughout a hospital to provide physicians with greater visibility into patient’s vitals. It also allows staff to implement an in-hospital patient flow management system to effectively track patient status, location, and treatment schedule.
Overall, real-time data visualisation helps reduce workload, increase the efficiency of the medical staff and, most importantly, reduce the chance for cross-infection with the patients.
4. Real-Time Disease-Mapping
The power of digital technologies in healthcare lies in the ability to collect data from places where it used to be done either manually or not at all. With COVID-19 growing at an exponential rate, real-time disease mapping can help determine early signs of the outbreak worldwide. For example, smart thermometers can feed data in real-time to global medical systems, thus giving a clue into a geographical region that needs to be on the watch.
Our Calculated Feed functionality lets authorities combine numerous input sources (either from devices or third-party sources) into a new feed that can be tracked over time. In this way, data from smart thermometers combined with different parameters (like patients’ oxygen saturation, weather data or expected growth rate) lets authorities create a map highlighting areas where people are getting sicker than should be expected. We gain the upper hand here.
5. Enabling Smooth Functioning of the Utilities
Global quarantines are putting a strain on energy and water demand and on utilities’ ability to perform ongoing maintenance. This is why utilities must monitor changes in usage and redirect supply where necessary. In the long term, they should invest in digital technologies to help track usage.
We are prepared to work with utility service providers proactively! WolkAbout IoT Platform can be integrated with both legacy and smart meters, ERP systems, field service management platforms and different real-time cloud databases (such as regional government databases that track the COVID-19 outbreak). The real-time information from devices and third-party sources would allow utilities to identify problems in the power, water or gas consumption on time, as well as to predict high-risk affected areas and find alternative routes for field crews.
Where Do We Go from Here?
We are not only committed to ensuring you continue to receive the highest quality service from us without disruption. We remain positive about the power of digital technologies to help shape a better world.
We hope to see our ecosystem of partners and customers contribute as well by developing applications that will improve diagnosis, monitoring of people under quarantine, crisis communication during an emergency, as well as remote learning. All these areas are being taxed as more people are forced to stay indoors, and as the institutions try to contain the virus.
Do reach out to us and discuss how we can fight this battle together. Our joint efforts will undoubtedly bring forward more ideas and suggestions.
Thank you for your continued partnership! May you and your families stay safe and healthy!
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain! 🍀
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