Covid19 Editorial

A Battle Uniting Us

The tech community has mobilized and created many counterattacks to minimize the harmful effects of the pandemic. With more or less aligned strategies, we are witnessing a remarkable collective effort in which each individual has tried to put his tools at the service of society at large.
A Battle Uniting Us

This post is part of a collaborative effort between Startup Portugal, The Next Big Idea, and Sapo24, meant to create relevant content to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

The tech community has mobilized and created many counterattacks to minimize the harmful effects of the pandemic. With more or less aligned strategies, we are witnessing a remarkable collective effort in which each individual has tried to put his tools at the service of society at large.

On the weekend before schools closed, a movement of entrepreneurs with a common goal was spontaneously born. They wanted to find solutions through various projects to help combat the pandemic. The small group grew quickly and was soon joined by hundreds of people who wanted to put their resources and skills at the service of the community. Tech4Covid19 is, at this time, is a community with more than 3000 volunteers. It has already financed and made the first purchase of personal protective equipment and provided a free accommodation platform for health professionals. In addition, Tech4Covid19 has established 27 other projects that further seek to stop the pandemic and the disruption it has brought to multiple social sectors.

Covidapp, developed by Mosano, remotely monitors patients with symptoms, or asymptomatic, of Covid-19 disease. Connected to a neuronal network provided by the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, the application registers symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, among others, and produces a classification of the users’ health status. After the initial screening, the application sends an alert to the user and to the health authorities, who provide the first medical indications to help patients start fighting the disease.

With this prior infection screening, the platform can curb the immediate influx of hospitals, channel the resources available to those who need it most, and prevent hospitals from being a spreading site. The data collected will also be used in an epidemiological study to be carried out at the end of the pandemic crisis.

GruupUp, an app created to promote the safety of communities through geolocation, is adding a temporary module that locates people (infected, suspicious, and non-infected). Thus, it encourages users to remain at home, as long as their activity allows it.

TAIKAI, an open platform for innovation challenges that uses blockchain to bring together large companies and startups, has transformed itself with remarkable speed into a repository of projects to combat Covid-19.

Regarding the production of protective equipment for health workers at the frontline, the use of 3D printing allowed fast prototyping and decentralized production of solutions – which would hardly happen in more traditional and less agile production models. In a project with Movimento Maker Portugal, CovidZero and #SOSCovid, 3Dways managed to identify the needs of hospitals and shifted its production towards the daily manufacturing of 500 visors for the hospital sector. Having created multiple product distribution points, the joint and decentralized production of this group now reaches 1000 visors per day, which will be delivered to hospitals, prison hospitals, the Portuguese Army, PSP, Red Cross, Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa, and the DGS.

Operating from Seixal, EVA has a fleet of 20 drones available that can be used to deliver medical supplies, video monitoring of cities, and broadcast appeals to people in isolation.

In the field of gap mitigation in teleworking processes, Planless also wants to help. At a time when many companies need to adapt quickly to remote work, the project management tool that uses artificial intelligence to optimize teamwork offers a 50% discount on usage plans and provides free licenses to all non-profit organizations that are fighting Covid-19.

Each of these projects has been honing their activities and channelling their energy to fight Covid-19. Specifically, Bic-Solution, since its foundation, has been making efforts to reduce infection rates in hospital environments.

The current pandemic is overburdening hospitals all around the world. This requires a redefinition of spaces and resources allocated to each patient, and also the conversion of hospital wards into new intensive care units (ICU). It is necessary to isolate and treat infected patients, while simultaneously minimizing the risk of cross-infection with other patients and healthcare professionals.

ICUB3 is a solution developed to reduce human error while managing patients in complex environments, such as ICUs – where medical equipment is shared by different patients and disinfection procedures carry high risks of cross-contamination. The system works both in managing regular hospital tasks and in pandemic situations and also adapts itself to the hospital rules and the level of security that needs to be activated.

We will hardly be better off after this pandemic, but there is no doubt that the present crisis has managed to reveal the noblest face of the community that Startup Portugal has been supporting with its initiatives. Several of these companies benefited from the programs designed and promoted by Startup Portugal, which brings extra validation to the work that we have been developing. We have been fortunate to support entrepreneurs who understand the concept that defines them and who live according to their definition – seeking to solve problems and add value. Exactly what we need most at this time.

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Startup Portugal Team • March 30, 2020