May 22, 2020

COVID-19: Resources

Forbes ‘This Is The Time’: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Talks Software’s Role In Covid-19 Response And Recovery
As the CEO of the world’s most valuable company, one that works with hundreds of millions of customers and employs more than 150,000 people, Satya Nadella has a unique vantage point for observing technology’s role in combatting Covid-19.

Microsoft Transform Microsoft HoloLens helps protect frontline staff and patients at some of London’s busiest hospitals
One of the largest NHS trusts in England is using Microsoft HoloLens on its Covid-19 wards to keep doctors safe as they help patients with the virus. Staff at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust are wearing the mixed-reality headset as they work on the frontline in the most high-risk area of some of London’s busiest hospitals.

Microsoft Transform Microsoft customers lean on their developers during the global health pandemic
When the global health pandemic hit the U.S., Carhartt’s factories quickly switched from crafting rugged workwear to stitching delicate masks and medical gowns. It wasn’t the first time the 131-year-old company had made such a dramatic shift.

Microsoft A.I. Blog Microsoft announces new supercomputer, lays out vision for future AI work
Microsoft has built one of the top five publicly disclosed supercomputers in the world, making new infrastructure available in Azure to train extremely large artificial intelligence models, the company is announcing at its Build developers conference.

COVID-19: Industry News & Response

Microsoft on the Issues New AI-powered knowledge hub to fuel social innovation
One of the defining aspects of COVID-19 is its disproportionate impact on underserved communities and the harsh spotlight it shines on existing social equity issues around the world. From access to quality education, jobs or affordable healthcare, COVID-19 is magnifying virtually every inequality in our communities.

Microsoft Transform In a health care crisis, Zuellig Pharma pivots to the cloud to protect lives
Think of a business plan as a race. You’re at the starting line. The pistol goes off. Then suddenly, the rules change. The marathon you thought you were running has become a sprint. That’s what happened to one of Asia’s largest and oldest health care services groups, Zuellig Pharma, when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the region, triggering mandatory lockdowns that threatened its ability to serve 350,000 medical facilities, hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.

World Economic Forum How youth and technology can drive Africa’s COVID-19 response
Most recent reports about the COVID-19 response in Africa have focused on the challenges the continent faces due to its fragile health systems and lack of critical care capacity. In the past month, the number of COVID-19 cases in Africa has increased by 43%.

Washington Post Apple and Google are building a virus-tracking system. Health officials say it will be practically useless.
Apple and Google’s announcement last month of a joint effort to track the coronavirus by smartphone sparked a wave of excitement among public health officials hoping the technology would help alert them to potential new infections and map the pandemic’s spread.

BuzzFeed Utah’s Contact Tracing App Was Supposed To Help The State Open Up. It Isn’t Going Very Well.
The state spent $2.75 million to purchase the app and is paying a monthly maintenance fee of $300,000, according to contracts obtained by BuzzFeed News. But as of May 18, just 45,000 of the state’s 3.2 million people had downloaded Healthy Together, according to Twenty.

Tech Crunch Color receives FDA authorization for COVID-19 test tech that speeds up results
Color has received an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use of a testing method for detecting COVID-19 that provides accuracy it says is on par with currently approved best-in-class methods, but that can also produce results around 50% faster and with different supply requirements.

CNET Facial recognition firms are scrambling to see around face masks
In the age of the coronavirus, face masks have become a part of normal life. They’re a safety requirement in many places, and for some people, a fashion statement. But for facial recognition technology, they pose a major challenge.

World Economic Forum 10 technology trends to watch in the COVID-19 pandemic
Here are 10 technology trends that can help build a resilient society, as well as considerations about their effects on how we do business, how we trade, how we work, how we produce goods, how we learn, how we seek medical services and how we entertain ourselves.


Reuters Factbox: Where do Trump and Biden stand on tech policy issues?
Here is a look at the stances of Republican President Donald Trump and his likely Democratic opponent Joe Biden on some key tech policy issues, including the digital divide, regulating social media, breaking up big tech companies, and data privacy.


Axios FCC to vote on “5G upgrade” plan
The Federal Communications Commission will vote next month on a plan to get U.S. 5G networks built out faster by clarifying rules on updating existing wireless infrastructure. The plan builds on past action the agency has taken over the objections of cities.

TechCrunch U.S. House approves remote voting, though the tech is unclear
Congress will allow remote voting for the first time in its history, after the U.S. House approved Resolution 965 late Friday in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The measure — sponsored by Massachusetts Representative Jim McGovern — authorizes proxy voting by members for renewable periods of 45 days and allows for remote participation in committee hearings.

Nextgov Critical Update: Why the Pentagon’s Cybersecurity Certification Program Inspires Hope and Fear
The implications of the Defense Department’s plan to subject its suppliers to independent cybersecurity audits, a program known as Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, apply far beyond the defense industrial base.

Reuters White House panel: Build new tech infrastructure for future jobs
A White House advisory panel on Tuesday will call for the government and private industry to work together to build new technological infrastructure to support future jobs and provide the underpinnings critical to a solid economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, an official briefed on the plans said.

The Hill Justice Department signals opposition to Senate’s surveillance bill
The Justice Department is raising a red flag over an intelligence reauthorization bill passed by the Senate, raising fresh questions about the fate of the legislation. “We appreciate the Senate’s reauthorization of three expired national security authorities. As amended, however, [it] would unacceptably degrade our ability to conduct surveillance of terrorists, spies and other national security threats,” a Justice Department spokesperson said in a statement.


Reuters Microsoft to adapt its cloud software for healthcare industry
While Microsoft is known for general productivity software such as Outlook and the chat app Teams, it also makes more specialized business software such as programs used by customer service agents and artificial intelligence tools that software developers can use to make chat bots. Microsoft said it will pull all of its technologies together into a package it calls “Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare.” The system will allow hospitals to maintain data throughout an interaction with a patient.

CNBC Facebook’s business collaboration app reaches 5 million paid users, but still lags behind Microsoft and Slack
Facebook announced Thursday that its Workplace enterprise software has now reached 5 million paid users, up from 3 million in October. The company also announced some new features for the communications product, saying that interest in Workplace has increased as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bloomberg Foreign STEM Graduates Are Being Shut Out of the U.S. Job Market
It was shaping up to be a big spring for Rugved Kore. He was finishing up a master’s degree in engineering that had brought him from the suburbs of Mumbai to Pennsylvania, and two companies had just offered him postgraduation positions that would make him eligible for a visa program for graduates of U.S. universities in technical fields.

People Son Reunites with Parents 32 Years After Kidnapping — Thanks to Facial Recognition Technology
A Chinese couple who spent more than three decades searching for their son after he was abducted in the late ‘80s were reunited with him on Monday, bringing to a close what local media called one of the county’s “most notorious” missing child cases.

SciTechDaily Fast-Charging Super-Capacitor Technology Unveiled for Clean Energy Storage
Experts from the University of Surrey believe their dream of clean energy storage is a step closer after they unveiled their ground-breaking super-capacitor technology that is able to store and deliver electricity at high power rates, particularly for mobile applications.

Science Daily Using big data to design gas separation membranes, reduce CO2
Researchers at Columbia Engineering and the University of South Carolina have developed a method that combines big data and machine learning to selectively design gas-filtering polymer membranes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


The Brookings Institution

  • Blog on American Broadband
    The last time the country faced an economic crisis, Congress saw broadband as a significant tool to jumpstart the recovery. Central to that effort was the 2010 National Broadband Plan, which addressed three fundamental questions: (1) How does our country get broadband networks everywhere, (2) how do we get everyone on those networks, and (3) how can we use broadband to improve the delivery of health care, education, public safety, economic opportunity, and other critical services? The most important sentence in the plan, however, did not directly answer any of those questions. Rather, it addressed how to approach implementation. “This plan is in beta and always will be,” it read. As the country continues to struggle with persistent digital divides amid a new economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing need is clear. (The Avenue – COVID-19 shows that America’s broadband plan is still in beta, May 18, 2020)

Center for Strategic & International Studies

  • Center for Strategic & International Studies
    As the first hopeful signs begin to emerge that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic may be beginning to ease in the United States, many officials are turning their attention towards the autumn, when health experts are predicting a second wave of infections could emerge. If the United States hopes to avoid a repeat of the loss of life and economic disruption experienced so far this year, we will need new and better ways to monitor the disease, identify those who have been infected, and isolate potential carriers. The success of nations like South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan at controlling the spread of COVID-19 have led many to look for answers in the way these governments have handled the crisis, and particularly the way they have leveraged digital technologies to assist public health officials in their work. (Technology Policy – Contact Tracing Apps Are Not a Silver Bullet, May 15, 2020)

Note: Voices for Innovation regularly shares a range of opinion articles and press releases from organizations in and publications covering tech policy. These pieces are meant to educate our audience, not to endorse specific platforms or bills.