Innovation

COVID-19 pandemic impact pushing smart home voice control devices to predicted 30% growth

Global shipments of smart home speakers will increase this year due to fear of coronavirus germs, according to ABI Research.

With so many millions of people working from home, the value of voice control during the pandemic will ensure that this year, voice control device shipments will grow globally by close to 30% over 2019–despite the key China market being impacted during the first quarter of 2020, according to global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research.

Last year, 141 million voice control smart home devices shipped worldwide, the firm said. Heeding the advice to minimize COVID-19 transmission from shared surfaces, even within a home, will help cement the benefits of smart home voice control for millions of consumers, ABI Research said.

“A smarter home can be a safer home,” said Jonathan Collins, ABI research director, in a statement. “Key among the recommendations regarding COVID-19 protection in the home is to

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New COVID-19 dashboard maps give daily updates on coronavirus impact for every US county and state

Drill down into the latest data for individual counties in every US state to find out the newest information on how the coronavirus is affecting your city.

Counties and municipalities across the country are grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, so Esri has released a new dashboard to give insight on how coronavirus is impacting their community

The Impact Planning for COVID-19 dashboard is available to the public free of charge and it is powered by Esri’s ArcGIS Business Analyst.  It merges hospital bed availability data from Definitive Healthcare with daily COVID-19 cases with Esri demographics for an overall snapshot of preparedness, capacity, and vulnerability at the county level for every state in the US.

SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium) 

Insurance coverage, at-risk population and hospital beds in data

To use the map, just select any state and county from the dropdown menu and

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Facebook, Slack and Twitter among tech companies joining WHO to launch COVID-19 hackathon

The goal is to develop software to help solve some of the problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Proposals are being considered this week as part of a global hackathon whose mission is to develop software to manage the COVID-19 outbreak. The online #BuildforCOVID19 Global Online Hackathon is being spearheaded by the World Health Organization and leading tech companies including Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, WeChat, and Slack.

The hackathon “is an opportunity for developers to build software solutions that drive social impact, with the aim of tackling some of the challenges related to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” the group wrote.

Each participating company has committed resources for developers who apply. The site has received close to 20,000 submissions. Winning proposals will be announced on Friday, April 10.

SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium)

The group developed a list of the key challenges

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WHO campaign promotes gaming as a preferred coronavirus pandemic pastime

Activision Blizzard, YouTube and Big Fish Games are among the industry leaders launching an initiative with WHO to tout video games as a healthy activity to avoid spreading COVID-19.

Gamers around the world can rejoice. The World Health Organization is advising everyone to play video games to combat social isolation during the COVID-19 crisis. There’s a new campaign called #PlayApartTogether with 18 of the world’s biggest game industry leaders participating to promote the cause.

The campaign is a way to remind everyone of the importance of social distancing to avoid spreading the coronavirus, but also giving people a way to feel connected with each other remotely.

Each of the game industry leaders participating in the initiative is encouraging its users to follow the WHO’s health guidelines, which include physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and other preventive actions people can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  

SEE: Coronavirus:

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New coronavirus map shows which states are best at social distancing

Location data company Unacast has created an interactive scoreboard​ to show how social distancing is working within communities to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Slowing the spread of COVID-19 is key, and location data and analytics company Unacast has designed an interactive scoreboard it updates daily to show the efficacy of social distancing initiatives. The map features each US state and compares a community’s social distancing activity prior to coronavirus and after coronavirus, and rates it on how well it’s working. 

In the wake of the global pandemic, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised social distancing as a containment method to slow the spread of coronavirus.

SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium) 

The scoreboard is the first component of a COVID-19 toolkit that the company is assembling for free use for public health experts, policy

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How Tableau is making real-time COVID-19 data accessible to everyone

Tableau worked with John Hopkins data to help everyone get crucial information to fight the novel coronavirus. Mapbox, Path, Snowflake, DataBlick and Starschema have been helping Tableau with the project.

As the escalating spread of the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus in China became more urgent in late December 2019, employees of data analysis software vendor Tableau carefully analyzed the headlines to seek data that could help the company decide how the virus was affecting its own personnel and operations in China.

That’s when Tableau workers discovered raw data from the outbreak that was being gathered and publicized by Johns Hopkins University, which was collecting information about the escalation and spread of COVID-19 cases from government and other sources around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But all that data, which was being entered into a web dashboard created by

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