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Tech startups benefit from lighter regulation in coronavirus pandemic

Technology startups are gaining traction in the NHS as a result of the coronavirus crisis, in what some describe as a “revolution” for the health service.
Entrepreneurs say bureaucratic caution has been swept away to allow them to bring digital products into the health and social care system.

“It feels as if someone’s taken the handbrake off the NHS,” says Tom Wicher, chief executive of booking software provider DrDoctor, which has gained three big hospitals as clients since the start of the outbreak.

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“It’s like it’s been given permission to go fast.”
Remote working startups are among those benefiting.

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Pando, which allows healthcare workers to share sensitive medical messages and photos, claims to have seen an increase of 700% in its daily download rate since the start of the outbreak, with new users coming from across the NHS.

“There is something of a revolution happening,” says Dr Rhyddian Harris, a former clinician who works as a product manager for Pando.

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“The telemedicine agenda has been accelerated by about 10 years, simply because it is not safe or practical to do much of the traditional medical model.”
At the start of February, remote healthcare startup accuRx built a video consultation tool for GP practices and NHS trusts, to go with its existing text message product.

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Two months later, accuRx co-founder Jacob Haddad says it’s been used more than one million times.
“There’s been huge pressure to change how primary care is delivered and how GPs see patients,” he told Sky News.
“A year’s worth of change has just had to happen in a couple of weeks. That’s why we’ve seen such vast adoption.”

The UK’s coronavirus hotspots

GPs using the system say they’re unlikely to go back to the old method.
“We went from four to five weeks ago maybe only doing 20 or 30 online consultations a day to now doing over 100 online consultations a day,” says Dr Simon Brownleader, chair of the Tower Hamlets GP Care Group.
“It’s been revelatory.”
Doctors using Pando’s app, which is free for initial users and all NHS staff, although it does have a paid tier for heavy users, share the enthusiasm.
“Without it we’d be struggling as there’s no easy way to pass information between teams,” says Dr Richard Muswell, an air ambulance doctor at Bart’s Hospital in London.

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Campaigners caution against moving too fast if it compromises the long-term future of the NHS.
“Bureaucracy has a really important role to play in terms of safety, and safety is paramount,” says Cat Hobbs, founder of We Own It, which campaigns for public ownership of public services.
“This crisis is going to take some time to sort out and we need to be building up the capacity of the NHS while we do that, not having contracts awarded to private companies without a proper process.”
In recent months, high-profile NHS contracts have been handed to firms including Google, Amazon and controversial Silicon Valley startup Palantir, which was awarded the contract without a tender and is working for £1.

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Yet although these deals have been the focus of media attention, a leading investor in public sector startups warned that the successes of technology companies did not represent the full picture.
“The crisis has proven double edged for startups that support public services,” said Daniel Korski, co-founder of Public.
“On the one hand there is more appetite than ever before to deploy new technologies and startups have been given many opportunities especially across the NHS.
“On the other hand the government has in many cases – and for much larger contract sums – turned to existing incumbents, extending relationships that probably should by rights have ended.”
On 16 April, outsourcing giant Capita extended a contract with the Ministry of Justice to provide electronic tagging, worth £114m over three years.
In February, a Capita security worker who took bribes from criminals to remove their electronic tags was jailed for seven years.

Featured
Connecting in Covid times

In 2003 when Linden Lab launched the virtual world Second Life, it was a novelty and a huge success, with a community of over a million at its peak. A quaint convergence of unfettered imagination and dollar-powered real life — through avatars, business, product sales, music, movies, and even news reporting and politics — its ever-changing and expanding virtual world took off.
I visited a few times to research stories and marvel at people “buying” property, creating chic haute couture, building and selling homes, and having absurd keyboard-bashing sex with strangers (through self-created manga-style characters), all premised on an actual exchange rate of 320 Linden dollars to every US dollar.
Second Life was at once exhilarating, entertaining, educative, eyebrow-raising and strange. This is the world many are returning to in different forms as lives collapse and shrink uncomfortably into small bedrooms packed with dull relatives, bawling kids, and one shared television.
Unsurprisingly, as China reopens, the biggest queues are for the divorce office. Yet there is a rediscovery of the self, books and hobbies, but there is also an explosive urge to connect — and escape. And this urge might provide the kernel to repower travel, this time with greater relish and less haste.
With social interaction dramatically reduced, virtual contact is much in vogue, not necessarily through giant musclebound avatars, but through simple collaborative phone apps such as WeChat, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, YouTube, Join.me, Yammer … the list goes on.
Having lost normal human contact we are now even more gregarious than before — like marooned survivors on a desert island — resulting in a curious hyper-engagement in socially distanced times where even neighbours cower if they spot you in the lift lobby.
Emboldened by the deafening quiet, wild animals are prowling city streets, peering into homes with undisguised curiosity in search of their own grocery shopping list that might include a human or two if the sell-by date is okay. The world is outside and we have become the denizens of the zoo, a great curiosity for passers-by.
Three cheers then for the wandering penguins, pumas, leopards, deer, monkeys, wild boars, elephants and mountain goats that have clattered into towns wondering what the fuss over humankind is all about with nary a massage parlour or a decent deli open. And where does that bloke David Attenborough live anyway? It’s a hard life for furry adventurers.
When my son was a young teen I remonstrated with him about his locked “man cave” where he sat in a pitch-black bedroom peering at a glowing laptop screen and, later, a phone. His friends would drop in and they all would sit in the dark room — like a coven of diminutive druids in hoodies — peering at their own screens, wordlessly texting each other.
“Why don’t you all just talk?” I would inquire. “We are,” someone would mumble. Well, at least they were saving electricity.
This thought crossed my mind as I lay in bed with the lights out peering at my glowing iPhone trying to raise friends from New Delhi to Singapore, London and Los Angeles. I checked to see what my son, now a respectable thirty-something, was up to. He’d been cooking — with all the lights blazing — and had photos to prove it.
So what happened to the Real World? It’s been reduced to mistyped links that will get your blood pressure up and blurred images flashing across mobile screens, though museums and libraries have heroically offered access to their vaults — if virtually so.
But then that’s what Second Life and alternate reality sites are all about, and in the midst of a sobering global pandemic the last thing you wish to encounter is a shower of pink phalluses (which is how bored techies heckle chat shows apparently).
I was chatting (in person) with family some months ago (circa 1BC, before Covid) and a niece planning a destination wedding — rudely interrupted by the infernal coronavirus — turned to her mum to ask sadly, “Mum, what is this Real Life you all keep talking about? It’s so depressing …” That was then.
Now I think I’m enjoying my old-man cave. No maid, no visitors, no deliverymen, no neighbours, no wise guys, no office and, when I get off my guitar, no noise. Even CNN has become a bit much after Donald Trump decided to “liberate” Georgia and urged people to inject disinfectant. Television off.
Nites.tv, the site that made a stab at opening up a world of free movies during the quarantine, has also been blipped off the air because of copyright violations. More silence.
I’m increasingly wary of social apps too, where emigre friends, battery-fed on Breitbart News, insist everything that ails the great US of A is a Chinese plot. Okay, WhatsApp off.
My Facebook feed is clogged with sly and seedy Hindutva posts from India about Muslim perfidy but all these people joyously blaspheme by digging into the Saracenic delights of mutton biryani.
It reminds me of Monty Python’s Life of Brian — “Well, apart from biryani, tandoori chicken, the Taj Mahal, ghazals, Sufi poetry, algebra, chess, the guitar (via the oud), coffee, carpets and shisha, what on earth have these people ever done for us?”
For the Facebook lynch mob, as well as for me, it’s time to reconnect with the Real World. Get a life. Really.

Featured
These were the 10 most popular stocks on Robinhood in the month of April

Robinhood
Robinhood, the zero-commission brokerage platform that is popular with millenials, has seen a surge in trading volume as the market entered a volatile period due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Robintrack is a platform that uses data from Robinhood’s API to track how many of its users own a particular stock over time.
The compiled data is put into a charting format that helps show the relationship between the price of a stock and popularity with Robinhood users.
Here are the 10 most popular stocks on Robinhood in the month of April.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Robinhood, the zero-commission brokerage platform that’s popular with millenials, has seen a surge in trading volume as the stock market entered a volatile period due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Robintrack is a platform that utilizes data from Robinhood’s API to track how many Robinhood users own a particular stock over time.
The compiled data is put into a charting format that helps show the relationship between the price of a stock and its popularity with Robinhood users.
The data helps identify stocks where investors are either:
Buying the dip, which is apparent when the number of Robinhood account users owning a particular stock surges as the stock price falls.
Taking profits, which is apparent when the number of Robinhood account users owning a particular stock falls as the stock price rises.
Going full FOMO, which is apparent when the number of Robinhood account users owning a particular stock rises as the stock price rises.
Jumping ship, which is apparent when the number of Robinhood account users owning a particular stock falls as the stock price falls.
Read more:Meet the 20-year-old day-trading phenom who’s turned $20,000 into more than $1 million. He details his precise strategy – and shares how he made $11,400 in 2 minutes.
The data is also helpful for contrarian investors to go against the herd and identify popular stocks to sell short or unpopular stocks to buy long.
Here are the 10 most popular stocks among Robinhood users in the month of April.

10. Apple
Robintrack.net
Apple was the 10th most popular stock on Robinhood in April.
The iPhone maker was owned by 356,304 users at the end of the month, compared to 311,472 users in the prior month.
The 14% jump in Robinhood accounts that own the stock was accompanied with a 15.5% jump in Apple’s stock price in April, signaling that investors continue to add shares as the stock price moves higher.
Source: Robintrack.net

9. Carnival
Robintrack.net
Carnival was the ninth most popular stock on Robinhood in April.
The cruise line company was owned by 406,391 users at the end of April, compared to 186,315 users in the prior month.
The 118% jump in Robinhood accounts that own the stock was accompanied with a 20% jump in Carnival’s stock price in April, signaling that investors continue to ride shares of Carnival higher following its more than 80% decline due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Source: Robintrack.net

8. Microsoft
Robintrack.net
Microsoft was the eighth most popular stock on Robinhood in April.
The software company was owned by 425,189 users at the end of April, compared to 389,770 users in the prior month.
The 9% jump in Robinhood accounts that own the stock was accompanied by a 13% jump in Microsoft’s stock price in April, signaling that investors continue to add shares as the stock moves higher.
Source: Robintrack.net

7. Delta Air Lines
Robintrack.net
Delta Air Lines was the seventh most popular stock on Robinhood in April.
The airline operator was owned by 426,267 users at the end of April, compared to 194,565 users in the prior month.
The 119% jump in Robinhood accounts that own the stock was accompanied with a 9% decline in Delta’s stock price in April, signaling that investors are buying the dip in Delta.
Source: Robintrack.net

6. American Air Lines
Robintrack.net
American Air Lines was the sixth most popular stock on Robinhood in April.
The airline operator was owned by 446,267 users at the end of April, compared to 222,935 users in the prior month.
The 100% jump in Robinhood accounts that own the stock was accompanied with a 1% decline in American’s stock price in April, signaling that investors are buying the dip in American.
Source: Robintrack.net

5. GoPro
Robintrack.net
GoPro was the 5th most popular stock on Robinhood in April.
The camera company was owned by 451,662 users at the end of April, compared to 389,087 users in the prior month.
The 16% jump in Robinhood accounts that own the stock was accompanied with a 34% jump in GoPro’s stock price in April, signaling that investors are sticking with and adding to their GoPro position as the stock rises.
Source: Robintrack.net

4. Disney
Robintrack.net
Disney was the fourth most popular stock on Robinhood in April.
The house of mouse was owned by 509,091 users at the end of April, compared to 416,987 users in the prior month.
The 22% jump in Robinhood accounts that own the stock was accompanied with a 12% increase in Disney’s stock price in April, signaling that investors continue to add shares as the stock price moves higher.
Source: Robintrack.net

3. General Electric
Robintrack.net
General Electric was the third most popular stock on Robinhood in April.
The industrial conglomerate was owned by 686,309 users at the end of April, compared to 509,417 users in the prior month.
The 35% jump in Robinhood accounts that own the stock was accompanied with a 14% decline in General Electric’s stock price in April, signaling that investors are buying the dip in General Electric.
Source: Robintrack.net

2. Ford
Robintrack.net
Ford was the second most popular stock on Robinhood in April.
The auto manufacturer was owned by 786,210 users at the end of April, compared to 649,147 users in the prior month.
The 21% jump in Robinhood accounts that own the stock was accompanied with a 5% increase in Ford’s stock price in April, signaling that investors continue to add shares as the stock moves higher.
Source: Robintrack.net

1. Aurora Cannabis
Robintrack.net
Aurora Cannabis was the most popular stock on Robinhood in April.
The cannabis company was owned by 969,595 users at the end of April, compared to 854,685 users in the prior month.
The 13% jump in Robinhood accounts that own the stock was accompanied with a 18% decline in Aurora’s stock price in April, signaling that investors are buying the dip in Aurora Cannabis.
Source: Robintrack.net

Featured
Vaporesso is taking actions to fight against the epidemic of COVID-19

SHENZHEN, China, April 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Vaporesso as a well-recognized vaping brand, which was created by the world-leading atomization company SMOORE in 2015, is taking action to assist its customers in getting through the tough start of 2020. Facing the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, Vaporesso has purchased over 100,000 masks and sent them to distributors, V shops, online influencers, and official website users for free.

Currently, Vaporesso is concerned with the emergence of epidemics overseas and has formulated a series of preventive measures for partners and customers.
Firstly, multiple online seminars have been held by Vaporesso to share information regarding China’s epidemic status and prevention measures after work resumption, clarifying how to run the business in the current circumstances.
Secondly, Vaporesso provides customers with information package services and uses several platforms like their website and social media accounts to distribute manuals and livestream to raise awareness about epidemic prevention.

Vaporesso is also concerned with the emotional well-being of its customers, they’re producing entertainment content and videos to show their support and urge people to “Stay safe! Together we will get through this!”.
Staying home with your OSMALL Kits
Vaporesso evoked people’s awareness of the importance of staying home. Allied with other online platforms, Vaporesso has more than 10,000 OSMALL kits prepared for its customers to help them chill during the staying. Available from April 15th to May 15th, vapers who have reached the legal vaping age can get a chance to receive the OSMALL for free.
Additional Initiatives above Vaporesso
As the parent company of Vaporesso, SMOORE is cooperating with AIM ImmunoTech during the critical period of the global fight against the epidemic, jointly entered into a Material Transfer and Research Agreement (MTA) and currently are developing the atomization treatment method of Ampligen drugs. Ampligen has potential as a prophylactic/early-onset therapeutic against COVID-19. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/aim-immunotech-shenzhen-smoore-technology-170000604.html?guccounter=1) It has been approved for ME / CFS in Argentina and has undergone phase 3 clinical trials in the United States.

View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/vaporesso-is-taking-actions-to-fight-against-the-epidemic-of-covid-19-301047975.html
SOURCE VAPORESSO

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Tencent's VooV Meeting now available in Malaysia, offering HD cloud conferencing services for enterprises

Asiasoft Malaysia, China Construction Bank Malaysia and Green Packet Berhad are among the first in Malaysia to integrate VooV Meeting into their business routine to maintain seamless communications and collaboration with partners during the coronavirus pandemic
VooV Meeting provides extensive network across the globe with exceptional system stability especially in China like nobody else does
Integrated with WeChat’s ecosystem, VooV Meeting allows users to join meetings through WeChat’s mini program or direct dialing without the need to install the app
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, April 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — To meet the growing demand for remote office and multi-country conferencing, Tencent Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Tencent, today introduces its cloud conferencing tool, VooV Meeting, in Malaysia, offering a high-definition, ultra-smooth and secure multi-person cloud conferencing solution. Enterprises can now seamlessly connect with their colleagues and business partners all over the world with VooV Meeting’s extensive network and stability. Furthermore, during the novel coronavirus outbreak, Tencent Cloud will provide global users with special complimentary access to VooV Meeting’s feature that connects up to 300 participants simultaneously.
Asiasoft Malaysia, China Construction Bank Malaysia (CCB Malaysia), and Green Packet Berhad (Green Packet), were among the first in the country to experience the use of VooV Meeting in order to maintain seamless communications and collaboration within their businesses as well as with external partners amid the recent coronavirus pandemic. Tencent also recently partnered with the United Nations for its 75th anniversary campaign, where VooV Meeting will be used in facilitating the largest global dialogue to date.
All these demonstrate the tool’s capability to offer smooth, stable and reliable cloud-based HD conferencing services for different business occasions.
“We are glad to gain the trust of these Malaysia partners in using our services for their business communications. Built on Tencent Cloud’s cutting-edge technology and Tencent’s experience in the internet, audio and video communications fields in the past 21 years, VooV Meeting can provide exceptional stable coverage globally, outperforming other industry players.” said Poshu Yeung, Vice President of Tencent International Business Group. “Meanwhile, ‘Value for Users, Tech for Good’ is Tencent’s guiding principle, and we strive to incorporate social responsibility into our products and services. By providing complimentary access to VooV Meeting and donating medical resources including masks to Malaysia, we hope to maximize our support to Malaysian enterprises and citizens amid the country’s movement control order.”
VooV Meeting is equipped with a number of practical and convenient features to help users improve efficiency for online conferences, including the integration with WeChat’s ecosystem which allows users to share meeting links through WeChat and to join meetings via WeChat’s mini program without the need to download any applications. It also has facial beautification and blurred background functions, screen-sharing with automated watermark and the use of HD image and high-fidelity processing algorithms to enhance video quality and minimize ambient noise and keyboard sounds, among other features.

Mr. Felix Feng, CEO of CCB Malaysia said, “We proposed the use of VooV meeting in CCB Malaysia as soon as the outbreak of COVID-19 began, as it underpins the good connection among cross-functionality teams, ensuring a smooth and collaborative work. More importantly, CCB Malaysia leverages VooV Meeting as a powerful tool to coordinate large sums of charity efforts, bringing up medical supplies and other trade in need to Malaysia over this challenging period.”
Mr. Joel Wong, VP of Customer Experience and Enterprise Agility from Green Packet commented “Since our government has issued the Movement Control Order as a COVID-19 pandemic countermeasure, the entire company has begun to work from home. To maintain business continuity and productivity, we have selected Tencent’s VooV Meeting app as our primary communications platform that enables us to maintain close communications and collaboration across our global offices and business partners. We find Tencent’s VooV Meeting app to be an extremely effective platform for communications and collaboration because of its ease of use, its extraordinary audio and video performance, and most importantly, its fundamental platform stability and security.”
Mr. Wong Jiann Hui,  technical director of Asiasoft Malaysia, said, “We adopt VooV meeting as our main tele-conferencing tool amid the pandemic as it could maintain quite a good connection even with a bad network. On top of that, features such as background blurring and AI makeup, among others, really fit well in a work-from-home setting, emphasizing a strong internet mindset in its product design.”
The underlying technology architecture of VooV Meeting is backed by the secure and reliable Tencent Cloud, which has multiple layers of protection in terms of business data, management protocols, network equipment and access policy. Tencent Cloud also recently acquired the Multi-Tier Cloud Security Standard (MTCS SS), proving its capability to provide the highest level of security to enterprise cloud users in Malaysia, Asia and around the world.  
Learn more about the features of VooV Meeting and download the desktop version at https://voovmeeting.com/.

Photo – https://photos.prnasia.com/prnh/20200427/2786927-1
SOURCE Tencent

Featured
Disaster Relief Donation to City of Toronto

Labatt to deliver 223,000 cans of drinking water to assist City of Toronto in COVID-19 relief efforts
TORONTO, April 26, 2020 /CNW/ – Labatt Breweries of Canada is again mobilizing its breweries to produce and deliver six truck loads with 223,000 cans of drinking water to support COVID-19 relief efforts in Toronto.

The 223,000 cans of drinking water will be distributed equally between the Toronto Drop-In Network and its Streets to Home Program. The need for canned drinking water is a result of reduced opportunities for those who are street involved or experiencing homelessness to access drinking water.
Mayor John Tory, City of Toronto, said: “I want to thank Labatt Breweries of Canada for their commitment to donate the 223,000 cans of drinking water to help our most vulnerable citizens who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in unique ways. The support of private partners like Labatt have helped our City in our non-stop efforts to respond to this emergency – to protect the health of residents and save lives. While our own Toronto tap water continues to be safe and reliable, we know that these challenging times call for extraordinary measures and we are grateful to our corporate partners who are helping us deliver.”

With the majority of daytime drop-in providers having moved to a takeaway meal service model, there is a high demand for single-use, portable drinks. This allows service providers to distribute drinks, along with takeaway meals, while maintaining public health guidelines for appropriate physical distancing. It also helps by eliminating practices that could possibly transmit COVID-19 such as using shared drinking water sources (e.g. water fountains) or shared or uncleaned re-useable bottles. 
Charlie Angelakos, Labatt’s Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, said: “This has been an incredibly challenging time for all Canadians. Our 3,500 employees across the country have been doing an exceptional job rising to the occasion so we can give back to our communities. When we heard there was a shortage of drinking water supply at some of the City of Toronto’s critical programs, we mobilized our Disaster Relief Program as quickly as we could.”
Labatt’s Canadian Disaster Relief Program was first established to provide safe drinking water to Canadian communities that have experienced a natural disaster. The company’s hometown brewery in London, Ontario periodically pauses beer production to can drinking water to be ready to help communities in times of disaster. The company maintains a constant inventory of fresh and safe canned water exclusively for this purpose. Since its inception, the program has expanded to provide support beyond drinking water, such as donating 100,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, and mobilizes as needs arise during times of disaster or crisis.
About Labatt Breweries of Canada
Established by John Kinder Labatt in London, Ontario in 1847, Labatt Breweries is one of Canada’s founding businesses and its leading brewer. The company today has more than 3,500 employees, six breweries, four stand-alone craft brewers, a BC distillery and a portfolio of 60 quality beers, including Budweiser, Alexander Keith’s, Labatt Blue, Kokanee, Stella Artois and Corona.  Brands also include ready-to-drink beverages such as Palm Bay and Mike’s Hard Lemonade and NÜTRL VODKA SODA. As part of the Anheuser-Busch InBev family, Labatt is committed to Bringing People Together for a Better World, making a positive contribution through multiple programs that support its communities, promote responsible drinking and protect the environment.

SOURCE Labatt Breweries of Canada

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