Spanish tech companies launch multi-project Covid-19 portal to help citizens and authorities

©Stop Corona and Shutterstock

Startups including Glovo, CARTO and Cabify join forces with the likes of Google, Apple and IBM in the #StopCorona initiative to help Spain fight the pandemic

The Spanish tech ecosystem has come together in launching #StopCorona: a multi-pronged portal of big data, hardware and software initiatives to help battle the pandemic that's overwhelming the country. Projects include an open-source ventilator prototype for quick, easy and affordable production; Covid-19 medical support, information and infection tracking; and local services to support the needs of city-dwellers homebound amid the national lockdown.

Spain currently ranks second worldwide in terms of Covid-19 deaths, with 8,189 registered fatalities, and third in terms of confirmed infections, at 94,417, as of April 1 morning local time. As a result, health and other services are struggling to cope, and there is a severe shortage of emergency-room beds, tests, ventilators and protective gear. All non-essential work has been stopped for two weeks, until April 9, in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

#StopCorona currently hosts more than 80 predominantly Spanish projects, harnessing the ecosystem's know-how and experience toward a common goal: to provide free initiatives for the health sector via data collation, information and tech proposals in a single resource and with the sole objective of preventing the collapse of the public health sector from over-demand. 

The initiative is the brainchild of Madrid-based VC Samaipata. It unites Spanish tech companies, including gig economy unicorns Cabify and Glovo; big data analytics players like CARTO, a major global location intelligence platform, and social data intelligence platform Citibeats; and telecoms company MásMóvil. The portal also includes resources from international players ranging from IBM and Apple to prominent research institutes such as Imperial College and the University of Washington. 

"In the same way that the ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors and tech experts have known how to accelerate exponential user growth in their apps and platforms and balance it with complex offer structures, I am certain that, between us, we can launch initiatives that contribute to the containment of the virus and to scale hospital capacity,” said Samaipata's Founding Partner José del Barrio. 

Free resources for citizens and health professionals

The initiatives hosted by #StopCorona are divided into the areas of Data Services, with 34 initiatives; Tech Developments, with 15 projects; and Other Solidarity Projects, with a total of 33 free resources. All of the projects automatically form part of the #StopCoronaChallenge competition and can be voted for by visitors to the portal. Winners will receive €5m in credit for Amazon Web Services. 

Currently, the most popular of the projects in data analysis is #RepositorioDatosC19, an extensive database on the Covid-19 situation nationally. Created by journalism site Datadista and hosted by GitHub, it is aimed at public health and governmental authorities. The database contains the most up-to-date information on confirmed hospitalizations, deaths, recoveries, hotels available for emergency use and masks in each community, among other data. 

The most voted-for tech development at present is the Madrid Autonomous Community's #CovidApp, or AsistenciaCovid19: a symptom checker for Madrid's more than 5m inhabitants, as well as a resource for receiving official updates and recommendations. The app was developed by location intelligence platform CARTO, sales CRM ForceManager and online design studio MendesAltaren.

The most voted-for initiative under the Other Solidarity Projects category is currently #COVID19_BeCertify, a platform from Barcelona-based blockchain certification startup BeCertify. It provides verifiable permits for essential workers, who need digital certification to be mobile under Spain's strict current confinement rules. Only those providing services deemed essential are allowed to leave home, with strict police enforcement and fines being imposed nationwide. 

From ventilators to food services

There are a host of other services, applications and technologies available via the initiative. 

There are also resources to assist in the manufacture of essential equipment experiencing supply problems, such as ventilators and masks. #OpenSourceC19Library is a collaborative project between UK and Spanish engineers to share know-how and designs and make sure medical equipment and ventilators are rolled out where most needed as soon as possible. It was launched by engineering platform Geomiq.

#The Open Ventilator is an artificial respirator technology project for Covid-19 patients launched by talent spotters and developers Celera. An open-source and non-profit project, it has come up with a ventilator prototype and made available its source code for the software that runs the machine, which can be easily and quickly assembled from certified and tested parts widely available in medical facilities and online stores. Anyone can download the design, software source code and manual with instructions to assemble. 

A volunteer team of 30 built the product prototype in less than a week at Madrid's King Juan Carlos University and aims to rush it into production to fill the continuing need for respirators. The product meets the basic requirements of Spanish health authorities and regulators.

AI platform for sports intelligence Olocip, founded by ex-Real Madrid player Esteban Granero, has produced #Evolucion por Comunidad COVID19. The resource shows predictive models for the virus' evolution throughout Spain's 17 autonomous communities to help planning and informed decision-making by each region. The resource predicts that Madrid reached its peak of cases on March 29 and foresees that April 2 will be the peak date in terms of those infected nationwide.

#StopCorona also hosts services designed to help with other areas of life affected by the virus. #Online Delivery para restaurantes is a resource for restaurant owners without delivery services that have been forced to close. It is offered by food delivery platform Tu Menu a Casa, enabling the owners to set up deliveries from their premises 

#AccionesSolidarias is a platform from gifting platform Gratix to offer all manner of items as presents to those in need. #YoMeQuedoContigo is a service provided by influencer marketing tool Influencity to ensure that Spanish households can access all kinds of resources during home confinement, from tools to allow home working to entertainment for kids. 

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Edited by Matt Stanley

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