A glimpse into how technology helps us power through these difficult times
“It is a fragile situation in which caution is required, not exuberance.”
— Angela Merkel
After two months of living in these pandemic times, we have moved from a combative to a containment mode. Last week’s address by the German Chancellor aptly summarizes how we should train our mindset. In the coming weeks we will learn to live with virus instead of just wishing that it goes away.
As a response to this unprecedented crisis, German government launched the largest remote hackathon in the world to enable technologist and enthusiast across Germany and Europe to come together to create new possibilities and solutions to empower individuals and communities to fight this situation together. The #WirvsVirus Hackathon.
The hackathon saw an enthusiastic participation from programmers, designers, marketers and everyone who wanted to contribute towards solving problems created due to COVID-19. The hackathon had a total of 43,000 participants, addressing a total of 836 pre-formulated challenges. The hackathon resulted in countless solutions which are at different stages of development. Let us have a look at some of the most exciting ones.
Testing early and often is the key
Germany has managed to reach a weekly testing capacity of 500,000. As of now the testing in only limited to individuals with symptoms or for people who have been in close contact with someone who is infected. In the coming months, the test will be widely available, and anyone interested will have the opportunity to get themselves tested. The demand is going to be huge and will require a solution allowing everyone to schedule their tests, so that laboratories are not overwhelmed managing the crowd. Sichertest will allow people to book appointments for their test so that potential chaos testing centers is avoided.
The government has been at the forefront of ensuring that small business and entrepreneurs don’t end up winding up their businesses. The federal as well as the state government has announced various fiscal assistance packages that can help companies and startups survive this economic slowdown. However, the process of finding out about the grants and applying for them is cumbersome.
wir-bleiben-liqui is created to help people avail state assistance to overcome this economic hardship
Talking about economic hardships, not only small businesses but even large enterprises have been severely impacted. Many corporations have been forced to cut costs and lay off employees to protect their long-term interests. In such a situation, employees have the option of going on a short-term work arrangement with their employers where they can work partially and instead be compensated by the Federal government while keeping their employment safe. Kurze-arbeit helps people navigate through the process of applying for this federal assistance
Keeping in touch
Quarantine has given us all plenty of free time to catch up with friends and family spread all over the world. Apps such as Whatsapp, Telegram, Houseparty are on a massive surge. However, elderly who may not be so smart phone friendly are left with very limited options to stay connected with their near and dear ones. Videobesuch is a simple and easy to use video chat tool for elders in senior care home so that they can continue keeping in touch with their family as well as other residents of the home while maintaining social distancing norms
Bringing volunteers closer to the elderly
The worst hit in this pandemic are the elderly, especially the ones who are staying alone and away from family. Various volunteer groups have propped up to help them with getting the essential supplies, medicines and grocery. However, most of these groups are online. Machbarschaft helps bring these groups of volunteers closer to elderly who are not well versed with the internet.
Neighborhoods store getting online
Small shops are getting back on track, however footfalls and store visits continue to remain extremely low. Selling your goods online has always been an opportunity however may small business haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet. Since registering with e-commerce giants is often very complicated and difficult to understand. Smallbusinesshero helps business wade through the process of selling online.
Let faith take you where wisdom cannot
For many, their faith is their strongest source of comfort and hope in these difficult times. Since all of the religious places are closed for congregation and sermons, people are finding it difficult to connect with their local spiritual leaders in order to find solace and reassurance to help them overcome these times of uncertainty. Meinegemeinde.digital is helping religious institutes move their daily services and sermons online so that people can keep the thread of faith alive.
These are just few of the many interesting projects to have come out of the hackathon and it goes on to show that no challenge is unsurmountable if we all come put our minds to work and find a way out of this as a community. As we stand at this important juncture, our collective intelligence, leadership, faith in science and desire to overcome obstacle is what will help us surmount this challenge.