#Montreal; #Covid19TracingApp; #MILA; #AIResearchInstitute; #COVI
Montreal (Quebec), May 18 (Canadian-Media): A tracking app COVI designed to protect people from COVID-19 and limit its spread has been launched by Montreal-based artificial intelligence (AI) research institute MILA, media reports said.
The app COVI has the potential to identify people, similar to contact tracing, who’ve been exposed to COVID-19, MILA president Valrie Pisano said.
Valerie Pisano. Image credit: Facebook
COVI Canada, an independent not-for-profit with sole mission to support Canadians in their fight against Covid-19 brings together a coalition of of over 500 Canadian researchers and experts, combining research from public health, epidemiology, privacy, machine learning (ML), ethics and psychology.
With the aim to collect information from different people through a network. COVI aims to help calculate one’s probability of catching the virus.
COVI. Image credit: Facebook Page
It is believed by the institute that the app will be authentic to lift social distancing measures.
The institute is in talks with governments at multiple levels, including the federal government, to permit the usage of the app over the next few weeks, said Pisano.
On Friday Mylène Drouin, Montreal’s public health director said that her team has been preparing to study apps that can trace COVID-19.
Pisano said MILA’s proposed app is one of them.
Montreal leads Canada both in terms of the number of COVID-19-related deaths and the number of confirmed cases.
A word from Yoshua Bengio, Mila Scientific Director and COVI lead
#Pandemic; #DigitalVoiceTechnology; #ViceActivatedSystems; #GoogleAssistant, #Amazon, #Alexa, #ApplesSiri;
New York, May 10 (Canadian-Media): In a world suddenly fearful of touch, voice technology is getting a fresh look, phys.org/news reports said.
Voice-activated digital assistants such as Amazon's Alexa and rivals from Google, Apple and others may become more important in light of the virus pandemic.
Voice-activated systems such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple's Siri have seen strong growth in recent years, and the virus pandemic could accelerate that, analysts say.
Voice assistants are not only answering queries and shopping, but also being used for smart home control and for a range of business and medical applications which could see increased interest as people seek to limit personal contact.
"Voice has already made significant inroads into the smart home space and voice control can mean avoiding commonly touched surfaces around the home from smartphones, to TV remotes, light switches, thermostats, door handles and more," said analyst Jonathan Collins of ABI Research.
The pandemic is likely to provide "additional motivation and incentive for voice control in the home that will help drive awareness and adoption for a range of additional smart home devices and applications," Collins said.
ABI estimates that voice control device shipments for smart home devices hit 141 million last year, and in 2020 will grow globally by close to 30 percent.
For the broader market of voice assistants, Juniper Research estimates 4.2 billion devices in use this year, growing to 8.4 billion by 2024, with much of the interactions on smartphones.
Smart locks, doorbells
Collins said he expected to see growing interest in smart locks and doorbells, along with other smart home systems, to eliminate the need for personal contact and face-to-face interaction as a result of the pandemic.
Avi Greengart, a technology analyst and consultant with Techsponential, said data is not yet available but that "anecdotally, voice assistant usage is way up" as a result of lockdowns.
Greengart said he expects a wider range of business applications for voice technologies in response to health and safety concerns.
"Looking forward, office spaces will need move towards more touch-free controls; voice can be a solution, although motion triggers for lighting is often easier and more friction-free," he said.
"Whilst avoiding touching surfaces may play a small part in this, it is mainly due to consumers spending far more time at home with their devices," Issa said.
Chris Pennell, another Futuresource analyst, said he expects adoption of digital assistants is likely to accelerate, "especially in client facing areas such as healthcare, retail and entertainment."
One example of this already in use is a Mayo Clinic tool using Amazon Alexa which allows people to assess their symptoms and access information on the virus.
Other medical applications are also in the works for voice technologies.
Veton Kepuska, a Florida Tech computer engineering professor who specializes in speech recognition technologies, is seeking to develop voice-activated medical robots that can help limit physical contact and contagion.
"If we had this infrastructure in place, we would have been better off today," said Kepuska, who was spurred by the COVID-19 outbreak to seek funding for the research effort.
Kepuska said this effort could lead to a "humanoid" medical robot which can take over many tasks from doctors or nurses with voice interaction.
"The pandemic has created a situation where we need to think about how to deliver services to people who need our help without putting ourselves in danger," he said.
#Ontario; #PublicHealth; #DigitalTools; #CanadaSafety
Ottawa, May 1 (Canadian-Media): A joint announcement was made Apr 30 by Patty Hajdu, federal Minister of Health, Joyce Murray, federal Minister of Digital Government, and Bill Blair, federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, about intoduction of two new digital tools, Get Updates on COVID-19, and ArriveCan, to support the health and wellness of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
Patty Hajdu. Image credit: Facebook
The government of Canada is already equipped with Canada COVID-19 mobile app, a free self-assessment tool with a symptom tracker, and information on mental health and substance use support through the Wellness Together Canada portal.
Developed by Health Canada, the Canadian Digital Service (CDS), and Service Canada, 'Get Updates on COVID-19' is a web-based email service that provides subscribers with critical information related to the pandemic as well as directing them to important and authoritative content on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 website, Canada.ca/coronavirus.
After signing up with 'Get Updates on COVID-19', Canadians will be notified by emails of any important information update on COVID-19 with a link to more information on Canada.ca/coronavirus.
During the first week of its testing phase, over 10,000 Canadians subscribed to Get Updates on COVID-19 on Canada.ca/covid19updates.
Canadians not registered with Get Updates on COVID-19 email notification service will still receive emergency notifications on their mobile phone through provincial and territorial Alert Ready text notifications or “Amber Alerts”.
The email service is separate from existing provincial and territorial emergency alerts.
ArriveCan app, developed in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency, has been launched across the country to facilitate travelers returning to Canada to input their 14-day isolation or quarantine information quickly, easily and securely.
The app works by digitizing the information collected in paper form that travelers must complete including flight or border crossing details, any symptoms of COVID-19 exhibited by the travelers, and if they have quarantine accommodations. This app also limits physical contact between travelers and Border Services Officers and Quarantine Officers, helping to protect both the travelers and the officers.
However, this app will not be used to automatically track people’s location through their phone or via GPS, nor is it a surveillance tool.
The Government of Canada prioritizes the protection of Canadians’ information and any tool used to collect personal information undergoes a rigorous privacy assessment.
Tech & Innovation