i3 - May/June 2020 - 16

A GROUP EFFORT

The research and tools being developed in response
to COVID-19 are being widely shared. The response
to this virus has inspired unexpected partnerships
between the tech and medical worlds.
For its part, IBM is helping to put data in the hands
of users by developing a new incident map for COVID19 with access to crisis communications, remote
learning and other vital resources via Weather.com,
which can track localized cases on smartphones and
other web- and GPS-enabled devices.
Cameron Clayton, general manager of IBM's The
Weather Company in Atlanta, says the goal is to help
users stay informed, and to provide resources that
encourage people to better navigate stay-at-home
orders and social distancing where they live. "We are
16

MAY/JUNE 2020

i3_0520_14-17_Feature_Covid.indd 16

Above:
Swabs from
a 3D
Formlabs
printer.
Left:
Keeping in
touch using
Zoom.

Apple's website and app
dedicated to
providing
COVID-19
resources.

GM TRANSITIONS TO
MAKE FACE MASKS
AND VENTILATORS

When the U.S. government placed
the call for more personal protecGeneral
tive equipment, GM answered. The
Motors
Detroit-based automaker is one of
making
several U.S. manufacturing giants
face masks.
that's successfully transitioned its
supply chain from making vehicles
to in-demand medical supplies.
"Our ultimate goal is to get more masks to people
who desperately need them," says Shilpan Amin,
GM's vice president of Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. Not only is the automaker's production
plan and willingness to share design specifications
inspiring other manufacturers to accelerate their
own production of vital medical supplies, they've
become a case study in how a company can literally
shift gears to fulfill the needs of communities they
serve in times of crisis.
"Our team at GM has shown ingenuity, creativity
and heart as we face this pandemic," Mark Reuss,
GM's president, says. "We have mobilized our
manufacturing capacity to aid in response
efforts, and we've been actively engaged in our
communities to help find solutions to new and
compounding challenges."
GM reports it can make as many as 50,000 masks
per day, while they have also licensed a ventilator
design in a bigger effort that includes Ford Motor
Company. Together they expect to produce 50,000
new ventilators by July.
It required cooperation and training, says
Karsten Garbe, GM's plant director for Global PreProduction Operations. "In a few days," she says,
"the company's seat belt and interior trim experts
became experts in manufacturing face masks."

Top to Bottom: Courtesy of FormLabs, Courtesy of Zoom, John F. Martin for General Motor, Courtesy of Apple

Captain Patrick Ryan of the Maury County
Fire Department in Tennessee. He says,
"Interoperability between different types
of radio networks allows our departments
to combine everyone's radio channel onto
one device."
Other tech giants like Apple in Cupertino,
CA, have found new ways to share data. In
partnership with the Centers for Disease
Control (CDC), the White House's
Coronavirus Task Force
and
the
Fe d e r a l
Emergency Management
Agency, Apple launched a
website and app dedicated to COVID-19 facts
and resources to help
users screen for symptoms while providing data
on everything from testing to social distancing.
The CDC and other
medical agencies have
also repurposed online tools to disseminate facts about the virus,
like chatbots from Redmond, WA-based Microsoft that answer
questions about COVID-19 across diverse platforms.
Overwhelmed switchboards at hospitals, for example, are using
these AI-powered bots to manage calls.
Microsoft is also collaborating with the Institute for Health
Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington to create
a series of data visualizations to predict when the virus will peak
in each state, while a new collaboration with biotech company
Adaptive Biotechnologies in Seattle is studying immune responses
to the virus. The hope is the research will yield advancements in
treatment and ultimately a vaccine.
According to Dr. Peter Lee, corporate vice president of AI and
research at Microsoft, "The solution to COVID-19 is not likely
going to come from one person, one company or one country.
This is a global issue, and it will be a global effort to solve it."

I T I S I N N O VAT I O N

5/13/20 12:49 PM


http://www.Weather.com

i3 - May/June 2020

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