Cities to tap IT companies to build Covid-19 fighting tools

Thu, 2020-04-16 11:49 -- SCC India Staff

Cities to tap IT

Indian cities are tapping tech firms such as Tech Mahindra, HCL Technologies and Infosys to build solutions that could help them tackle the spread of Covid-19. The Pimpri-Chinchwad township, adjacent to Pune in Maharashtra, turned to its smart-city partner Tech Mahindra in mid-March as it took steps to reduce the spread of the coronavirus after reporting a few initial cases.

Within three days, Tech Mahindra added new programs to the existing smart-city infrastructure and started helping with aspects like contact-tracing and monitoring people under home quarantine. “Using tech along with community-led initiatives … has helped contain the growth in numbers,” Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation commissioner Shravan Hardikar said.

In Pimpri-Chinchwad, it took 21 days for the number of Covid-19 cases to double from 12, significantly slower than in other parts of the country. “PCMC has been the first mover in using the smart city infrastructure to help with Covid-19 tracking,” Tech Mahindra business head-APAC Sujit Baksi said.

For instance, the company already had cameras installed as part of a traffic-monitoring solution. These have been used to track people movement during the lockdown. It is now using drones for aerial surveillance and will soon roll out a geo-fencing solution to make sure that patients are restricted to a certain area. It is also providing information on when stores and pharmacies are open.

Tech Mahindra has also helped set up a disaster management war room which allows the core team to track active patients. HCL Technologies has set up a control centre for the Gautam Buddh Nagar district administration in Uttar Pradesh to help respond to citizens’ queries on Covid-19. “This centre will play a critical part in our response to the pandemic,” district magistrate Suhas LY said.

In Karnataka, the Government has tapped Infosys BPM to set up a call center where agents call up people who have come from overseas to ensure that they followed isolation rules. In Hyderabad, the Telangana Government has a ‘Covid-19 Monitoring System App’, built by a startup, Vera Smart Healthcare, to identify and monitor people who are in isolation and provide real-time analytics.