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.