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Microsoft will become ‘water positive' by 2030
by Paul Hill
Microsoft has announced that it plans to become ‘water positive’ by 2030. This means that it will replenish more water than it uses by putting water into stressed basins. It also plans to make water more accessible to underserved communities.
While a lot of companies have emphasised on switching to renewable energy, water usage has been somewhat overlooked, but it is still a vital part of climate change and health discussions. Microsoft plans to invest in projects such as wetland restoration and the removal of surfaces like asphalt to help replenish water in basins that most need it.
According to the firm, a basin is stressed if the amount of water withdrawn goes over 40% of the renewable supply. Of the 16,396 basins worldwide, 4,717 basins are classified as stressed. Microsoft’s efforts will focus on 40 highly stressed basins.
Discussing how the private sector can act to help the water situation, Microsoft’s President Brad Smith said:
Aside from helping to replenish water, Microsoft wants to ensure that people can access it safely for drinking and sanitation. It will partner with NGOs to accomplish this and will ultimately ensure 1.5 million people get access to water. It will partner with Water.org at first to help underserved communities in Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Mexico. It will then expand to work with partners in China, Malaysia, and South Africa.
By Hamza Jawad
Microsoft extends cloud-based health alliance with Allscripts
by Hamza Jawad
Last month, Microsoft unveiled a five-year deal with John Hopkins Medicine, centered around Azure. A few weeks before that, the tech giant launched Cloud for Healthcare, its first industry-specific cloud offering. Now, in a further move combining the power of cloud with the healthcare industry, Microsoft has announced a five-year extension to its strategic alliance with Allscripts.
The partnership, which undertakes the development of cloud-based health IT solutions, will now support Allscripts' cloud-based Sunrise electronic health record as well. Sunrise is described as an "integrated EHR that connects all aspects of care, including acute, ambulatory, surgical, pharmacy, radiology and laboratory services including an integrated revenue cycle and patient administration system". Microsoft is now the cloud provider for the aforementioned solution.
Paul Black, Allscripts CEO, commented on the significance of this partnership under the global pandemic situation, noting:
Microsoft will not only be providing Allscripts the ability to utilize the Azure platform, but more of its services such as Teams and Power BI as well as part of this renewed alliance.
Samsung partners with fitness brands to bring apps to its TVs
by Paul Hill
Samsung has announced that its smart TVs will begin to host wellness apps after it formed partnerships with a selection of brands including barre3, Calm, Echelon, Fitplan, Jillian Michaels Fitness, and obé Fitness. While the services will become part of Samsung Health later in the year, they’ve been made available now to help people that are stuck at home due to COVID-19.
Commenting on the news, Salek Brodsky, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development for Samsung Electronics, said:
The apps vary by availability, here’s the list:
barre3 is available on 2018 and 2019 Samsung smart TVs in the U.S. and Canada. Fitplan is available on 2019 models in the U.S., Canada, UK, and Australia. Echelon FitPass is available on TVs from 2018 and 2019 in the U.S., Canada, UK, and Australia. Jillian Michaels Fitness is available on 2018 and 2019 TVs in the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. obé is available on 2018 and 2019 models in the U.S. and Canada. Calm is available on 2019 TVs in the U.S., Canada, UK, Korea, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, UAE, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Morocco. All of the apps will be part of Samsung Health on 2020 models but availability is based on region. The apps that are being introduced focus on both body and mind so they should be quite helpful when it comes to people being shut-in their homes for extended periods.
KaiOS Technologies outlines how it helps users fight COVID-19
by Paul Hill
KaiOS Technologies, the maker of the third-biggest mobile operating system – KaiOS – has outlined what it is doing to help its users fight COVID-19. As KaiOS targets people just now connecting to the internet, they tend to be low-income and more susceptible to contracting and spreading COVID-19, according to the firm.
The company said on its website that it’s supporting developers that are creating solutions to tackle COVID-19 and that it’s working with carriers to promote the apps “to the largest number of users.” Three apps that the firm outlined are BeSafe, COVID-19 Stats, and Life. It said that it also has an upcoming announcement that will discuss a new project with the government of Nigeria and a local digital agency which will make virtual learning a possibility in the country – the project includes distributing devices, for free, to students in Nigeria.
The first app which KaiOS Technologies is advocating is called BeSafe. It’s a simple app with essential information about COVID-19 and how to stay safe. The content is sourced from the World Health Organization (WHO) and is available in English, French, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Urdu, Arabic, Swahili, and Russian. The app has been available on the KaiStore since March 23 and has become the second most popular app on the platform. Push notifications and texts, sent by carriers, are making more people aware of the app.
The second app is COVID-19 Stats. It includes information about the number of total cases, active cases, and deaths around the world by country. Most people in developed countries can easily grab this information from various places but when your only internet-connected device is a KaiOS phone, then this app becomes quite useful to see what is happening. It is available in French and English.
Finally, Life is an app that gives first-time internet users access to tools and resources in digital skills, health, education, and other vital topics. The app also includes coronavirus-related information from UNICEF and the WHO. From the app, users can also activate the World Health Organization’s WhatsApp chatbot which can answer queries in real-time. The Life app is being popularised through ad campaigns for the app inside of KaiOS apps and games.
In other news, KaiOS announced that it was continuing to expand in Latin America with the launch of the Alcatel 3078 in Mexico. This device supports Wi-Fi and 3G and costs $32 (779 Pesos). It has a 2.4” display, 512MB of storage (expandable to 32GB via MicroSD), and comes with a 1,030mAh battery that provides hours of talk time. Those that pick up the device will, of course, have access to all the COVID-19 apps mentioned earlier.
Uber for Business launches Eats in new markets
by Paul Hill
Uber for Business is bringing its Eats service to more markets around the world. The launch begins today in Brazil, Canada, France, and the United Kingdom but will launch in over 20 countries in total this year. Uber for Business decided to expand its Eats service after getting messages from companies looking to support employees that are being forced to work from home. The move will help restaurants partnered with Uber Eats as they’ll get more custom.
According to Uber, several new features are coming to the platform alongside today’s announcement. One of these includes employees having the ability to use their individual corporate cards to manage their orders through a business profile on the Uber Eats app or on the website. Some other new added features include:
Uber didn’t state which other countries are set to receive the new service but it should make an announcement at a later date before launching in those countries.