IBM releases Call for Code kits focused on building COVID-19 solutions

IBM releases Call for Code kits focused on building COVID-19 solutions
Editor at TechForge Media. Often sighted at global tech conferences with a coffee in one hand and laptop in the other. If it's geeky, I'm probably into it.

IBM has published three Call for Code starter kits aimed towards helping developers build COVID-19 solutions.

The company's Call for Code challenge is now in its third iteration and initially focused on the other pressing issue of our time, climate change. 

Participants are still being tasked with building climate change-related solutions but will now also be able to submit ones relating to COVID-19.

Daniel Krook, CTO of Call for Code, said:

"We have learned how passionate developers are about solving the world's most pressing issues, and how Call for Code's infrastructure gives developers, data scientists, students, and subject matter experts the infrastructure they need to move from ideation through implementation.

Publishing developer-friendly starter kits has been key to help get developers up-and-running fast."

Getting solutions in the hands of people fast is exactly what's needed during this pandemic, but they need to be safe and effective.

Willie Tejada, chief developer advocate for IBM, says he was personally inspired by an email the company received "from an elderly, at-risk individual in the UK who is quarantined and struggling with a lack of grocery delivery options because local stores are overwhelmed with orders."

Here are the three COVID-19 kits published by IBM:

  • Crisis communication: In times of crisis, communications systems are one of the first systems to become overwhelmed. Chatbots help respond to tens, even hundreds, of thousands of messages a day. COVID-19 has prompted many people to seek answers about symptoms and testing sites as well as the current status of schools, transportation, and other public services. Using Watson Assistant, this Call for Code starter kit has designed a virtual assistant pre-loaded to understand and respond to common questions about COVID-19, scan COVID-19 news articles using Watson Discovery, and respond to COVID statistics inquires with data from trusted sources.

  • Remote education: It’s imperative that learning and creating can continue when educational institutions have to shift the way they teach in times of crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing a set of open source tools, backed by IBM Cloud and Watson Services, will enable educators to more easily make content available for their students.

  • Community cooperation: There is a growing interest in enabling communities to cooperate among themselves to solve problems in times of crisis. In the COVID-19 crisis, we have already seen problems with the local supply of food, equipment, and other supplies. Mobile, web, and cloud services enable rapid deployment of applications that can empower cooperation in the community.

For those interested, here are the climate change kits:

  • Water sustainability: This IoT-based solution aims to help farmers, particularly those in shifting climate realities, monitor hyper-localized weather data and adapt their crop strategies to optimize water usage.

  • Energy sustainability: With a goal of building consumer awareness about energy costs across the manufacturing process, this solution creates the framework for a new global product labeling system that would include a comprehensive Climate Impact Rating (CIR), similar to the labels on food products, with incentives for consumers and retailers to drive purchases of more efficient products.

  • Disaster resiliency: To help communities prepare for floods, this app will provide residents with education at all stages of an event, from a checklist of essential survival materials to real-time information on the capacity of local shelters.

Each of the kits include a description of the starter solution, an architectural diagram, and a tutorial with starter code and reference materials.

IBM has partnered with a range of third-party companies to help participants improve their solutions in powerful ways. For example, the HERE Location Services APIs will allow developers to access geospatial data, routing, geofencing, and interactive maps.

The company announced that the challenge would be expanded to include COVID-19 solutions last week. IBM said that it received over 1,000 registrations from developers in a single day and that first responders and at-risk individuals have also reached out to brainstorm solutions.

You can find out more about IBM’s challenge and how to register here.

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located 5G ExpoIoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo, and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London, and Amsterdam.

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