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Apple and Google Develop Tracing System that Can Turn Smartphones into COVID-Tracking Devices

Professor of Financial Economics and Part-time Value Investor, Transfin.
Apr 11, 2020 2:37 PM 6 min read
Editorial

Apple and Google develop an opt-in contact-tracing system that can track if someone has been in contact with a person infected by COVID-19. Decision on whether to extend lockdown expected soon. States pitch for more economic resources and firepower to fight the pandemic. Pandemic’s impacts to be felt beyond six months, says EY survey. Streaming services struggle to create more content to meet surge in demand.

 

 

INDIA IN LOCKDOWN

Decision on whether to extend lockdown expected soon.

Ideating for a Way Out

Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a discussion over video conference with Chief Ministers over whether the nationwide lockdown, which is supposed to end on April 14th, should be extended. A decision on this matter is expected soon.

 

Many states pitched for a lockdown extension. These included Kerala, West Bengal, UP, Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi. Others like Andhra Pradesh suggested a partial lockdown.

 

States pitch for more economic resources and firepower to fight the pandemic.

States have also sought more resources and economic firepower to battle the pandemic. These include GST money, a year’s moratorium on interest, crop loan waivers, relief for MSME, leveraging MGNREGA, and a larger economic stimulus package. [Livemint]

 

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India has crossed 7,000 and number of deaths stands at 249 as of April 11th.

 

Extra Crunch

In its recent business update yesterday, Avenue Supermarts said nearly 50% of its stores remain closed for operations, footfalls are low and sale of non-essential items has stopped. [ET]

 

Avenue Supermarts Limited, promoted by veteran Mumbai investor Radhakishan Damani, who directly and indirectly holds more than 80% of the company, has rallied more than 30% year-to-date, in spite of going below year start level in between due to the wider market impact of the coronavirus. So much so, that being a top retail player, some experts consider it a potential multibagger amid the pandemic. The big question is – Is DMart’s share price target justified? [TRANSFIN.]

 

LIFE AFTER COVID

Pandemic’s impacts to be felt beyond six months, says EY survey.

After the Storm

The COVID-19 pandemic will die down one day, but its effects will continue to be felt long afterwards.

 

As per an EY survey of 100+ organisations across sectors in India, 72% of organisations see the pandemic’s impact continuing to resonate beyond six months. For around 70% of them, the single biggest concern for continued remote working is the fall in productivity. [Hindu BusinessLine]

 

Aviation industry stares at an uncertain future.

Que Sera Sera

The aviation industry has been severely hit by the nationwide lockdown, which began on March 25th. Once the lockdown is lifted and normalcy begins to creep in, airlines will still have to confront a changed market – consumers will likely be reluctant to fly as frequently as they used to before the crisis, especially if it is to foreign countries.

 

In addition to this, the sector will have to follow special rules for some time at least. One of these would be keeping the middle seats empty in both Business and Economy classes. IndiGo, incidentally, has said it will sanitise its aircraft more frequently and briefly stop in-flight meal services post-lockdownn. [NDTV]

 

THE WORLD AT HOME

Study says only 0.2% of IT workforce compatible for work from home.

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

A new study by SCIKEY MindMatch suggests that only 0.2% of the IT workforce is highly productive while working from home. The remaining 99.8% lack at least one of the qualities required to ensure productivity, including resistance to learning and exploring (95%), lack in practical communication skills (65%) and lack in planning and execution (71%). [BS]

 

Extra Crunch

Work from home can be a challenge for both employers and employees, and it may not be your cup of tea. But these days, it’s a compulsion. So we might as well embrace it and try to be at our efficient best while at it! Here are 8 Work from Home Tips for you. [TRANSFIN.]

 

Streaming services struggle to create more content to meet surge in demand.

Netflix and Need More Shows We Will

Manufacturing and services industries across the world have seen demand drop as nations impose lockdowns and economies enter into recession. The streaming industry, however, is facing the opposite problem. It has seen demand for online streaming surge as millions stay at home while at the same time finding itself at a dead end when it comes to being able to produce new shows and movies to satisfy consumers’ rising thirst for home entertainment. Here’s a detailed piece on the paradox the industry is dealing with. [WSJ]

 

APPLE AND GOOGLE

Tech giants develop an opt-in contact-tracing system that can track if someone has been in contact with a person infected by COVID-19.

Big Tech’s Big Partnership

Apple and Google have teamed up to develop contact-tracing technology that can help individuals determine if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

 

The system works as an API that public health agencies can integrate into their own apps. It uses on-board radios on iOS and Android devices to send an anonymous ID over short ranges using Bluetooth. Servers compare your transmitted IDs with other devises’ IDs to search for a match. In case you have crossed paths with someone who was infected in the last 14 days, you will be alerted so that you can get yourself tested. [TechCrunch]

 

System promises to help in fight against virus, but obstacles and doubts remain.

Coronavirus vs Smartphones

Apple and Google’s bid to turn ordinary smartphones into coronavirus tracking devices is a major partnership, and could help health agencies in their fight against the virus. However, it comes with baggage and issues of its own. Besides the privacy concerns associated with such an undertaking, there are the obstacles like the accuracy of Bluetooth tech and the question of just how long Big Tech will leave these contact-tracing tools embedded in their mobile operating systems. Here’s an in-depth analysis of the Apple-Google collaboration and its implications. [Vox Recode]

 

WORLD

Oil prices fall on fears that oil production cut will be insufficient to offset fall in demand.

A Deal to Await

A historic deal to cut oil production by 10% negotiated by crude oil producing nations around the world is still yet to materialise despite Russia and Saudi Arabia agreeing to the cuts in principle. Mexico walked out of the talks and is yet to come onboard; meanwhile, the US has pitched additional cuts to pacify its southern neighbour’s concerns.

 

Oil prices fell on Friday nonetheless as traders feared even a conclusive deal would be insufficient to offset a historic drop in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak. [Guardian]

 

Worldwide confirmed coronavirus cases cross 1.6m, US worst-affected country with 500,000+ cases.

Corona Update

As of April 11th, the number of global confirmed cases of the coronavirus has crossed 1,696,000 and the death toll has topped 100,000. The US has become the country with the most cases by a wide margin, having crossed the 500,000 mark yesterday. [CNBC]

 

Meanwhile

Lifting coronavirus lockdown measures “too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence" in infections, the World Health Organisation has warned. [BBC]

FIN.

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