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Tech Roundup, Apr. 17 | Startups to help Covid-19 fight

. Apr 17, 2020
startups telemedicine

You’re reading The Brazilian Report‘s weekly tech roundup, a digest of the most important news on technology and innovation in Brazil. This week’s topics: how startups can help the government fight the coronavirus. The digitization of police reports in times of social distancing. And more.

Rio Grande do Sul seeks help from startups against Covid-19

As Brazil looks for ways to pivot its traditional industry to encourage efforts to fight Covid-19,

the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul took a new approach to the issue by mobilizing startup companies based within its boundaries. The state used its innovation panel as a base to launch a new tracker for startups, universities, and innovation environments that are working on all kinds of solutions related to Covid-19. The platform allows users to see what the companies are producing, where they are located, and what kind of resources they need. </p> <p><strong>What are startups doing? </strong>According to the panel, startups are innovating in areas such as data science, hospital management, and medical software.&nbsp;</p> <ul><li>One example is Mais Vida, a system currently being used in the countryside town of Farroupilha. It gathers all health data available on the municipal government&#8217;s system and compiles it on a single platform, alongside features such as telemedicine and the ability to transcribe medical records using voice inputs, saving time for health professionals.&nbsp;</li></ul> <p><strong>How are startups helping?</strong> Mais Vida improves the monitoring of patients, while also informing doctors and the Farroupilha city council on the concentration of Covid-19 cases around the municipality. </p> <ul><li>The company also came up with solutions to diminish privacy concerns, such as increasing data security with encrypted passwords, public key certificates, and biometric identification. The state government is using the data from another startup, InLoco, to<a href="https://estado.rs.gov.br/geolocalizacao-e-ferramenta-eficaz-para-monitorar-aglomeracoes-durante-pandemia"> measure the levels of social isolation</a> in Rio Grande do Sul. </li></ul> <p>— <em>with Brenno Grillo</em></p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Brazil enables citizens to report crimes via official app</h2> <p>The Justice Ministry has updated its &#8220;Sinesp Cidadão” smartphone app, introducing new features such as the possibility to report stolen cars, give tips on the whereabouts of wanted criminals or missing people, as well as report maintenance issues in cities.</p> <ul><li>According to a <a href="https://www.uol.com.br/tilt/noticias/redacao/2020/04/14/sem-bo-app-do-governo-enviara-alerta-de-carro-roubado-direto-a-policia.htm">report</a> by news website <em>UOL</em>, this is the first step toward allowing all police reports to be filed digitally. This process is set to start with the integration of state reporting systems and should be functional by the end of the year.</li></ul> <p><strong>What’s new?</strong> The app&#8217;s new “Citizenship Participation” function will allow users to report fly-tipping, faulty public lighting, and graffiti, with support for uploading images and providing descriptions. These complaints are then forwarded to local authorities. This new function is in a beta phase in five medium-sized cities around the country.</p> <ul><li>The app will also include a list of Brazil’s most wanted criminals, including names, pictures, and information. Citizens will be able to report information about fugitives&#8217; whereabouts directly through the app.</li></ul> <p><strong>What has been updated? </strong>Citizens will now be able to report cases of vehicle theft by simply inserting their license plate number and the location of the crime into the app. A warning will be sent to all app users and the police — allowing officers to begin an immediate search fro the vehicle.</p> <ul><li>This report, however, does not yet replace formal police reports. Previously, the app only displayed incidents of theft where the victim had filed a full police report, which is often a lengthy process.</li><li>Citizens will be also able to upload pictures of missing persons if they have already been reported missing at a police station.&nbsp;</li></ul> <p><strong>Availability. </strong>The Sinesp Cidadão app is available for Android and iOS systems. To access the app, users must have an account on <a href="http://gov.br">gov.br</a>, the Brazilian government&#8217;s online portal. While the government guarantees data will be preserved, “users may be held accountable in case they present false information,” said the director of Integration and Information Management at the National Public Security Secretariat, Wellington Silva.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Take note</h2> <ul><li>Prisons in the state of Rio Grande do Sul have tested video calls between inmates and their families<a href="https://estado.rs.gov.br/rs-tem-primeira-experiencia-de-televisita-no-sistema-prisional"> for the first time ever</a>. In-person visitation has been suspended since March 23 to avoid the spread of Covid-19. Tests were held at the state prison of Jacuí, and 8 out of 10 relatives scheduled were able to contact their families for 10 minutes via audio or video conferences organized by prison staff. According to the director of Rio Grande do Sul’s Prison Services Department, tests will be expanded. </li><li>Fintech Guiabolso released a report showing Brazilians have spent 30 percent more in supermarkets and 15 percent less in bars and restaurants, while spending with transport apps has also decreased by 30 percent. The surprise was food delivery apps, which registered a 23 percent spike in the number of users, while overall spendings on the platforms decreased by 18 percent. The research analyzed data of 254,000 users from March 2 to March 16. </li><li>Brazil has become the first country to test the LinkedIn Stories function this week. The tool will be available for users and also editors, who will focus on Covid-19 coverage for the time being. According to LinkedIn’s Managing News Editor for Latin America and Spain, Rafael Kato, the decision took into consideration Brazil&#8217;s “world-renowned creativity and our strong sense of community.” Brazil currently has 40 million users on the platform, its fourth-biggest market and third-biggest video producer. </li><li>Startup Viziomed has made its AI software available for free to help hospitals speed up diagnosis of medical imaging exams amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The system collects x-ray images and sends them to the platform, which returns the exam with suggestions pointed out by the AI system. Initial tests by the company have shown that x-ray examinations are less accurate than tomography images, but as the AI system has been trained using a combination of both, it helps to make it a more precise and viable option amid the pandemic, says the company. The tool is currently being used by Prevent Senior hospitals, a private healthcare network focused on senior citizens.   </li><li>The Supreme Court has struck down an injunction obtained by telecom carriers to pay a tax to <a href="https://brazilian.report/tech/2020/04/10/social-isolation-measures-to-spur-banks-digital-transformation/">help fund Brazil&#8217;s audiovisual sector.</a> It is the second time Brazil’s Supreme Court has backed the tax, going against the petitions of companies. </li></ul> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Stories you might have missed this week</h2> <ul><li><a href="https://brazilian.report/coronavirus-brazil-live-blog/2020/04/14/bolsonaro-orders-suspension-mobile-phone-monitoring/">Bolsonaro orders suspension of mobile-phone monitoring</a></li><li><a href="https://brazilian.report/coronavirus-brazil-live-blog/2020/04/15/rio-using-talking-drones-curb-public-gatherings/">Rio using “talking drones” to curb public gatherings</a>

 
Natália Scalzaretto

Natália Scalzaretto has worked for companies such as Santander Brasil and Reuters, where she covered news ranging from commodities to technology. Most recently, she worked as an Editor for Trading News, the information division from the TradersClub investor community.

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