The full range of technologies in Industry 4.0 should be used in tandem to combat the coronavirus pandemic. This theory may well be put to the test when a new application integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI), « Big Data » and Blockchain is launched in South Korea.
Supported by Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, South Korean mobile phone operator and Internet service provider KT has announced the launch of an application for smartphones running « on chain », called « Study of Health Information for Next Epidemic » (SHINE). The application, the company said, will collect data for researchers and could be used to feed AI, blockchain and Big Data’s efforts to provide key information to doctors fighting infectious diseases.
The project has been in the works for more than six months. In April 2020, KT announced its collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A number of other players in the South Korean health and medical informatics scene have also been working on the application, including the Korea University Medical Center and the Korea Institute of Information Science and Technology, as well as Mobile Doctor, a smartphone application developer specializing in health monitoring software. MediBloc, a company run by healthcare professionals, also participated in the project.
KT and the Gates Foundation have each provided approximately $5.5 million to support the project, which now appears to be on track to bear fruit. According to Kyungjae, the application keeps health care professionals and users informed of the current level of risk not only of coronavirus, but also of other infectious diseases that cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, high temperature, headache and persistent cough.
The application can be downloaded via OneStore, Apple Store and a website managed by KT. The companies also said that users who volunteer to submit their data could receive up to $18 in gift cards.
The application will also be used in a number of large-scale medical trials at four of Korea University’s affiliated hospitals, and will also collect data from respiratory tests conducted by the institutions’ doctors – doctors seeking a predictive model of disease spread patterns using AI and blockchain technology.
A Gates Foundation official spoke of « increasing preparedness and responsiveness to infectious diseases » by providing « low-income families » with KT’s « cutting-edge health solutions ».
This development is likely to find support within the government-Seoul has championed Industry 4.0 solutions to help the country fight the pandemic and mitigate its economic impact. The « Digital New Deal », a multi-billion-dollar project born out of Moon Jae-in’s presidency, has emphasized a holistic approach to funding progress related to Blockchain and Industry 4.0, particularly in the area of contactless computing solutions.
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