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Here’s how three Israeli tech companies are helping tackle COVID-19

By Damian Radcliffe for Heat Sink | 

Israel has a track record as a hub for startups and innovation – now it’s using those resources to take on the coronavirus.



Based in Bnei Brak, east of Tel Aviv, Israel’s startup capital, Octopus Systems provides command-and-control software and apps, technologies that were deployed earlier this year when its home city faced a major coronavirus outbreak.So what is OCTOPUS, and how does it work?

The city, a center of ultra-Orthodox Judaism and home to 220,000 people, was one of the hardest hit locations for the virus in Israel, with over 2,000 infections.

As the New York Times explained, “The very customs that have protected its venerable traditions from change – strict limits on modern technology, an aversion to secular media, a deep suspicion of state institutions – had deafened Bnei Brak’s residents to urgent public health warnings.”

Alongside this issue, the city has a population density three times that of Manhattan, further exacerbating the challenge of getting an outbreak under control.

In response to the pandemic, the city went into lockdown and began to look at how tech might help aid the crisis.

The situation we faced in Bnei Brak was very unusual, as we needed to implement high-tech solutions in a city whose population rejects technology,” noted Tal Bar-Or, CEO of Octopus Systems.

Octopus initially deployed 500 cameras throughout the city, alongside drones and observation balloons, which fed into its command-and-control system.

Its platform was also used as a central management system for 16,500 cases of food delivered each day, as part of 1,600 daily “missions” undertaken by frontline workers.

As the city emerged from lockdown, Octopus used QR technology to enable businesses to reopen. Using a camera placed at the entrance of their office, employees scanned a personal QR code, enabling the camera to detect their temperature. If that’s above normal, then the employee would be denied entry to the building.

In September, it was announced that the company would be rolling out its technology to support employee and visitor screening at businesses and schools in the USA.

Source: Channel 12, Israel/YouTube