KW 3: Smart watches can detect Covid infection early, Saudi Arabia plans car-free mega-smart city, Microsoft invests in Cruise


Smart watches can detect Covid infection early: Smartwatches and other wearable devices that continuously measure users‘ heart rates, skin temperature and other physiological markers can help spot coronavirus infections days before an individual is diagnosed. Devices like the Apple Watch, Garmin and Fitbit watches can predict whether an individual is positive for Covid-19 even before they are symptomatic or the virus is detectable by tests, according to studies from leading medical and academic institutions, including Mount Sinai Health System in New York and Stanford University in California. One of the early signs of a Covid-19 infection is inflammation in infected areas of the body. And when inflammation begins, the body responds by slightly altering blood flow. That change in blood flow can be seen in slight changes to a person’s heartbeat, detectable via smart watches.,

Saudi Arabia plans car-free mega-smart city: Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans to build a zero-carbon, hyper-connected city. According to the kingdom, it is the first time in 150 years that a major urban development has been designed around people, without cars and streets. It will also be built around nature, rather than over it, preserving large areas of land for conservation. Walkability will define life in the city with all essential daily services, such as schools, medical clinics, leisure facilities, as well as green spaces within a five-minute walk. Ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous mobility solutions will make travel easier between the communities and give residents the opportunity to reclaim time to spend on health and wellbeing. It is expected no journey will be longer than 20 minutes.

Microsoft invests in Cruise: Cruise has raised 2 billion dollars in a new equity round that has pushed its valuation up to 30 billion dollars and delivered Microsoft as an investor and partner. GM, Honda and other institutional investors have also put more capital into Cruise as the autonomous vehicle company inches closer to commercializing its technology. While Microsoft’s capital is important, the partnership might provide equal and longer-term value for Cruise, at least in the two companies’ views. Under the long-term strategic partnership, Cruise will use Azure, Microsoft’s cloud and edge computing platform, for its yet-to-be launched autonomous vehicle ride-hailing service.

German mobile phone providers join forces: Germany’s mobile network operators want to work together to provide network coverage in rural areas. The companies announced that they have signed an agreement to provide coverage for all so-called “gray spots” over the course of this year.

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Lighting: Phillips Hü transforms „stupid“ light switches into smart ones
Test: Intelligent household robots put through their paces
Schmersal Group: First digital trade fair „Schmersal Smart Fair“ starts at the end of January
Smart things ecosystem: Z-Wave combines devices, developers and services in the smart home sector
Integration: Google and Samsung will network smart home systems


According to a global study by the consulting and IT service company Capgemini, 40 percent of all city dwellers would like to move to a smart city.


From the Smart City to the Smart Region: Smart cities are not just popular with city dwellers, but also with urban developers. Nevertheless, the term often remains relatively abstract in the public debate, mostly no more than a synonym for urban visions of the future. In order for a city to become a smart city, it not only needs the greatest possible data collection, but also the precise merging and processing “like in an orchestra”, explains Dr. Stefan Schwarz, Partner Business Consulting at Teradata. It should also be noted that under the conditions of modern mobility, the flow of data should not run dry on the outskirts, but should include the surrounding regions. There are already research projects in this direction, such as the Metropolitan Cities Rhine-Ruhr Initiative of RWTH Aachen University in Germany. There, relevant actors – from software developers, automobile manufacturers and urban planners to citizens – develop action plans in order to develop a smart conurbation using data analysis, digital IoT and AI.

Japan’s human-centered smart cities enhancing well-being: In Japan, there are plans to create a new type of human-centered smart society. Aizuwakamatsu and Arao are two towns that have adopted the latest technologies to solve existing problems and improve people’s well-being. Aizuwakamatsu is a historic Samurai town in the Fukushima Prefecture. It’s home to over 118,000 residents and now it has become a testing ground for tech-driven social development. In the town’s innovation hub, a range of partners are developing a Smart City Platform. It’s a model they hope to scale up to be used in the rest of Japan and beyond. The platform collects data from connected objects. It uses information such as mobile phone payments and domestic electricity consumption and shares it with administrations, industry and academia.

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Blockchain: China is working on a global blockchain system, British hospitals use blockchain to track Covid vaccines
AI: Hyundai confirms, then denies report of Apple tie-up, Israeli start-up wants to use artificial intelligence to avoid misdiagnosis
Safety and Security: Glitch at FU Berlin gives students access to exams data, CDU reports hacker attacks at digital party congress


„If the number of symptomatic patients can be recorded in a sufficiently large sample, this could help us draw earlier conclusions about the incidence of infection, its spread and also about the effectiveness of the previous measures.“
RKI chief Lothar Wieler talks about the potential of smartwatches and fitness bracelets to fight the Covid pandemic.


Singapore’s citizens angry over breach of trust in Covid contact tracing: Lauded around the world for using sophisticated digital contact tracing to contain its coronavirus outbreak, Singapore said this week that law enforcement can access the personal data from citizens for criminal investigations. The issue was first raised in parliament by ruling party politician Desmond Tan, also minister of state for home affairs, who said that police officers were able to obtain citizen data if needed from the TraceTogether (TT) application implemented in June. His words caused a stir on social media and in parliament, with opposition lawmakers expressing concerns about security and violations of privacy.

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