Jul 10, 2020

CAIAC alliance launched to combat COVID-19 with data

William Smith
2 min
An alliance has been launched with the aim of providing an AI-supported decision-making platform to the world’s policy leaders in the face of COVID-19
An alliance has been launched with the aim of providing an AI-supported decision-making platform to the world’s policy leaders in the face of COVID-19...

An alliance has been launched with the aim of providing an AI-supported decision-making platform to the world’s policy leaders in the face of COVID-19.

The alliance, known as the Collective and Augmented Intelligence Against COVID-19 (CAIAC), has been formed by the Future Society and Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), with the support of UNESCO and the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation.

CAIAC is to establish an advisory group, inviting experts from UNESCO, UN Global Pulse and other UN entities, to structure the ever expanding data on global health, both social and economic, to better inform policy makers, as well as healthcare leaders and the scientific community.

On the alliance’s website, Cyrus Hodes, Co-founder & Chair of the AI Initiative at The Future Society, said: “The pandemic has highlighted how vulnerable we are as a civilization. It has also accelerated innovation and global cooperation with the blossoming of thousands of bottom-up initiatives to find solutions. Creating a coherent, truly holistic, knowledge platform for policy makers to navigate the flow of information has become a necessity. Fortunately, modern technologies such as AI can be used to harness vast amounts of disparate data and produce meaningful insights. CAIAC will build this ground-breaking decision-making tool for global leaders to help solve the pandemic and accelerate the economic and social recovery.” 

With the world having been somewhat blindsided by the emergence of COVID-19, in a press release the alliance pointed out the fact that data is being created by research institutions, think-tanks, and NGOs with no trusted filter for their analyses and models. Hence, the organisation is intending to build a dynamic platform in collaboration with private sector partners such as C3.ai, stability.ai, Element AI, Axis, GLG, and Planet to build artificial intelligence into the platform.

The minimum viable product will be focused on three use cases: tracking and tracing contagion chain, identifying inaccurate COVID-19 information, and finding the areas most affected by recurrences of the pandemic.

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Jun 14, 2021

Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline

3 min
We chart Zoom's rise and entrance into the healthcare market

Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare. 

2011 - 2013

Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train. 

A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users. 

2014 - 2017

Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.

2017 - 2019

Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows. 

In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day. 


As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world. 

Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion. 

Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events. 


Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.

It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.

In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."

"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care." 

Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers. 

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