Satellite Technology: in response to COVID-19 outbreak | Adamas University

Satellite Technology: in response to COVID-19 outbreak

Covid-19, Engineering & Technology

Satellite Technology: in response to COVID-19 outbreak

The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has created a global health crisis that has had a deep impact on the way we perceive our world and our everyday lives. Do we have a novel idea of how satellite technology can be used to the fight the battle against COVID-19? 

As the world endures an unprecedented crisis, satellites are providing a different types of communications, navigation, broadcast, remote imaging and other vital services.

Satellite communication: Satellite communications including internet and broadband services are helping keep people in remote and underserved regions connected with their teachers, doctors, employers, customers, friends and families. Satellite communication is helping families and friends to maintain communication using social-media applications during self-isolation. The positive impact of this is having on our general well-being cannot be underestimated, particularly for those who live alone or the elderly.

Healthcare: Today, satellite technology is increasingly being used to advance healthcare by providing high-bandwidth, multi-media patient data to aid shared clinical decision-making and early diagnosis.

Satellite navigation is being used to monitor the movements of carriers of COVID-19 who have not been hospitalized, as well as geo-referencing patient data to be shared between doctors and patients. Some countries are using geo-location to inform people if they have been in close contact with a carrier and to quarantine themselves.

Several countries have already begun looking into, or have rolled out, mobile phone-based efforts to track the spread of coronavirus among their citizenry.

  • In India, Aarogya Setu, a mobile app developed by the government of India an informative and updated dashboard collecting data through GPS. Aarogya Setu app gives relevant information for every geographic area of the country to help citizens identify their risk of contracting Covid-19. This app is designed to keep a user informed in case she/he has crossed paths with someone who has tested positive. Bluetooth & location-generated social graph is used for tracking the Covid infected patients.
  • In China, apps developed by Alibaba and Tencent give people a color code based on their health condition and travel history. This code determines whether a person gains entry into a mall or a subway station, or can travel between cities. Actually this code decided by a big data-driven algorithm.
  • National Health Information Center (NHIC) developed an official mobile app in Saudi Arabia. They developed its own Corona interactive map application that allows users to track all coronavirus cases with statistics and charts.
  • According to the international news organization Reuters, Europe’stelecom companies are sharing location data with health authorities in Italy, Germany and Austria, to check whether people are remaining at home. The data is aggregated and anonymous, mapping concentrations instead of individuals to respect Europe’s privacy laws.
  • In South Korea, the government created a map of cellphone data provided by telecom and credit card companies. The map was made public so everyone could track whether they’d been exposed, according to The Verge (American technology news).
  • According to reports, Iranused the COVID-19 epidemic to gather private data from its citizens “to boost Tehran’s surveillance capabilities,” reports Vice. The country sent a link to download the AC19 app with government endorsement, touting it as a way to determine whether users have the virus, but usage required sending back location data.
  • In Taiwan, a mobile phone-based geo-fence uses location-tracking to ensure people who are quarantined stay in their homes, reports the New York Times. If the patient leaves their home address or turns off their smartphone, the police will visit within 15 minutes.

Some paramedics carry equipment that use satellite communication to stream live vital signs such as ECG, temperature, respiration rate, and blood pressure to doctors who are due to take over treatment. The link allows two-way real-time consultation, allowing the ambulance team to make rapid clinical and transport decisions.

News and Entertainment: Broadcast communications satellites deliver entertainment but they also provide homebound people as well as government health care officials with critically important live pandemic news updates from around the world.

Global Positioning Satellites – GPS satellites are  providing vital navigation services to the thousands of truck drivers working to help maintain country’s critical supply chains for food, manufacturing and medical supplies.

GPS timing services also help power country’s millions of cellular phones and remote electronic financial services.

Remote sensing and imaging satellites – Remote sensing and imaging satellites are providing health care officials and other users with comparison imagery – vital tools in helping monitor the effectiveness of “stay at home” and other social distancing initiatives.  Earth observation satellites also provide a safe and remote method to collect global onsite information without the need to leave home or an office to go onsite.

Collectively, satellites are providing critical services to governments, businesses and consumers.  The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) named satellite operations as an essential part of functioning critical infrastructure that is imperative during the response to the COVID-19 emergency services.

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