Aug 05, 2020 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) -- The battle for high-tech solutions on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada is heating up with explosive app activity coming from every direction including COVID contact-tracing and even an innovative social distancing trivia app designed to defy the pandemic’s rules of personal engagement.
The first app has prompted a powerful labor union demand that the federal government use it as the only high-tech solution that fills in the gap with wearables.
The second app is seeing surging downloads—globally.
For Facedrive /zigman2/quotes/210488712/delayed CA:FD +6.02% /zigman2/quotes/218191158/composite FDVRF +6.16% and its partner in COVID contact-tracing app TraceScan--the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), one of the largest labor unions in the world--being on the front lines of the pandemic has been a fast-paced endeavor.
Amid the pandemic, demand for HiQ, a new social distancing trivia app by Facedrive has skyrocketed in a very short time.
On Wednesday, August 5th, Facedrive announced that HiQ--one of the newest elements of the company’s “people and planet first” high-tech ESG ecosystem--had reached over 1,000,000 downloads. Only five weeks after the launch, the pandemic restrictions have demonstrated high-level demand for new avenues of digital entertainment that allow you to engage safely with others.
“At Facedrive, we are very excited by the great reception that the HiQ platform has enjoyed over the past month. We place a great value on the trust and loyalty of our users, and will be making continuous efforts to further improve the platform and introduce added features with every new release. One million downloads of the HiQ app also constitutes an important milestone for Facedrive, marking a new step towards cross-platform adoption of its services, positive reinforcement action between Facedrive’s verticals and eventually successful monetization,” said CEO and Chairman of Facedrive Sayan Navaratnam.
The HiQ app was designed by Facedrive /zigman2/quotes/210488712/delayed CA:FD +6.02% /zigman2/quotes/218191158/composite FDVRF +6.16% “to support meaningful internet-based interactions during the times of pandemic”.
And the coming weeks are expected to see further enhancements to the HiQ app, including group messaging, voice and video calling, head-to-head trivia tournaments and other new features, according to the company.
HiQ is available on both the App Store and the Google Play Store and currently ranks among the Top 5 trivia apps in over 115 countries.
Facedrive’s eco-friendly ride-hailing and food delivery were the company’s flagship segments of its broad “impact investing” portfolio, but TraceScan--its proprietary contact-tracing technology and wearables--has hogged the limelight along with the social distancing app due to ongoing negotiations between provincial governments and the federal authorities.
The Federal Government launched its smartphone contact-tracing app on Friday, but LiUna says it’s not enough.
LiUNA vice-president Joseph Mancinelli on Tuesday urged the government to adopt TraceScan--a made-in-Ontario app that includes wearables and features technology that can be worn on a bracelet or carried in a wallet.
Of particular concern for Mancinelli is the construction industry--among others--where smartphones are not a viable contact-tracing tool and where they are often prohibited, reported the Globe & Mail.
“You are going to omit all of these construction workers – not only LiUNA – but the whole industry, which is hundreds and hundreds of thousands of workers right across the country. So I don’t get that,” the LiUNA vice-president said, adding that even one infection could result in the shutdown of an entire construction site and could be economically disastrous.
Mancinelli’s statement comes on the heels of an endorsement for the use of TraceScan by Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Friday, noting that he’s “in favor” of the app, and the ball is now in the federal government’s court.
“We continue to encourage the federal government to engage companies like Facedrive /zigman2/quotes/210488712/delayed CA:FD +6.02% /zigman2/quotes/218191158/composite FDVRF +6.16% who are coming forward with made-in-Ontario/Canada solutions to keep all workers safe,” Bradley Metlin, spokesman for Ontario Labor Minister Monte McNaughton told the Globe & Mail.
Social distancing applications have been a huge hit in recent months as people scramble to find new ways to cope with ongoing lockdowns. Combined, Apple and Google /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL -0.19% have seen over 70 billion apps downloaded in the first half of this year compared to just 54 billion in the same two quarters of 2020. That’s a massive increase fueled by the pandemic. The most downloaded apps include social networking and social communication platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, TikTok, Snapchat and Youtube. And the social media trend is only growing. People across the world depend on these apps to stay connected, and that's not likely to change anytime soon. And Apple and Google are at the center of it all.