Jul 23, 2020 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) -- In just a few months, COVID-19 has upended the world as we know it.
Since the outbreak, over 141,000 U.S. citizens have lost their lives to the virus, while over three million have contracted it. And despite constant study by the world's foremost researchers and health experts, still, no one has yet been able to determine how contagious it is... exactly how it spreads... or what the long-term health impacts are. And scientists have so far been unable to create a vaccine.
And while lockdown restrictions are being slowly lifted across the country, the numbers continue to be cause for serious alarm...
Meanwhile, the economy has been in a tailspin--both nationwide and globally. Governments and central banks have implemented unprecedented stimulus measures and are discussing more.
And businesses have been scrambling to stay afloat and adjust to the new world order... all while delivering messages of support to the community. Companies nationwide have implemented measures to support their employees and their clients--from discounted products and services to flexible work hours to stringent health and safety measures.
Presently, folks in the health and pharmaceutical space are actively researching and developing treatments and potential vaccines for the virus. In fact, nine pharma companies are currently racing to be the first to a COVID-19 vaccine.
But the real heroes of the COVID-19 crisis could come out of the technology space, as organizations are using their resources to focus on tracking and helping prevent the future spread of the virus...
Take, for instance, Facedrive /zigman2/quotes/210488712/delayed CA:FD -0.14% /zigman2/quotes/218191158/composite FDVRF +0.47% , which recently developed a special app to help trace and track positive COVID-19 patients in order to curb the spread.
And this is no gimmick--in fact, the technology has already received an important endorsement.
Just last week, the Ministry of Ontario, Canada voiced booming support for the technology, saying it could be pivotal for the government's own COVID alert systems.
A simple idea with lifesaving implications...
You know those apps you use to find your friends, locate your runaway pets, or even connect with nearby romantic matches?
Imagine being able to use that same kind of tech to identify whether you've been exposed COVID-19.
That's exactly what sustainable technology company Facedrive /zigman2/quotes/210488712/delayed CA:FD -0.14% /zigman2/quotes/218191158/composite FDVRF +0.47% has done with its TraceSCAN contact-tracing app.
The TraceSCAN app's premise is brilliant in its simplicity:
Developed in partnership with the University of Waterloo, TraceSCAN uses Bluetooth technology to track contact between its users, in order to identify who may have been exposed to positive COVID-19 cases within its member base. Any user who is identified receives an immediate notification so they can take steps to isolate and/or seek treatment right away.
But the company didn't stop there... It also developed inexpensive Bluetooth wearables in an effort to make the technology as accessible as possible. The Bluetooth devices give users access to the app and allow them to check vital signs... But perhaps most impressively, they come equipped with machine learning algorithms, with the goal of forecasting and preventing future outbreaks.
The Ministry of Ontario specifically noted in its announcement that the integration of wearables could be incredibly useful in workplaces where mobile accessibility is limited (think everywhere from healthcare facilities to construction sites to sporting venues).
Ontario is a top-ten economy in North America and boasts a population of some 14 million citizens; with the Ministry's support, the company could well see widespread adoption across the province.
This isn't the first major endorsement the tech has received: Back in May, the Labourers' International Union of North America (LiUNA) said it planned to adopt the TraceSCAN app in an effort to protect its 130,000 members from the spread of COVID-19.
Beyond these organizations, there's a huge addressable market in need of products and services such as these--even just within the company's home country.
There are some 31.7 million mobile subscribers in Canada. The country's population is over 37.5 million. Simple math tells us that nearly 6 million Canadians don't carry a mobile phone. When you consider senior citizens and low-income individuals are most likely to fall in this category--and many of these individuals are at greater risk for serious COVID-19 complications--accessibility to Bluetooth technology could literally save lives.
By the way, this isn't the only virus-fighting effort the company has made--it's been on the frontlines since the pandemic started, with initiatives from offering discounted rides to healthcare workers... to contactless delivery of medical supplies... to a virtual "hackathon" to globally crowdsource new ideas on combating the virus.
And that's outside all its other initiatives...
A millennial-driven megatrend... with a COVID-19 catalyst
The face of investing has changed. No longer are people purely interested in locking in the highest returns and beating benchmarks. These days, they care much more than before about making sure their money has a positive impact on the world, through investments that tackle issues like climate change, human rights, and legislation they believe in.
In fact, this type of investing has become so prevalent that it has its own moniker: Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing.
One major factor shaping this trend: There's a new average investor in town.
As baby boomers enter their retirement years, millennials are hitting the market. And according to Morgan Stanley, millennial investors are twice as likely than others surveyed to invest in social and environmental causes they support... with 75% of millennial respondents saying they believe their investments could directly impact climate change, and 84% saying they believe the same about alleviating poverty.
But it's not just millennials who are turning up for ESG investments... According to the study, 75% of all investors are interested in sustainable investing, with 71% saying they believe sustainable investments could have better long-term prospects.
This might explain why the global ESG market hit a staggering $30 trillion in 2018... with some pundits predicting it could hit as high as $50 trillion over the next 20 years.
What's more, some experts believe COVID-19 is about to fuel the fire of this already raging mega-trend.
The company believes, above all else, in its mission of "putting people and the planet first." It leads several green initiatives, supports multiple causes, and is quickly gaining a reputation as an emerging leader in the Canadian environmental, social, and governance (ESG) market.
To start, it's the first ridesharing company that lets riders opt for eco-friendly vehicle options (electric vehicles and hybrids) and view data on the environmental impact of their rides. Also, a percentage of all the collected rideshare costs go directly to green initiatives, like planting trees. This is huge, considering the fact that research shows traditional ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft put out 69% more emissions than the transportation options they're replacing.