The spread of the corona virus is increasing exponentially and the World Health Organization declared that it is a world pandemic on March 11, 2020. As of this article being written, there are 2,261,425 confirmed cases, 154,734 confirmed deaths, and 213 countries have been affected around the world. Covid-19 has affected Indonesia, including our education, economics and health. The Indonesian government had taken many measures to avoid the spread of Covid-19.
In this report, we would like to illustrate some initiatives taken by Indonesian ICT players in combating the Covid-19 pandemic. From the Governments sector, they made an application named PeduliLindungi (meaning Care and Protect). This application is supported by the Ministry of Communication and Informatics or Kementrian Komunikasi dan Informatika (KOMINFO). This application is intended to be used by citizens so that the Indonesian government is able to track and trace the location of the citizen by enabling each user to turn on bluetooth on their smartphone. This application used by every user will share their location whenever they are going outside, so that the search of the people that had been confirmed to had the Covid-19 can be traced. This application has been launched for two different mobile operating systems, i.e. iOS and Android. Users can download the application to their respective application store. Users should not be worried about providing their real time condition because this application is safe from phishing and malware and their data privacy is being protected under Indonesian government laws. The government’s cooperation with all Indonesian citizens by using this app is expected to break the chain reaction of the Covid-19 disease from being spread.
Furthermore, some telecommunication operators have taken steps to combat this disease. For instance, Telkom Group and the Ministry of State Owned Enterprises is supporting the strategy of working and studying from home. Telkom Group plays an important role as the major Internet Services Provider (ISP) to give the best services during this pandemic. IndiHome, which is a Telkom Group product, has provided free upgrade in terms of Internet connection speed for their users for one month. Telkom Indonesia also publishes a web page for users to monitor the number of cases in graphical representation by using machine learning so that they are able to locate the most infected area and they also can view some prevention. Mobile operators, namely Telkomsel, as well as XL Axiata and Indosat Ooredoo, have given free Internet quota for 30GB for students in order to access their e-learning providers. This is to ensure that all of students, teachers and lecturers are able to conduct their learning and lecturing activities during this emergency.
In collaboration with The Ministry of Communication and Information Republic of Indonesia, WhatsApp (Facebook) has committed to providing a special policy for Indonesia to be able to transmit WhatsApp blast messages regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. So far, WhatsApp only gives this policy exclusively to two countries, Indonesia and Singapore.
In the start-up sectors, Qlue, Qiscus, Kata.ai, and Volantis, in cooperation with MDI Ventures, have taken the initiative during this pandemic by creating an application named QlueApp that integrated multiple data by using chat-bot and the ability for citizens to view the latest report regarding Covid-19 information. By using this application, citizens can report suspected people by giving their location through the platform. This app is intended to help the Indonesian Government to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Users are also able to monitor Covid-19 disease statistics that are displayed on the application. Not only monitoring the diseases, it is also being used by the staffs of the National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) in the field, so that they can cooperate with each other effectively and efficiently.
Another Indonesian startup, e-hailing Gojek, collaborated with the startup Halodoc, to develop a telemedicine platform that is integrated on the Gojek application. This telemedicine integration is used by their users to provide consultation using the application. There are more than 20,000 licensed medical doctors who came from the Halodoc system. Gojek users can use this app to consult directly with the doctors from Halodoc regarding their health and symptoms of Covid-19.
Some universities also have several initiatives to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Telkom University had made some innovative products during this pandemic. First, in collaboration with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, the Autonomous UVC Mobile Robot for Medical isolation Room product was made in order to disinfect and sterilize any room without the need of human involvement. This product has been tested at Wisma Atlet, one of the Covid-19 quarantine venues in Jakarta. Chamber Car is made to sterilize and disinfect a car by automatically spraying a disinfectant to all the car’s body. Coincidentally, development of this product was led by Dr. Muhammad Ary Murti, a member of ComSoc Indonesia, .
In addition, Bandung Institute of Technology developed Vent-I, which is a portable low cost ventilator. This product, which is intended to be operated for emergency use when there is a shortage of ventilators, has been reviewed by several senior medical doctors from Padjadjaran University.
Surprisingly, the innovations were not only initiated in big cities, but also in small villages. For instance, in Panggungharjo suburban, Bantul, Yogyakarta, the villagers are actively reporting their health status and spreading their local products to a platform called pasardesa.id. This platform was developed by the local village government to minimize the movement of the villagers to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and to implement physical distancing that had been advised by the World Health Organization. This platform is used to purchase basic home necessities such as rice, vegetables, sugar, etc. Not only using this platform to deliver basic necessities, the local villagers also use this platform to input their health status to the website every day. This is to help monitor or track the villagers’ daily status. More than 19,465 local villagers have reported their health status as healthy and 700 people stated that they are healthy without any symptoms.
In a nutshell, the availability of telecommunication infrastructure and Internet connections across the nation can support every player to play their roles to combat Covid-19.