Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen is sending over 10,000 specially programmed smartphones to help with the battle against Ebola in West African nations. The co-founder of Microsoft is sending the phones through his Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.
The phones contain special apps that hope to ease data collection by the volunteer aid workers and government workers. The data about the effectiveness of existing relief efforts that are already going on, and future efforts in the Ebola effected region.
In a statement on Monday, Allen said that reliable data is needed to understand the situation in impacted areas and to move ahead of the crisis. This is just the latest contribution by Allen to the battle against Ebola.
In November, the billionaire indicated that his financial contribution to the fight against Ebola would increase to at least $100 million. Allen also donated $9 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September to help with the battle against Ebola.
A number of the smartphones to be sent in to the Ebola battle were purchased by Allen’s foundation, however, some phones being sent were gifts from various companies. The phones should be a good tool for workers and make the data collection a much simpler process.
Allan has more going on in his commitment to battle Ebola. The philanthropist also stated that there was a grant going to NetHope, a communications specialist. NetHope is a consortium of international NGO’s that is devoted on bettering the information technologies side of emergency response organizations.
NetHope has been working very closely with the United Nations and other response groups to identify communication gaps. Allen indicated that, as of today, there are new resources committed to improve data collection and communication capabilities. These resources will help greatly with the fight in West Africa against Ebola.
Allen’s grant to NetHope will build as many as 10 satellite communication terminals and boost the connectivity at 45 locations. There will also be funds available to provide funding for short-term private sector work and extend cellular capacity and assist operators improve the existing networks.
IBM also launched an analytics system last month that will assist in tracking the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone. This shows how much technology based tools are a key weapon in the fight against the deadly disease.
IBM’s system was developed in the companies Nairobi, Kenya-based research lab. The government of Sierra Leone allows citizens report any Ebola-related concerns by phone calls or text messages. The goal of both IBM’s program and Allen’s donations are intended to provide the governments assistance with communications and data collection in communities that have been affected by Ebola. These efforts should help to improve the chance of containing the deadly disease.
Allen, who is estimated to be worth nearly $17 billion, has shown through his donation of over 10,000 smartphones to be sent to help in the battle against Ebola, that the billionaire will use a great amount of his wealth to help better the planet. This is much like his old Microsoft co-founding partner, Bill Gates, showing that tech giants from the Pacific Northwest are focused on making the world a better place.
By Carl Auer