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IBM announces blockchain contest to crowdsource COVID-19 solutions


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As the world struggles to halt the spread of COVID-19 and deliver relief to the millions of people who’ve been impacted, the technology sector is stepping up in a big way to provide innovative solutions to some truly daunting problems. From promoting supply chain resilience to attesting outbreak data, one emerging innovation that has had an outsize impact is blockchain.

As economies around the world begin considering how to return to work safely, blockchain will continue to play a role. Now more than ever, organizations and teams need to be able to collaborate with one another quickly and with transparency, while also ensuring strong safeguards for returning employees that don’t jeopardize their privacy or medical information.

While few would argue that employees have adapted commendably to working remotely, the duration of time out-of-office will also certainly create new challenges as well, from employee training and retention to maintaining a cohesive culture. Blockchain can help overcome all of these challenges and more by facilitating a smarter, more adaptable workplace.

Sign up here to enter the Call for Ideas contest

Harnessing blockchain to battle the crisis

We also know that through collaboration and teamwork, these solutions can be brought to market quickly. In April, IBM launched Rapid Supplier Connect, a new blockchain network to help healthcare organizations find new suppliers more quickly, and the following month, IBM teamed up with HACERA to power MiPasa, an open data hub that provides users streamlined access to verifiable COVID-19-related information at scale. Both of these initiatives came together in a matter of weeks.

In that same spirit of rapid iteration, IBM today is announcing a new contest open to third-party developers to submit additional ideas where blockchain can help combat the impacts of back-to-work or COVID-19-related issues. IBM has long been a champion of open technology and the broader developer community, supporting initiatives like Call for Code and Code and Response.

This new contest will help focus the efforts of external developers on the greatest challenge facing the world today and empower the winner(s) with best-in-class tools, free of charge. These include:

  • Six months of IBM Blockchain Platform SaaS
  • Six months IBM Cloud to build out your solution
  • Six months Red Hat OpenShift
  • Six months Red Hat CodeReady workspaces.
  • Joint promotion of your solution

These tools will give each promising project all of the computing resources needed to help create a market-ready blockchain network which, thanks to Red Hat Open Shift, can be easily and readily deployed onto any cloud. CodeReady workspaces allow teams to create code in a compliant environment from wherever they are. Also, whatever applications are produced will be hosted on IBM Cloud which offers leading security, scalability and agility.

A call for ideas: How to enter

Additionally, developers are encouraged to take advantage of MiPasa. Leveraging REST APIs, MiPasa provides a turnkey data feed that can be integrated into trend analysis applications, graphing or other analytics functions. This can help developers build applications with trustworthy and readily deployable attested data about COVID-19 cases. However, while encouraged, the use of MiPasa is not required.

Also unique about this offering is that IBM will review entries regardless of whether they contain a single line of code. What we are looking for are ideas. All interested applicants need to do is provide a brief description of their problem, solution, and why blockchain can help on the application page.

To learn more about how blockchain is already being leveraged to combat the crisis and help people return to work, you can check out our Blockchain State of the Union webcast here. The entrants will be judged by a group of IBM Blockchain executives. Applications will be accepted 31 July – 4 Sept, and the winner(s) will be contacted the week of 7 September. Good luck!

Sign up and watch Harnessing blockchain to succeed in the new normal webcast here

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