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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 (TSXV:FD,OTC:FDVRF) 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.
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 (TSXV:FD,OTC:FDVRF) 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 (NASDAQ:APPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) 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.
A Google Chrome extension, Netflix Party, for example allows groups of people to hang out online and stream their favorite Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) films and TV shows. The extension is already being used by 10 million users to come together for movie nights while maintaining their distance. Users have an incredible amount of content to choose from on Netflix. The platform features thousands of movies and hundreds of TV shows. And it's even expanding its original content. Netflix has pumped billions of dollars into producing and buying new TV shows and movies, and not just in the United States. Many countries have their own role of original content, and as the company's subscriber base grows, the sky is the limit for the $200 billion streaming giant.
Another application that has skyrocketed in popularity is the video conferencing application Zoom (NASDAQ:ZM). The app has become a major hit among companies that have implemented work-from-home policies to keep their employees safe and prevent the spread of the virus. Zoom's technology has revolutionized workplace communication, it provides videotelephony and online chat services through a cloud-based peer-to-peer software platform and is used for teleconferencing, telecommuting, distance education, and social relations. It's so huge that another startup is using the platform to connect celebrities with their fans (for a nominal fee). The app has become so popular, in fact, that it has even been featured in popular television shows such as Saturday Night Live. In fact, a number of TV personalities are doing entire shows using the application.
The most popular social applications on the Google and Apple stores, however, you might already be familiar with. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is the de facto leader. Its Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram have exploded since the beginning of the pandemic. With over a billion people using the platforms, it’s become a staple for staying in touch. Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has built an empire around online communication. After launching the original Facebook platform, he acquired WhatsApp and Instagram, moves which have helped propel the company into the elite of Silicon Valley. Now valued at over $660 billion, Facebook's only enemy is the growing threat of regulation. But Zuckerberg has already shown his ability to navigate political waters with efficiency.
Canadian companies are getting involved, as well.
Blackberry Ltd (TSE:BB) is a well-known cell-phone pioneer engaged in the sale of smartphones and enterprise software and services. The Company's products and services include Enterprise Solutions and Services, Devices, BlackBerry Technology Solutions and Messaging. Recently, it’s even developed an app with e-commerce giant Shopify (TSX:SH) to help Canadians combat COVID-19. With COVID Alert, users can tell the system if they have tested positive for the virus, and the tech, in turn, will be able to alert individuals who came into contact with them. The app is designed to work with other apps, including Canada’s own ArriveCAN, to keep users safe. The partnership between Blackberry and Shopify shows that Canada’s tech giants are really working hard to help the country manage this crisis effectively.
Kuuhubb Inc. (TSX: KUU.V) is a company active in the development and acquisition of lifestyle and mobile video game applications. These have been a gamechanger during the COVID crisis. Its strategy is to create sustainable shareholder value through its groundbreaking AI and big data applications suggest that its stock is currently undervalued, but it’s not likely this opportunity will last for much longer. Though it’s focus is on mobile video games, Kuuhubb’s innovative technology makes it a likely target of acquisition and could be a key player in the mobile industry.
Jackpot Digital Inc. (TSXV:JP) is at the forefront of the digital gaming revolution, providing cutting-edge tech features, industry breaking mini-games, a wide variety of payment optionas and more. Additionally, Jackpot takes its regulatory responsibility seriously, and is fully compliant with all necessary regulations.
In addition to its online offerings, Jackpot Digital also offers a physical kiosk for casinos around the globe, allowing users to refill their accounts, fund gift cards, register for tournaments, and even allow casinos to add customized marketing displays. Though not specifically a COVID app, its definitely doing its part to help people maintain social distancing.
ePlay Digital Inc. (CSE:EPY) is a technology company that helps TV networks, esports teams and leagues and even venues cut through the noise to reach their target audience. The company brings together multiple platforms to create engagement across social media, traditional media, streaming, and more. With a team built from sports, esports, and gaming experts, ePlay knows the video game industry inside and out. That’s why they’ve secured partnerships with companies including Time Warner Cable, ESPN, Sony Pictures, AXS TV, Intel, AXN, Fiat, CBS, Cineplex, and others. Though it’s not directly involved in the creation of apps, it’s definitely played a vital role helping people stay indoors.
By. Gail Martin
**IMPORTANT! BY READING OUR CONTENT YOU EXPLICITLY AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
This publication contains forward-looking information which is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements in this publication include that the demand for ride sharing services will grow; that the demand for environmentally conscientious ride sharing services companies in particular will grow quickly and take a much larger share of the market; that Facedrive’s TraceScan app will be adopted by other parties including government; that Facedrive’s marketplace will offer many more sustainable goods and services, and grow revenues outside of ride-sharing; that new products co-branded by Bel Air and Facedrive will sell well; that Facedrive can achieve its environmental goals without sacrificing profit; that Facedrive Foods will expand to other regions outside southern Ontario soon; that major corporations will partner with Facedrive; that Facedrive will be able to fund its capital requirements in the near term and long term; and that Facedrive will be able to carry out its business plans. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. Risks that could change or prevent these statements from coming to fruition include changing governmental laws and policies; the company’s ability to obtain and retain necessary licensing in each geographical area in which it operates; the success of the company’s expansion activities and whether markets justify additional expansion; the TraceScan app may not be adopted because of better apps offered by competitors or because of expense the ability of the company to attract a sufficient number of drivers to meet the demands of customer riders; the ability of the company to attract drivers who have electric vehicles and hybrid cars; the ability of Facedrive to attract providers of good and services for partnerships on terms acceptable to both parties, and on profitable terms for Facedrive; that the products co-branded by Facedrive may not be as merchantable as expected; that Facedrive does not attract major corporations as corporate partners, and even if it does, the partnerships do not bring the customers or revenues expected; the ability of the company to keep operating costs and customer charges competitive with other ride-hailing companies; and the company’s ability to continue agreements on affordable terms with existing or new tree planting enterprises, riders and drivers in order to retain profits. The forward-looking information contained herein is given as of the date hereof and we assume no responsibility to update or revise such information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.
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