Oman has witnessed a spurt in technological innovations and start-up activity as researchers, entrepreneurs as well as the government pushes to fight the COVID-19 crisis.
At the onset of the pandemic, Oman Technology Fund (OTF), announced the allocation OR1mn for investment in technology startups in Oman that provide immediate solutions for the community to overcome the challenges caused by the spread of COVID-19. The fund till now has supported seven tech-startups, ranging from providing medical services to providing fruit, vegetables, fish among others.
The aim of the initiative is to provide technical solutions to help citizens and residents to abide by social distancing, which is the mainstay of Oman’s efforts to check the spread of COVID-19.
The Research Council as well launched a COVID-19 research programme. It focuses on financially supporting projects conducting short-term applied research in various clinical and non-clinical fields associated with the pandemic.
These include diagnostics, the role of telemedicine, the application of artificial intelligence, and the impacts on business and the economy, according to a report by Oxford Business Group (OBG).
A case in point is Sonnaa Oman, which is based at the Research Council’s Muscat Innovation Complex.
‘It has developed a digital artificial respiration device that simulates the ventilation system already approved for use in the country’s hospitals. The prototype, which was developed in coordination with specialist doctors and engineers, has been subjected to several quality control tests in recent weeks, prior to large-scale production of the device,’ reported OBG.
The National Business Centre, which is linked to Madayn, took part in a virtual global start-up competition between April 24 and 26, aimed at stimulating new ideas to combat Covid-19.
Of the Omani participants, start-up Wareed came first with its new digital platform designed to quickly connect suspected Covid-19 patients with their doctors.
The start-up weekend followed the launches of several other digital platforms developed in response to specific economic and social challenges that have been presented by the pandemic.
These include a platform, which facilitates home delivery of medicines to elderly people; easy, a distance-learning platform; and Igtimaati, an Oman-based application providing video-conferencing services.
In addition, the Muscat Municipality has been using drones both to sterilise neighbourhoods and to conduct remote heat temperature examinations on those suspected of having the virus.