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COVID-19: Google Cloud, IBM and others join forces to bolster economic recovery

17 Apr 2020

Rolls-Royce has today announced it has assembled a gallery of heavy-hitters in the data analytics space to collaborate on creating and implementing recovery strategies for organisations around the world struggling against COVID-19.

The group, called Emer2gent, includes Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, IBM, Google Cloud, The Data City, Truata, Rolls-Royce and ODI Leeds as early alliance members.
 
The alliance will be facilitated and co-ordinated by innovation specialists, Whitespace.

Emer2gent aims to combine traditional economic, business, travel and retail data sets with behaviour and sentiment data, while also keeping a focus on privacy and security.

This goal is to turn this into practical applications to support the global recovery from COVID-19. 

"The COVID crisis has demonstrated the need for governments and their advisers to seek real-world insights into mobility, behaviour and human contact networks,” says Leeds Institute for Data Analytics professor Mark Birkin.

“At LIDA we believe that there are mutual benefits from access to transactional data for scientific research, business and commerce, so will be working as part of the alliance to facilitate the secure sharing of data and to connect Emer2gent partners with expertise within the academic community."

Getting people and businesses back to work as soon as possible is another key goal, with the group to focus on identifying lead indicators of economic recovery cycles. 

Businesses small and large around the world, as well as governments, can use these insights to build the confidence they need to take early decisions, such as investments or policies, that could shorten or limit the recessionary impacts from the pandemic.

The alliance is voluntary and insights will be published for free.

“Google Cloud is proud to be involved in such an important project as we all work together to support business globally during these extraordinary times,” says Google Cloud manufacturing and industrial lead of the UK and Ireland Rajh Das.

Truata chief executive officer Felix Marx says that respecting privacy while providing support to struggling businesses is critical.

“We’re keen to support the efforts in extracting the analytical value out of contributed data sets to assist in the containment of COVID-19 and drive economic recovery - in a way that fully respects the privacy rights of the individuals underlying that data. 

“Truata will do this via its suite of proprietary privacy-enhanced data analytics solutions, which have been specifically designed to empower high-value analytics on large data sets while complying with the highest global privacy standards,” says Marx.

“We are living in unprecedented times. And, at this moment of great uncertainty, we must recognise that we all play a role in addressing the global challenge as quickly and efficiently – but also as responsibly - as possible.”