My wife and I were both ill with the symptoms of COVID-19. While we were ill, we were looking for information about other people’s experience of COVID to understand how our symptoms could evolve. This is our experience, and this blog is written both by Tram Anh and me.
We live in London, and are co-founders of the Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship. Through our normal activities, we usually meet a lot of people every day.
However, because we have offices in Singapore and Hong Kong, we realised the seriousness of COVID very early on, and we knew that for a young company like ours, it could be hugely disruptive if a part of the team fell ill. A month ago, we therefore implemented our Business Continuity Plan for CFTE with the following measures:
- Split the London team – and the management – in 3 different locations to make sure that a part of the management could continue to run the company if others were ill. Since Tram Anh and I are husband and wife, we would of course work in the same place
- Decrease social interactions, and move physical meetings to videoconference when possible
- Use hand sanitiser, stop sharing food in the office, stop hugging (which is a big thing at CFTE!)
- Be healthy (sleep, food, vitamins) to avoid being ill (not just COVID, but any illness), because this is not a period where you want to be ill
Being in London, we knew however that our risk was still high – compared to Asia where people wear masks and have the experience of SARS – but we wanted at least to decrease the risk to the team, and limit the contagion risk.
Despite our precautions, I fell ill, then 2 days after Tram Anh fell ill.
My symptoms (Huy)
- Day 1: in the morning, we were filming one of our Senior Lecturers for a new course. This is always intense, but nothing out of the ordinary. We then had lunch, and he left. I felt a bit tired, so decided to go home at 4pm to avoid the rush hour in the Tube. An hour later, when I reached home, I was exhausted. I had some fever (38.2C), but especially a very high heart rate (120 beats per minute vs 70 usually). My respiratory rate was normal (16 per minute) and SPO2 too (98%). I drank a lot of water and went to sleep
- Day 2: still fever around 38. Heart rate above 100, I slept 18 hours. I tried to have normal food, with a lot of water.
- Day 3: still fever around 38. Heart rate above 100, I continued to sleep + normal food and water
- Day 4: no more temperature, I still felt a bit tired, but nothing too concerning, apart from my heart rate that was a bit high (around 100).
- Day 5: temperature went up again to 38.5, heart rate above 100, and I had body aches for the first time. I took 500mg of paracetamol, and went back to sleep.
- Day 6: same
- Day 7: temperature back to normal, heart rate a bit high
- Day 8 and after: everything normal, the heart rate was a bit high, but then went back to normal.
Overall, I was tired with fever, but it wasn’t too serious. I still don’t know if it was COVID19. We called 111, and it was clear that only people who had been to high risk countries such as Italy or Iran, or were suffering from respiratory distress, would be tested. I was therefore not tested, and this is when I realised that the numbers in the UK were likely to be much much higher than reported.
My symptoms (Tram Anh)
Because Huy has had asthma since young, and because COVID19 is a respiratory disease, we thought that he was the one in the family who was most at risk of complications. I didn’t imagine I would be the one who who would have much more severe symptoms.
2 days after Huy got his symptoms, I started to feel ill too.
- Day 1: when I woke up, I had a fever of 38.5. I also had a dry cough. By then, we were used to monitoring Huy’s symptoms, and we measured mine which were high (110 heart rate, 18 respiratory rate, 95 SPO2). I was extremely tired, and I had some food, water, and 500mg paracetamol, and went back to sleep.
- Day 2: same
- Day 3: same
- Day 4: same. I was still extremely tired, and Huy made sure that I ate enough and had enough water / orange juice, and I just slept the whole day. During all these days, my temperature was around 38C
- Day 5: Huy was talking to me and I felt very lightheaded, and couldn’t focus on what he said. I was extremely tired, and started to have difficulty breathing. We checked my temperature that had shot up to 39.5C and my respiratory rate was very high (25 per minute). Huy gave me 1g of Paracetamol and called directly 999. The ambulance came 2 hours later, and they monitored me. Thanks to the paracetamol, my temperature had gone down to 38, and my respiratory rate to 20, with my heart rate above 100. I wasn’t tested for COVID – although they said it was likely – and I was given antibiotics in case it was a bacterial infection.
- Day 6: temperature above 39, I took 1g of paracetamol every 6 hours, and the temperature went down to 38 after this
- Day 7: My temperature went back up to 39.5, I was coughing much more and had difficulty breathing again. I became extremely weak and semi-conscious. Huy gave me 1g of paracetamol immediately and called 999 again. When the ambulance arrived a couple of hours later, my temperature had gone down, but my heart rate was still very high, and they decided to bring me to the hospital. There was a special section to check people with the Coronavirus, and they took a sample of my blood, did an electrocardiogram and an X-ray of my lungs. My blood results showed that I had something (but we didn’t know if it was COVID since they didn’t test for COVID) and my X-ray was normal. They decided not to keep me so that I could better recover at home and not to be more exposed. I left the hospital in the middle of the night.
- Day 8: temperature of 39, I continued to take paracetamol
- Day 9: suddenly, my temperature went back to normal at 37
- Day 10: Still tired, but apart from the cough, everything else is normal
- Day 11: normal, still coughing
- Day 12 : normal, still coughing
- Day 13: normal, still coughing
Despite Huy being the “highest risk” person in the family because of his asthma, his symptoms were quite mild. On the other hand, I am normally quite healthy and would be considered “low risk”, and I had much more severe symptoms. This is the first time we had to call the ambulance for me (let alone two times), and there were very stressful moments when I was semi-conscious and could hardly breathe.
Our experience of COVID19 (Huy)
During the last 2 weeks, I spent quite a bit of time reading about the symptoms of COVID, and it seems that the most dangerous period seems to be around 1 week – which is what Tram Anh experienced.
Although Tram Anh is now almost fully recovered, she’s never had such a long period being in bed with high fever and difficulty breathing, despite not being in a category deemed at risk. Overall, after 14 days she is still coughing.
Also, we were quite careful to maintain social distance, but we still caught COVID, which explains why we see such a high contagion rate around the world.
Although Tram Anh had severe symptoms on Day 7, and was sent to the hospital, she still wasn’t tested for COVID. There is a lot of controversies around this topic – and as someone who teach about data-driven decisions, this is quite puzzling we don’t test – but what is very clear is that the number of actual cases in the UK is very seriously underestimated.
Our experience with the NHS
If there was a message from this blog, that would be the incredible support and professionalism we received from the NHS, despite all their challenges. There is no doubt that there is a huge demand on the NHS – for example, it took 15 minutes to be connected to the 999 emergency lines, although we were really at the beginning of the epidemic in the UK.
Despite being seriously understaffed however, the people on the phone were extremely professional. Both ambulance crews were amazing, with huge dedication, and that was exactly the same for the doctors and nurses at the hospital. There is really no words for us to express our gratitude to the amazing health professionals.
It is however very sad to see that these highly dedicated people lack even the most basic resources – from not being tested themselves to having not enough masks and protection. Anything that we can do to support our health system and the incredible health professionals will surely help – for example, we gave them masks and we also registered for NHS volunteers. I’m sure there are a lot of similar initiatives around the world, if you’d like me to list them here, just send me a message.
How to monitor your symptoms
The health systems everywhere are struggling under the volume of patients, and the instructions are usually to stay at home and call only if “your symptoms worsen”. But how do we know if our symptoms worsen? What does it mean exactly?
I am – clearly !- not a doctor, but tried to monitor our symptoms to see if they were improving or worsening. This is what I monitored:
- Temperature. Normal body temperature is around 37C, fever above 38C, high fever above 39.5C and very high above 41C for an adult. Until 38.5C, we usually just drank a lot of water (because a fever also helps to kill the infection, so I didn’t want to suppress a temperature that wasn’t too high), but above 38.5C, we took paracetamol. (there is a lot of discussion about Ibuprofen, in doubt, we just took Paracetamol)
- Heart rate. Normal heart rate is around 70 beats per minute. You can easily calculate your heart rate by feeling your pulse like this, or use your smartphone / smartwatch. For me, my heart rate went up to 120 in a couple of hours, and remained above 100 for a whole week. Tram Anh’s was also very high, which is why they decided to bring her to the hospital
- Respiratory rate. Normal rate is around 12 to 16 per minute. This is easy to calculate by just counting the number of times you exhale every minute. When Tram Anh started to have issues breathing, her breathing went up to 20 then 25 per minute
- SPO2. This is the quantity of oxygen in the blood. This is less common to monitor at home, but for a respiratory disease like COVID, this could be useful. A normal reading would be above 95%, and those who have a Samsung smartphone can use the Samsung Health app – otherwise you would need an oximeter
- And of course we continued to monitor the main other symptoms (shortness of breath, cough) although it was more qualitative than quantitative.
This is a blog about finance, so please take this with a pinch of salt – and listen to what your body tells you as the most important signal.
For us, this was by monitoring these readings that we had some peace of mind that we were getting better or worse. We also didn’t want to call the ambulance unless absolutely necessary, and this is why we kept monitoring ourselves at home.
Ideally, you would want to take your measures when you’re in good health, to know what your reference level is.
I have attached a document I used to write down our symptoms – after a few days, it all becomes very hazy, we didn’t remember when we took paracetamol, etc. so that helped us monitor our conditions. Please feel free to print it or just copy it by hand. (It’s a Google doc that can be shared, so no file to download to decrease the risk of digital virus…)
If you have time at home, Contagion is a film we watched a few years ago, then again with the family in February. This is a very good film which shows how a pandemic spreads, and how we react to this – it’s quite scary actually to see how a movie from 10 years ago could almost be a documentary of today’s situation.
And for those with the children, the Local Authority Education Psychology Service has provided the following links to support anxious children/young people and for worried and concerned parents/carers on communicating with children.
1. Downloadable A4 side of advice for parents/carers from British Psychological Society ‘Talking to Children about Coronavirus’ https://www.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/talking-children-about-coronavirus
2. Various helpful sources of information about coronavirus specifically for children https://edpsy.org.uk/blog/2020/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-children-families-and-professionals/
3. Coronavirus: Keep it simple, stick to facts – how parents/carers should tell kids – BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51734855
4. Atle Dyregrov and Magne Raundalen Clinic for Crisis Psychology, Bergen, Norway advice for talking to children: https://krisepsykologi.no/what-can-we-say-to-children-about-coronavirus/
5. Carol Gray, well known for her work on ‘Social Stories’ for YP with ASD, has written a Social Story for Pandemics and the Coronavirus PDF Pandemics and the Coronavirus. I would like to thank our school to sending use these links.
Although we were more prepared than many for the arrival of COVID19 in Europe, we still caught it. Some people will have mild symptoms (like Huy), but others will have more serious symptoms, although they are not in a high risk category (like Tram Anh). Although we were at the beginning of the epidemic, we could see that the health system was already struggling, so please take it seriously and stay safe at home.
This crisis will have very serious health, but also social and economic impact. For those of us who can help – even in the smallest ways – let’s try to support our communities and our society as much as we can.
Stay safe at home and stay healthy. It is the only way that we can stop this pandemic crisis.
PS: for readers of Disruptive Finance, you’d have noticed that my posts are getting less frequent… A lot of things have happened at CFTE and The Disruptive Group, which is great, but running two companies leaves me no time for blogging, which I regret. I use Linkedin much more now, so don’t hesitate to follow me there (just say you come from Disruptive Finance in the message and I’ll connect you).
If you want updates on Disruptive Finance and Fintech:
Accendo Banco chooses global fintech infrastructure platform Nium to provide international money transfer capability
Accendo Banco (“Accendo”), Mexico’s leading ‘digital-first’ challenger bank focused on providing innovative digital banking solutions, today announced that it has expanded its capabilities in international payments and remittances, through partnership with Global fintech infrastructure platform Nium.
The partnership further expands Accendo’s overseas money transfer capabilities, allowing its customers to send money to more markets overseas and in real-time. The move supports Nium’s continued plans to utilise fintech tools to improve business efficiency and customer experience in LatAm, and follows several partnership announcements by Nium in Brazil, Costa Rica and El Salvador.
Accendo’s customers will be able to send, through an app, funds overseas to major corridors in Europe and Asia easily, and at a lower FX rate than other banks. “International transactions services from Mexico were slow and expensive. The partnership with Nium, together with our unique digital platform, makes us the first bank in Mexico to offer this type of operations to users easily and in real time,” said Javier Reyes de la Campa, CEO and President of the Board of Accendo Banco.
“This partnership also reinforces our positioning as the leading digital-first challenger bank in Mexico, where we are the first bank to offer BaaS (Banking-as-a-service) through our cloud-based open-banking platform to allow Fintechs to offer financial services to all the population, and especially the unbanked”, Javier concluded.
“We are thrilled to be the trusted provider for international money transfer services for Accendo Banco and its customers. In today’s competitive payments environment, cutting-edge technology improves customer experience and sets providers apart,” said Rohit Bammi, Global Head of Institutional Business, Nium.
“Nium’s mission is to create a global fintech infrastructure that can enable banks, financial institutions and other fintech companies to launch and scale innovative digital financial services without the complexity, time and cost previously required to do so. This partnership with Accendo Banco is a testament to that effort,” Rohit continued.
How cloud computing can empower e-commerce
Instead of keeping your data in one single machine, cloud hosting, in particular, involves storing your data in several different devices whereby each machine has different server and are in different locations, but all are connected and work as one.
In this article, I will be giving an overview of the benefits of cloud hosting. The data can be accessed and managed in all the servers across the cloud using virtual machines.
The hosting server isn’t a single physical device but only occurs in a virtual environment made up of a server cluster, therefore the name cloud.
Besides the fact that cloud hosting makes use of the computing power of any amount of machines means that you not only have the vast potential compared to traditional hosting but also it permits you to access other services that are provided by other devices.
E-commerce hosting, on the other hand, is simply a service that allows you to host a website with a pre-installed online store platform to ease the creation of your very own online store.
Consequently, an e-commerce website tends to be different from other websites. The site needs some additional functionalities and features to develop a maintainable set-up for making sales.
The additional features involve adding a shopping cart, payment processing services, database support, and security initiative. E-commerce hosting is simply cloud hosting that can support all requirements, like paying processing service and other specialized.
Cloud e-commerce solutions
Cloud e-commerce means the process where the centralized remote computer is hosted on the internet fully utilizes the exertion service and storing information process.
It gives a range of advantages over the traditional method of on-premise storage.
The best cloud solution should offer fast, more reliable, and dedicated solutions and services for both ease of use and power. You should opt for no less than 99.9% server uptime.
Another reason why I would recommend this service provider is that they allow for growth. You can start small and advance with them as you grow your business, which is also a great advantage for small scale businesses.
Within the last decade, the cloud has gained popularity because it’s cheap to maintain and reduced complexity. To this day, the cloud has become an optimal solution model on the arcade.
Scalability and demand
A workload forms in the e-commerce hosting because of the traffic variabilities with its seasonal spikes. The hardware that is required should be able to handle the seasonal traffic peaks (Black Friday, Holiday Sales, etc.)
Business growth is the other side of scalability. It includes increasing the popularity of your store by integrating new services and further store evolution that enhances the business’s growth.
The e-commerce solution should be a flexible platform and a scalable environment that offers quick responses to business encounters and prospects.
When using cloud hosting there is no need to buy extra equipment and hiring new staff for maintenance services. With cloud hosting, your business can acquire all the required ceremonies and resources on demand.
The advantage of pro protection is that it saves your time on assessing your risks and data defense, and this gives you ample time to focus on your business. Hosting your business on the cloud, the cloud vendors are the ones who take all the risks.
As a business owner, you don’t have to be troubled by your network security and protection, personal and customer files safety, or data encryption. The cloud hosting providers usually finish third-party certification, and security is their priority.
Apart from accessing your website with regular backup, you should ensure that your e-commerce store is readily available, and there is no data loss in case there is an emergency.
The cloud is a perfect suit for e-commerce because you only pay for the resource when you only need them.
With cloud solutions, a company can reduce its overall expenditure by up to 70% on building static environments, scaled for traffic peaks. For instance, the hardware used for several days in a year for the cloud you pay when you use a resource.
Accessible from any place
If your business operates internationally, then a cloud solution provides a vivid advantage taking into account the speed required to control and e-commerce application.
With cloud e-commerce, you have an isolated network of servers that quickly respond to your desired demands to take content fast without considering the customer’s location.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
It is a type of cloud service that mainly focuses on issuing virtual servers and on-demand data storage on disk. Customers can purchase the remote datacenter infrastructure service, which is better than buying their hardware.
Benefits of cloud computing for e-commerce
There are several fabulous benefits you get to enjoy using cloud hosting which includes:
Traffic spikes happen when you have a product launch or a discount day on your e-commerce site. Still, online businesses get to enjoy a healthy balance by cloud hosting. It prepares for the congestion spikes by hosting the set-up in high-tech cores for the concord of awareness.
If your business uses cloud platforms, you could be enjoying one of the advantages of speed that no on-site infrastructure could provide. A well reliable e-commerce site would insinuate and rising curve in your selling graph.
For those who want to build an online presence and reputation, cloud hosting provides a considerable saving for a business basing on the fact that you only have to pay for what you pay. The profits in conservation can go into expanding other parts of the company.
Trust is very fundamental in the e-commerce world. The customers trust that the product you have described is correct, and it is the same that will be delivered. They also provide confidential payment details. The customers believe that their credentials are secure.
With cloud computing, you get PCI-DSS certified hosting. Besides, cloud computing can assure superior security measures that protect the DDoS attack, leading to customers losing confidence if the website is reliable.
Cloud hosting is a powerful solution that is especially useful for e-commerce and online store maintenance. You get power, stability, and improved security – which is all essential for improving conversions. I hope this article helps you make an informed choice for your business. Good luck.
Konsentus launches international Open Banking Hub
Konsentus today announced it has launched an international infrastructure platform with the ability to accelerate a country’s implementation of open banking.
The Konsentus Open Banking Hub (OB Hub), a SaaS based solution, runs in a national cloud infrastructure, has end to end functionality and helps create, support and secure vibrant open banking economies across the globe.
The OB Hub removes the complexity involved in setting up a central and secure open banking ecosystem within a country, enabling regulated entities to quickly and easily share data and execute payment transactions with each other. The OB Hub has three core components.
- i) Participant on-boarding and registration services
Through Identity and Verification services, authorised participants (both organisations and individuals) can register and on-board within the open banking ecosystem enabling them to share data and execute payment transactions with other regulated entities in a secure and safe environment.
- ii) Directory Services
A central directory service that participants can access in real time, online, 24/7 to verify the identity and regulatory status of individual entities when transaction requests are made. The OB Hub is a central repository of the latest available regulatory information on all registered and regulated entities. This includes performance and availability data, contact details, data updates and revocation information and history for all participants
iii) Certificate Authority
The OB Hub issues and manages the digital credentials of all participants in the open banking ecosystem. This enables participants to positively identify themselves to other regulated entities in order to perform open banking transactions such as sharing data and executing payment transactions.
The OB Hub provides a rich data management system enabling national authorities to monitor the adoption and success of open banking in their country. An immutable audit log is a record of all transaction requests, providing valuable information for dispute management processing. Quick and easy to set up, OB Hub provides a trusted central system, enabling all regulated entities to interact with each other in a safe and secure environment.
Additional elements of the OB Hub enable publication of National API standards, a third party provider (TPP) testing sandbox, a central API and App marketplace, and an API monitoring service to show real time national API performance.
All the above comes with a secure messaging platform for participant to participant messaging reporting and a dedicated helpdesk for support services.
In addition to the onboarding, directory and certificate checking services, the complete Konsentus OB Hub solution delivers a programme management forum to educate market participants, alongside testing and support services to enable a fully functioning national open banking environment.
Mike Woods, CEO, Konsentus, commented “The creation of a central open banking platform enables us to help individual countries realise their open banking ambitions without having to understand, build and execute their own systems. We already deliver first-class technology that’s scalable, resilient and built for maximum availability. Data consolidation, standardisation and formatting in a secure real-time, online environment are why we are global leaders in our field and the trusted partner for safe and secure open banking economies.”
inAtlas en el Top Ten de las principales empresas en Location Intelligence
La revista IndustryWired sitúa a inAtlas entre las diez principales empresas de Inteligencia de Localización con herramientas efectivas para el éxito empresarial
– inAtlas ha desarrollado Geomarketing, una aplicación eficaz y útil basada en la Location Inteligente que detecta las zonas de mayor rentabilidad y optimiza las acciones de captaciones de nuevos clientes y retenerlos
La Location Intelligence o Inteligencia de Localización se ha convertido en una tecnologia ágil y eficiente que recopila, analiza datos geoespaciales con aplicación práctica en los diferentes sectores económicos y permite lograr el éxito de las empresas.
La revista IndustryWired, conocida por su gran impacto en el sector tecnológico, en su reciente artículo Top 10 Location Intelligence Companies Redefining usiness Success, sitúa a inAtlas, empresa especializada en Location Analytics que ofrece soluciones estratégicas de negocios basadas en la ubicación, en el ranking de las diez mejores empresas de Inteligencia de Localización que utilizan esta metodología para optimizar los éxitos ante los desafíos empresariales al detectar tendencias, adelantarse a sus competidores y tomar decisiones más inteligentes.
La publicación realiza un análisis acerca de la efectividad de utilizar herramientas de Location Intelligence para conseguir éxito en el desarrollo de estrategias empresariales y toma de decisiones eficaces mediante la integración de datos de ubicación generados a partir de diferentes fuentes como comportamientos del consumidor, factores ambientales, IoT o sistemas GPS entre otros. La aplicación de Geoanalitica online de inAtlas, apunta la revista, ayuda a los clientes a realizar planes de negocios, diseñar campañas de marketing, encontrar nuevos clientes, implementar estrategias de geo-marketing o encontrar lugares ideales para nuevos puntos de venta y franquicias.
Además, recoge los diferentes servicios de la compañía, sus soluciones comerciales sectoriales, servicios de geolocalización, generación de leads, geomarketing, monitoreo de la competencia, análisis predictivo y prescriptivo, mapas de expansión y los modelos de propensión a compra.
inAtlas, ha desarrollado Geomarketing, una herramienta que relaciona contextos geográficos con datos de los mercados empresariales y sociodemográficos para negocios B2B y B2C. Esta aplicación se fundamenta en la Inteligencia de Localización y ofrece un amplio abanico de soluciones y utilidades, para bancos, empresas de seguros, inmobiliarias, retails, empresas de sector telecom y energía,cadenas de franquicias, redes de negocios, aportando valor añadido, para simplificar el proceso de toma de decisiones de negocios.
Geomarketing, permite sincronizar de forma continua la información interna del negocio, gestionadas por CRM, Softwares de Business Intelligence y ERP con información actualizadas de los mercados de empresas y hogares, oferta inmobiliaria, catastro y bases de datos sectoriales en la totalidad del territorio de España y Portugal.
Gracias a la Inteligencia de Localización, inAtlas, detecta cuáles son las zonas de mayor rentabilidad, hecho que permite optimizar las acciones de captaciones de nuevos clientes y retenerlos. “Conocer la monitorización del comportamiento de los clientes, competidores y proveedores de un área elegida, junto con la localización y el comportamiento de una empresa en el mapa aumenta la competitividad de las empresas al ser capaces de actuar con diligencia, anticiparse y encontrar oportunidades de negocio”, asevera Silvia Banchini.
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