MONTPELIER — The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department released a new mobile application to help the public recreate outdoors in a safe and socially distanced manner. The “Vermont Outdoors” app connects the public with department lands, fish and wildlife regulations and up-to-date COVID-19 guidance.
“We’ve seen an increase in outdoor recreation across our 100 wildlife management areas and nearly 200 fishing access areas since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lands and Facilities Administrator Mike Wichrowski. “This new app will encourage Vermonters to find new opportunities to hunt, fish, trap, or view wildlife on public lands and waters. The app will also provide access to fish and wildlife law digests, baitfish dealers, department news and current events, and the ability to report fish and wildlife violations.”
This project was paid for with federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) stimulus to enhance outdoor recreational opportunities. Other CARES funded projects completed by the department included improvements to boat ramps and other water access points, wildlife management area roads, parking areas and informational signage.
The application can be downloaded at the Apple App Store for iPhones or Google Play for Android phones.
For more information, call Lands and Facilities Administrator Mike Wichrowski at 802-917-1347.
In challenging times, an extra obstacle can seem exponentially burdensome. Every traveler is dealing with the restrictions caused by the response to the Coronavirus, but for additionally marginalized groups or even those travelers who make personal security a priority, comfortable and safe travel takes on a new meaning.
The Airbnb phenomenon saw much of its popularity grow because it gave the appearance of being superior to the traditional hotel. Airbnb properties generally offered more space, better amenities and more local information. However, there are some common problems that have caused a drop in Airbnb popularity, namely illegal rentals, untrustworthy hosts, false advertising and last minute cancellations. In fairness, Covid-19 has taken the biggest bite out of nearly every aspect of the travel industry.
At times like these, where concerns for safety are larger than what can be contained in a bottle of hand sanitizer, the reassurance of friends, or even friends of friends, can be more important than a concierge with an electronic thermometer. Enter myfriendlyhost.com, a new travel app that helps travelers looking for safe vacation rentals. The service is unique as it has become a partner of Facebook, and uses the capabilities of the network to provide safe accommodation for rent from friends. In contrast with Airbnb, in which the traveler nearly always rents from strangers, myfriendlyhost.com creates a network where travelers can rent from “friends.”
The associated app allows users to see if they’re connected through friends to the service providers. This gives a feeling of security, as those providers are already in a safe circle of friends. With no booking fees, no intermediaries, and only direct communication (the app resembles Instagram), the traveler can see a list of both friends and mutual friends who might be a property host.
On the flipside, the service provider, who is often a property owner disillusioned by Airbnb and its anti-owner policies (such as taking high commissions) has turned to alternatives such as booking.com and flipkey.com. Though myfriendlyhost.com is a safe alternative to Airbnb, it also boasts that it is more B2B than strictly B2C since the property owner also has concerns regarding safety and property liability. Renting to people within a friendly network is simply good for business.
The list of stakeholders behind this concept begins with the investors from startaventures.com, whose website states, “the only way to go big is to go global.” The inequity addressed by this venture is indeed on a global scale. Ironically, though the concept is global, it all began with two brothers, Victor and Sergej Semeniaka.
VIJAYAWADA: With the number of crimes, particularly house burglaries, on the rise, the Vijayawada city police are advising the denizens to use the Locked House Monitoring System (LHMS) mobile application to secure their houses while going out on vacation.
The city police launched the LHMS App in 2017 to prevent burglaries when the owners are out of town, particularly during the vacation. The LHMS App has been used by only 184 people this year, compared to 1,772 people in 2019, and 28,505 in 2018.
“The year it was launched, we received just 451 applications from the public through the app, but later we started getting a good response. However, due to lack of awareness, people are not utilising the service,” said Police Commissioner Bathini Sreenivasulu. The LHMS App can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, and one can use it to tell the police on which dates the house will be unoccupied. Users will have to register 24 hours before they leave the house, so the police can install surveillance cameras.
After receiving a request, personnel from the police station concerned visit the house and install a wireless motion camera, UPS and wi-fi modem. “Suspicious movements in the locked houses are communicated to the control room and the information is passed on to the ground-level personnel, who will rush to the house in less than 10 minutes. The same will be sent to the owner’s phone,” Sreenivasulu explained.
He also advised the public to keep their valuables in bank lockers before going on vacation. “We are going to start awareness campaigns and conduct seminars in all police station limits to raise awareness among the public on the LHMS App,” Sreenivasulu said.
Transport for New South Wales is using predictive data to enable commuters on Sydney trains and metro access to real-time notifications about passenger occupancy for the service they are travelling on through the Opal Travel app.
Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the real-time passenger capacity alerts will help commuters know whether there is space to maintain physical distancing from others while travelling.
“The new feature is a world leading piece of innovation that uses real-time capacity and predictive data to help customers make better choices when travelling,” he said.
“We have already implemented the green dots across the network, and the notifications are another way we can help maintain physical distancing and keep people COVID safe.”
The alert system was developed with Amazon Web Services, Tigerspike, and AppJourney.
The opt-in alerts will initially be available to registered and unregistered Opal cardholders, who have travelled in the last 21 days by train or metro, and have the Opal app’s latest version.
Notifications will be sent to commuters 30 minutes before commuters start their specified trips.
See also: Citizen data compromised as Service NSW falls victim to phishing attack
The system will also be used to alert commuters about trackwork, delays, and major incidents during their travel window.
Transport for NSW said it plans to roll out the system to light rail, ferry, and bus “soon”.
This is the latest initiative by the NSW government to ensure citizens remain COVID safe. In September, its QR code COVID-19 contact tracing scanner solution went live state-wide.
The technology allows customers to use a QR code scanner that has been integrated into the latest version of the Service NSW app to check in at hospitality venues and Service NSW centres across the state, which will enable contact tracers to quickly access customer details for potential COVID-19 contact tracing.
In the same month, NSW Health confirmed that it had requested from Transport for NSW Opal card data in its contact tracing efforts.
“NSW Health can be provided with Opal card data if the initial case provides their card number and is registered with Opal,” a spokesperson said.
“When a passenger tells contact tracers they have travelled by public transport, TfNSW provides the details of other registered Opal cards used on the same service, as allowed under legislation.
“This information is treated with strict confidentiality, as is all information accessed by contact tracers, including information from the COVIDSafe app.”
In March, the state government began rolling out automatic pedestrian signal crossings in the immediate vicinity of major health precincts across greater Sydney to minimise the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
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Service NSW says it’s focused on ‘human-centred design’.
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This will include upgrades to the aerial fleet, existing emergency infrastructure, and Fires Near Me app.
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United Airlines Holdings(NASDAQ:UAL) on Wednesday will become the first U.S. airline to test a digital health project designed to standardize international COVID-19 screenings and allow for borders to reopen.
United and Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific Airways are both testing a system set up by CommonPass, a nonprofit backed by the World Economic Forum that hopes to create a “COVID passport” of sorts that will ease concerns about the virus spreading via travel.
Image source: United Airlines.
Travelers on a United flight from London to Newark on Wednesday will upload COVID-19 test results into their smartphones and complete all health screening questionnaires required by the country of entry. The system verifies that the test results, or eventually vaccination records, come from a trusted source and that they satisfy the destination country’s requirements.
Users of the system will get a QR code that border officials can scan upon arrival.
The system isn’t an app itself, but rather the underlying technology that can be used in apps created by airlines, travel companies, and government agencies. The goal is to have an international standard trusted enough that it will allow countries to do away with the bans and quarantine procedures currently in place.
Other airlines are expected to trial the system in the months to come.
Airlines have struggled since the onset of the pandemic, and it will likely take years for lucrative international travel to return. Although there isn’t likely to be any immediate impact from initiatives like the CommonPass, any framework that helps governments feel more secure in lifting travel restrictions should help travel demand to return more quickly than it otherwise would.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — A public-interest foundation is testing a smartphone app that could make it easier for international airline passengers to securely show they’ve complied with COVID-19 testing requirements. It’s an attempt to help get people back to flying after the pandemic sent global air travel down by 92%.
The Switzerland-based Commons Project Foundation was conducting a test Wednesday of its CommonPass digital health pass on United Airlines Flight 15 from London’s Heathrow to Newark Liberty International Airport, using volunteers carrying the app on their smartphones. Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Customs and Border Protection were observing the test.
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