U.S. Labor Department to remove computers from data 'lockups'

Reuters | January 16, 2020

The U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Thursday announced changes to economic data “lockup” procedures, which would result in the removal of computers from its Washington newsroom effective March 1. BLS Commissioner William Beach said the changes were in line with recommendations by the Labor Department’s Inspector General back in 2014, and was intended to keep data secure prior to public release, stay ahead of rapidly changing technology and remove the advantage of media in providing data to high-speed traders.

Spotlight

This is Open Knowledge International’s first State of Open Government Data report. Based on key findings from our work on the Global Open Data Index (GODI) 2016/17, it outlines the obstacles to open government data publication, and suggests steps that will allow progress in the field of open data. In our view, public institutions should align the data they produce with the needs of civil society groups, citizens and other users.

Spotlight

This is Open Knowledge International’s first State of Open Government Data report. Based on key findings from our work on the Global Open Data Index (GODI) 2016/17, it outlines the obstacles to open government data publication, and suggests steps that will allow progress in the field of open data. In our view, public institutions should align the data they produce with the needs of civil society groups, citizens and other users.

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GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

Indigov Receives $25 Million in Series B Funding

Indigov | May 31, 2022

Tusk Venture Partners, 8VC, Wicklow Capital, Align Ventures, and Valor Equity Partners participated in a $25 million Series B investment round for Indigov, the premier constituent service platform for public officials. This takes the total amount raised by the company to more than $38.3 million. Indigov is a multi-channel constituent experience management platform that helps public officials organize, respond to, and engage those they serve proactively. It was launched in 2019. Officials may get real-time insight into the pulse of their constituency thanks to the platform's rich reporting and analytics. Indigov is also used by the federal, state, and local governments to manage casework and triage incoming communications that might otherwise clog their inboxes. Indigov presently helps hundreds of congressional, state, and municipal leaders who represent more than 150 million people in the United States. Americans have relied on their government for aid more than ever in the last two years during the pandemic, from obtaining COVID and unemployment resources to expressing political expression. In general, the number of contacts with public authorities has gone up five times in the last ten years. This is partly because people now have more ways to get in touch, such as through email and social media. Staffing, budgets, and technology, on the other hand, have stayed unchanged. This has put a lot of pressure on employees, as well as disillusionment among voters and a loss of faith in our government. The U.S. government receives close to 53 billion requests a year from the public, the vast majority of which are managed in spreadsheets, email, physical paper, and outdated legacy databases. No company could function managing the level of communications public officials receive with the tools they use - when they fail, we all fail." Alex Kouts, CEO and Founder of Indigov Alex further added that these touch points are the democratic user experience, and they must be improved. Every day, they collaborate with government authorities to provide a service that not only meets but exceeds, private market expectations. They are making a whole new category of software to change the way people interact with the government from the ground up.

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GOVERNMENT INSURANCE

Wingsure Partners with AICIL to Provide Curated Insurance Products and Digital Management Services to Farmers Using Advanced Technology

AICIL | July 18, 2022

Agriculture Insurance Company of India Limited (AICIL), a nationalised insurance company under the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, has signed a three-year agreement with Wingsure, an insurtech company that leverages artificial intelligence and deep technology to protect farmers worldwide. As part of the agreement, Wingsure will use its advanced technology capabilities to significantly strengthen the accessibility of insurance products and services to farmers in India; curate and promote AICIL's comprehensive portfolio of agriculture insurance products and enable its channels, including groups and partner brokers, to distribute on its mobile app. Agriculture and the allied sectors are the largest sources of livelihood in India, with most rural households dependent primarily on agriculture and 86% percent of holdings being small and marginal. However, farmers are vulnerable to the impact of climate change and other livelihood risks and have sub-optimal access to risk awareness programs and modern resources. Launched to support economic empowerment with transparency and promote sustainability through modern agricultural practices, Wingsure's application leverages advanced computer vision, augmented reality, and voice capabilities to provide intelligence and facilitate the underwriting and insurance claims processes for small holder farmers. The partnership will have access to more than 40 million farmers in India and focus on transforming how farmers mitigate and adapt to climate change and other livelihood related risks. "We firmly believe that technology implementation is key to providing insurance and thereby protecting the underserved. Through our association, we will utilise the Wingsure technology platform to support our vision of how farmers can leverage insurance to mitigate risk." -Malay Poddar, Chairman and Managing Director, AICIL Avi Basu, Founder, and CEO of Wingsure, said, Wingsure's deep-tech platform revolutionizes how small holder farmers leverage insurance and financial products to protect their livelihood. It is designed to provide optimal access to risk awareness programs, climate smart practices & other modern resources as well as government backed schemes. The application uses AI and machine learning (ML) to rapidly process insurance underwriting and claims. We are excited to partner with AICIL in their vision to use technology for strengthening farmers' resilience in India. About Agriculture Insurance Company of India Limited- AICIL, controlled by the Government of India, has been implementing the crop insurance schemes of the Government of India since 2003-04. Currently, AICIL is implementing, inter alia, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Bangla Shasya Bima Scheme (BSBS), and Restructured Weather-based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) and many of it proprietary agriculture insurance products. About Wingsure- Wingsure leverages artificial intelligence and deep technology to protect farmers worldwide. The company operates in developing nations, as well as advanced countries, focusing on growers who are locked out of traditional financial services. Wingsure is dedicated to providing farmers with competitive levels of technology and security to maintain the dignity and sustainability of individuals worldwide.

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EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

medZERO Advances to Next Stage in LG’s Innovative Mission for the Future Global Challenge

medZERO | July 14, 2022

LG Electronics’ North American Innovation Center (LG NOVA) picked medZERO as one of the “Selected 20” startups advancing to the next stage of its Mission for the Future global challenge competition. The honor comes with $100,000 to help fund a collaboration for the next round of the competition. The recognition is the latest for the Portland-based startup medZERO, an employer-sponsored financial wellness platform that gives employees a smarter way to pay for healthcare via on-demand access to funds to pay their out-of- pocked expenses over time at zero interest and zero fees. In May, medZERO was one of six companies selected by the Meta Lab challenge, a prestigious competition sponsored by the Carolina Fintech Hub and MassChallenge, an international business accelerator program located in Boston. Since securing $5.7 million in seed funding last year from Silicon Valley powerhouses True Ventures, Village Global and other angel investors, medZERO launched its app in November 2021 and has been hiring and has more than doubled its customer base. Each of the 20 top contenders in the LG NOVA program were awarded $100,000 for proof-of-concept projects. medZERO was chosen in the Connected Health category as a company that is creating a new solution with potential to transform markets and industries, specifically as people change their perspective on new technology-based care. “We are honored to make it to this round, LG recognized that our highly scalable, mobile payments platform leverages technology to give employees greater control over their healthcare services and spending.” -Craig Froude, Co-Founder and CEO, medZERO. Chosen from a group of more than 1,300 applicants, the Selected 20 will continue in the process to develop their ideas while working closely with LG NOVA’s team of innovation and entrepreneurial experts over the next couple of months—with the goal of being chosen as a Mission for the Future challenge “Top 10” finalist. To be named in August 2022, the Top 10 will have the opportunity to build their business in collaboration with LG on an accelerated path to success, with full access to LG expertise, mentorship, and from NOVA Capital Alliance and investments from LG. Since its official launch in August 2021, the Mission for the Future challenge has invited innovators and entrepreneurs to submit their business ideas, technologies, and concepts that look to advance people, communities, and the planet. The initial “First 50” startups selected through the challenge program received access to basic business infrastructural support and networking after demonstrating exceptional proof-of-concept within emerging industries, as well as the potential for a successful partnership within the wider LG business. Over the last few months, our work with the First 50 startups has helped us continue to refine our vision for the future as we look at new areas of growth for LG, said LG Electronics Senior Vice President for Innovation Dr. Sokwoo Rhee, head of LG NOVA. We’re inspired by all of those who have participated to date with groundbreaking, thoughtful tech innovations to drive and contribute to our collaborative community and guiding principle of ‘outside-in’ innovation. With this announcement, we’re sharing the results of our ongoing work in engaging with the startup and entrepreneur community to create impactful technologies that will lead society into the future. About medZERO- medZERO is a Portland, Ore., healthcare-focused fintech company (www.medzero.com) designed to make healthcare accessible, affordable and equitable. Our employer sponsored platform provides employees instant access to funds to pay their out-of-pocket healthcare costs with no interest and no fees. Repayment is made through automatic payroll deduction and for users with Health Savings Accounts medZERO payments are pre-tax allowing them to save up to 30% on all qualified medical expenses. About LG NOVA- LG NOVA, the North American Innovation Center for global innovation leader LG Electronics, is a team focused on bringing innovation from the outside to LG. LG NOVA is based in Santa Clara, Calif. The center’s mission is to build, nurture and grow innovations that impact the future. About LG Electronics USA- LG Electronics USA, Inc., based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., is the North American subsidiary of LG Electronics, Inc., a $63 billion global innovator in technology and manufacturing. In the United States, LG sells a wide range of innovative home appliances, home entertainment products, commercial displays, air conditioning systems, energy solutions and vehicle components. LG is 2022 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year-Sustained Excellence. The company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and its “Life’s Good” marketing theme encompass how LG is dedicated to people’s happiness by exceeding expectations today and tomorrow

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