Quick Base, a provider of a platform for building low-code applications, announced this week that it is making its platform available for free through Sept. 30 to first responder organizations that need to build applications quickly to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jay Jamison, chief product and technology officer for Quick Base, said it’s apparent first responders soon will need applications to track things ranging from assets such as ventilators to heat maps that show the number of patients in a geographic area relative to the number of intensive care units (ICUs) available.
Quick Base is also making available templates that can be employed to build the most common types of emergency response applications, such as ones already being employed by the City of New Orleans.
Examples of other applications that will be needed include the ability to track businesses in real-time that may be flouting COVID-19 restrictions or landlords that are evicting tenants despite emergency decrees, noted Jamison.
Most of these applications will need to be developed in days versus weeks or months. To that end, Quick Base is also making available to first responder organizations the expertise of its internal customer success staff as well as third-party consultants, he said.
In addition, Quick Base plans to certify many of these applications for distribution via its online store, which will make it easier for a first responder organization in one locality to leverage an application that has already been developed by another first responder organization.
In general, Jamison said first responder organizations will need to apply DevOps principles across their entire organization to adjust to highly fluid situations. Applications undoubtedly will need to be modified as processes evolve and new emergency decrees are declared, he noted.
The biggest challenge from an IT perspective is many first responder organizations lack the process expertise needed to build an application on the fly. Volunteers with IT expertise will be needed to work alongside medical experts, who will need applications that most likely will be deployed in the cloud but made accessible via a range of mobile computing devices. The chances all those applications will work perfectly when first deployed is almost nil, so timely updates to applications will be critical.
Of course, applications and IT processes are not always the first things that come to mind to combat a pandemic. However, the faster first responders can respond to changing conditions on the ground, the more lives that might potentially be saved. In some large cities, it’s probable first responders already have access to a range of applications that to vary degrees might scale to meet the current challenge. However, in smaller localities, the availability of such applications is nominal at best.
Quick Base is not the only provider of low-code and no-code tools for building applications, so there are plenty of options for building applications quickly. Whichever the platform employed, time is going to be of the essence. Outbreaks in Italy, Spain and China have already shown how quickly events can spiral out of control. If any new application is going to be relevant in any other emerging CIVID-19 hot zone, the work to build that application needs to start immediately.