Our main inspiration is that we really want to help in a time of crisis.
Through reading the news, our own personal experiences trying to acquire supplies, and having family in the medical industry, we realized that with the current pandemic many people are short on crucial supplies. Medical staff and hospitals are short on PPE and ventilators. Individuals are short on household necessities, like toilet paper or cleaning supplies. By seeing many one-off attempts (ex. Go fund me pages) to crowdsource supplies, we realized that what one hospital, business, or individual is lacking, another one in the community may have a surplus of. We wanted to build a tool that could gather end-user supply and demand data, providing real-time consumer metrics and allowing consumers to crowdsource supplies from each other while giving manufacturers insights to the end of the supply chain (rather than just store metrics, for example).
Overall, our mission is to create an easy way to better allocate and distribute supplies to where they are needed the most, in a time of crisis.
What it does
We created a product that crowd-sources supply and demand data, building an inventory to address the supply crisis in two ways:
This data allows us to create a consumer to consumer marketplace allowing for supplies to be shared among end users, even after they have reached the end of the supply chain.
This data allows us to provide visualizations and statistics around supply and demand, allowing suppliers and industries to have a better idea about what products are needed the most and where.
In order to accomplish this, our product has two input forms:
- One form for consumers to input supplies in need
- One form for consumers to provide information about supplies they have
By then mapping this data, we allow users to quickly identify who may have the supplies they need or who they could donate (or sell) their supplies to. They can then utilize our platform to connect with each other. (Note: given the importance of social distancing, we plan to work with local volunteer organizations to find safe places for non-contact drop off and pick-up, once a supply match has been made.)
Additionally, our visualization tools provide suppliers/manufacturers with the real-time consumer information about where supplies are needed the most.
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
Creating meaningful maps and search results for the user, without overwhelming them with information. Deciding on what was most relevant to users in terms of people seeking supplies, as well as people providing information regarding their surplus supplies. We were intending to incorporate AWS’s Elastic Search, but ran into a time crunch.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Combining our skills in the data and analytics, healthcare, and software engineering fields to make a minimum viable product in under 48 hours.
What we learned
As we worked on the project, our plan became increasingly more clear. We realized that with ideas, you just have to get started somewhere and along the way the path becomes more clear. We also learned that we are capable of building something to make a change. We are both very passionate about helping out with this crisis and it is empowering to see what we can build in one weekend.
What's next for Link
We would like to make our visualization tools and analytics more robust. Currently we have a simple map, which demonstrates the location or supplies that users need or have, but we would like to build this out into a very robust and meaningful analytics platform. We would like to make the product more scalable by running the Python servers in a micro service architecture running on Amazon’s EKS