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Fukuoka City conducted Beyond Coronavirus PoC

Revolutionary technology showcased in Fukuoka.

Seven Companies Selected for Beyond Coronavirus Demonstration Experiment!

5 min read

 Fukuoka City recruits international change-makers to help develop solutions for new and pressing problems. To identify outstanding ideas that will solve issues created by COVID-19, we developed Fukuoka City’s Beyond Coronavirus Demonstration Experiment as part of our Demonstration Experiment Full-support Project. The project was formed in partnership with Fukuoka Growth Next and with cooperation from the Fukuoka Directive Council, Yell! FUKUOKA, and FGN ABBA Lab.

 The selection committee received many applications for the Beyond Coronavirus Demonstration Experiment project. After careful review, seven projects were selected to move forward in the process. The chosen projects address issues in a wide range of areas, including FoodTech, co-working environments, automatic translation, and more.

 One selected project, Whoscall, was created by Taipei-based startup, Gogolook. A multiple startup support MoU exists between Taipei City and Fukuoka City, making this an even more exciting choice! We would like to share a bit about Whoscall and why this is one of the many interesting projects being tested in our city thanks to the Beyond Coronavirus Demonstration Experiment project.

Experiment Highlight: Whoscall

 Where are you located, and who are your founders?

 Gogolook was founded in Taiwan by our three co-founders, Jeff Kuo(郭建甫), Jackie Cheng(鄭勝丰), and Reiny Song(宋政桓).

 Why did you create Whoscall?

Our vision is to create a global contact network of trust through innovative and user-centric designs. With Whoscall, we empower people to trust and to be trusted.

 Why did you apply to become a "Beyond Coronavirus" Demonstration Experiment project?

As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated, we discovered that spam calls increased at the same time! Since the outbreak, Whoscall has blocked more than 100 million spam calls worldwide.

During this time, Whoscall collaborated with Taiwan government officials such as Audrey Tang (唐鳳, Digital Minister of Taiwan, who developed the "eMask" distribution platform) to suppress the rise of Coronavirus scams. Audrey Tang said of the collaboration, "We are grateful that Whoscall works with the government to jointly crackdown on scams and fake news."

As a pioneer in the fight against fraud and spam calls, Gogolook works with governments around the world to protect the public. Now, with the support of Fukuoka City, we are bringing our expertise to combat fraud and fake news to Japan. We are determined to help the people of Japan to be as safe as possible from fraud.

 Please explain your project to us.

 Based on our successful anti-scam experiences worldwide, we would like to solve scam issues in Japan too. Besides the data we already have on hand, we are going to collect further localized information from citizens in Fukuoka through the PoC project.

Furthermore, we are going to release an anti-scam chatbot and open Whoscall’s API for landline telephones as a next step of the PoC.

How Whoscall Can Help

 How do you think this project will make a positive impact?

At the beginning of March, WHO announced a COVID-19 pandemic when cases showed up in more than 100 countries. At the same time, Whoscall noticed that scam reports from our international userbase surged rapidly with the number of suspicious calls in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, and Brazil, reaching three times the usual amount.

 According to the research from Whoscall data, 20% of scam calls in Japan came from numbers overseas. The number of overseas fraud calls is increasing every year, with 159% year-on-year growth from 2018-2019, and 205% growth from 2019-2020.

Whoscall is currently the only number identification app in Japan that has a database of overseas phone numbers, and it helps prevent fraud by identifying malicious calls from abroad and blocking incoming calls. Whoscall has already blocked more than 100 million fraudulent phone calls and SMS (short messages) since January 2020.

 What is your vision for the future of the project?

 To combat the ever-evolving complexity of fraud and scams, we will continue researching and developing new technologies to protect every single phone call.

Improving Our Future

 We hope the solutions brought to Fukuoka through these projects will assist our residents while simultaneously serving as inspiration for other communities impacted by the virus.

While the application phase for Fukuoka City's Beyond Coronavirus Demonstration Experiment is now closed, Fukuoka City is recruiting new Demonstration Experiment Full-support Projects to revolutionize our city. Global participation is encouraged – If you think your work could improve life for Fukuoka's residents, then we invite you to apply!

Alexa Huth

Writer/Editor for Fukuoka City

Alexa is a communications specialist and passionate supporter of Fukuoka’s startup ecosystem.

Click here to find out more about Alexa.