This International Women’s Day, a Vancouver Island woman is being recognized for a smartphone app she developed to help people who experience anxiety and panic attacks.
Ania Wysocka’s app Rootd will be featured in Apple’s App Store on International Women’s Day as part of a celebration of app developers who are women.
The Victoria resident told CTV News Vancouver she developed the app, which has been downloaded more than 600,000 times, in response to her own struggles with anxiety.
Wysocka had her first panic attack during her fourth year as an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia.
“I really had no idea what (panic attacks) were beforehand, and I was really caught off guard,” Wysocka said. “I was far away from home, I had no family doctor, I was on a student loan budget, so I really relied on things I could find in textbooks and different resources online to figure out what was happening.”
Years later, she would look back on the experience and think about how much better it could have gone if she had known what to expect.
“That’s what inspired me to start Rootd,” she said.
The app has everything from guided meditations to an actual panic button, and Wysocka said users tend to embrace the features that help them with their specific needs.
“People really use it differently depending on what they are experiencing,” she said.
At the centre of all the app’s features is Ron, a little monster who serves as Rootd’s mascot. He’s a visual representation of anxiety, but he’s also friendly and supportive, Wysocka said.
“He was really a representation of how I felt at the time,” she said. “Through learning cognitive behavioural therapy, you kind of realize that you have to befriend some of these emotions that are otherwise really overwhelming, and so Ron became the symbol for that.”
Some of Rootd’s users really relate to Ron, Wysocka said.
“They talk about him like he is a person,” she said. “There’s reviews that come in along the lines of, you know, ‘Ron is the only one there for me,’ ‘I feel so alone, but then I have Ron and Ron gets me through the night.'”
Wysocka said she’s happy that the app has been a success and that Apple has decided to feature it for International Women’s Day.
That said, the stories of everyday people who use the app are more important to her than how many downloads it gets.
“(People) use Rootd to go back to school, they use Rootd to go back to work, they use Rootd to rebuild confidence that panic attacks and anxiety have taken away from them,” Wysocka said.
The app is available in the App Store and on Google Play, and more information is available on the Rootd website.
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Nafeesa Karim
Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries
Britain is in talks with six companies about building gigafactories to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the discussions.
Car makers Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, conglomerates LG Corp and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in talks with the British government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, the report added .
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
EBay to sell South Korean unit for about $3.6 billion to Shinsegae, Naver
EBay Korea is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with market share of about 12.8% in 2020, according to Euromonitor. It operates the platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9.
Shinsegae, Naver and eBay Korea declined to comment.
Lotte Shopping had also been in the running, the Korea Economic Daily and other newspapers said, citing unnamed investment banking sources.
South Korea represents the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has soared to account for 35.8% of the retail market in 2020 compared with 28.6% in 2019, according to Euromonitor data.
Shinsegae and Naver formed a retail and e-commerce partnership in March by taking stakes worth 250 billion won in each other’s affiliates.
($1 = 1,117.7000 won)
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum
The 3,500 MHz is a spectrum companies need to provide 5G, which requires more bandwidth to expand internet capabilities.The auction, initially scheduled for June 2020, is expected to take several weeks with Canadian government selling off 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas.
Smaller operators are going into the auction complaining that recent regulatory rulings have further tilted the scales in the favour of the country’s three biggest telecoms companies – BCE, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc – which together control around 90% of the market as a share of revenue.
Canadian mobile and internet consumers, meanwhile, have complained for years that their bills are among the world’s steepest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has threatened to take action if the providers did not cut bills by 25%.
The last auction of the 600 MHz spectrum raised C$3.5 billion ($2.87 billion) for the government.
The companies have defended themselves, saying the prices they charge are falling.
Some 23 bidders including regional players such as Cogeco and Quebec’s Videotron are participating in the process. Shaw Communications did not apply to participate due to a $16 billion takeover bid from Rogers. Lawmakers and analysts have warned that market concentration will intensify if that acquisition proceeds.
In May, after Canada‘s telecoms regulator issued a ruling largely in favour of the big three on pricing for smaller companies’ access to broadband networks, internet service provider TekSavvy Inc withdrew from the auction, citing the decision.
Some experts say the government has been trying to level the playing field with its decision to set aside a proportion of spectrum in certain areas for smaller companies.
Gregory Taylor, a spectrum expert and associate professor at the University of Calgary, said he was pleased the government was auctioning off smaller geographic areas of coverage.
In previous auctions where the license covered whole provinces, “small providers could not participate because they could not hope to cover the range that was required in the license,” Taylor said.
Smaller geographic areas mean they have a better chance of fulfilling the requirements for the license, such as providing service to 90% of the population within five years of the issuance date.
The auction has no scheduled end date, although the federal ministry in charge of the spectrum auction has said winners would be announced within five days of bidding completion.
($1 = 1.2181 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio)
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