Apr 28th 2020

COVID-19: Reaction from the tech community

Are we in challenging times or are they strange times? Or maybe these are unprecedented and uncertain times? I think it safe to say that none of these adjectives quite do justice to the current situation society faces.

As demoralising and unfathomable as the current news cycle is, there have been positive stories filtering through from those who are rising up in this time of crisis to try and help others. Probably the most high-profile ‘feel good’ story in the UK has been that of Captain Tom Moore, who has raised more than £27 million to date by completing 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday. He also looks set to reach #1 for his cover with Michael Ball of You’ll Never Walk Alone.

In the world of business, organisations of all sizes are trying to make similar strides. The tech community has not been short of those going above and beyond to help support the international COVID-19 relief efforts. This blog will round up a few prominent examples of businesses which are trying to make a difference through technology.

Mirakl

Our client Mirakl has launched an online marketplace in France to centralise the distribution of critical supplies needed by hospital staff and other key workers on the front lines fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Mirakl has worked with the French government to create the online platform, StopCovoid19.fr which has enabled brands to provide frontline medical staff with more than 6.7 million face masks and 550,000 litres of hand sanitising gel in the two weeks since it launched.

One of the most impressive things about this project was that the site was set up and launched in less than 48 hours. Mirakl has also been in contact with the NHS about its desire to set up a similar service in the UK. Check out the Independent’s coverage of the platform here.

Dyson

The British tech firm and manufacturer originally known for its vacuum cleaner was quick to direct efforts towards building ventilators for the NHS when the crisis first took hold in the UK.

The tech behind both ventilators and vacuum cleaners is designed to pump air efficiently. This means that despite a lack of medical credentials, Dyson has the technology, experience and the engineers to help the UK at this difficult time.

However, despite lodging an initial order of 10,000 prototype ventilators, the government has since said that Dyson’s services are no longer required.

It seems that this is in part due to the fact that the required approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) would take time and delay their adoption and use by the NHS. In addition, the NHS’ need for ventilators has proven to be lower than the 18,000 that health secretary Matt Hancock said might be required.

Vodafone

Vodafone UK has been providing connectivity for the new NHS Nightingale hospital which was set up at London’s ExCeL Centre. The Nightingale Hospital is essentially the Government’s flagship coronavirus response and its success as a temporary hospital will be crucial in the coming weeks to hopefully save thousands of lives. Vodafone is offering free technical support to the hospital and has also boosted 4G coverage in the surrounding area.

Vodafone is assisting other temporary hospitals set up during the COVID-19 crisis including the new specialist quarantine pods developed at the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton. It has also upgraded two hospitals in the north east of England with 900Mbps broadband.

Finally, Vodafone has doubled the calling capacity for the NHS’ 111 service and can now handle 2,400 calls simultaneously. Crucially, it’s equipped over 1,000 workers so they can staff the lines and the service can be used to its potential.

Jaguar Land Rover

The British automotive company has most recently been in the news due to the fact is has had to furlough half of its workforce due to the pandemic. However, last week the company announced that it was utilising its 3D printers to produce visors for use by the NHS.

The items are being distributed free of charge to NHS trusts across the country by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) volunteers. JLR hopes to produce up to 5,000 visors a week for the NHS. Each face visor has been designed to be reusable and can be easily dismantled and cleaned before being used again; safeguarding NHS trusts against future shortages as the situation develops.

Is your business trying to get a CSR initiative off the ground to assist in the fight against coronavirus? Or you might just be looking for a PR agency that has its finger on the pulse whether in a time of international crisis or not. If this is the case, please get in touch to find out how we can help spread the word of your offering.