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As Covid-19 continues to impact the world, tech companies rally to fight back *Updated 24 April*

By Ken Wong - 24 Apr 2020

Alphabet, AMD, Apple, Canon, Facebook, Google, Grab, HP

*Updated with AMD and Salesforce on 22 April 2020*

*Updated with IBM and Razer on 24 April 2020*

Image courtesy of Pexels.com

As countries and individuals continue to deal with the effects of Covid-19, tech companies are also joining in the fight using their products, solutions, skills and expertise.

 

Alphabet/Google

Image courtesy of Alphabet

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog that the company was partnering with the U.S. government in developing a website dedicated to Covid-19 education, prevention, and local resources nationwide. It would include best practices on prevention, links to authoritative information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), and helpful tips and tools from Google for individuals, teachers and businesses. Google is also conducting stringent checks for YouTube and its search engine to ensure fake news about Covid-19 doesn’t get spread.

Google.org issued a US$250,000 direct grant to the Chinese Red Cross. Additionally, they launched an internal campaign inviting Googlers to donate. So far, Google.org and Googlers have raised over US$800,000.

For those of us stuck at home and trying to manage work, home, kids and family commitments, don't forget that digital wellbeing is a big focus for Google ever since last year and they've tips and tools for those using Android phones.

 

AMD

Image courtesy of AMD

In a blog post, AMD President and CEO, Lisa Su, said that the company would be launching a Covid-19 HPC fund to provide research institutions with computing resources to accelerate medical research on Covid-19 and other diseases.

The initial funding round will be US$15 million of high-performance systems powered by AMD EPYC CPUs and AMD Radeon Instinct GPUs to partner HPC nodes. AMD joined the Covid-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, a private-public effort spearheaded by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Energy and IBM to bring together government, industry, and university leaders who are volunteering free compute time and resources on world-class supercomputers to help fight the global pandemic. For medical customers, AMD is prioritising and expediting product shipments including AMD embedded processors used in ventilators and respirators.

In addition to this, AMD is also contributing more than US$1 million to charities and medical foundations, as well as local organisations in Canada, India, Malaysia and Singapore. They have also secured and donated hundreds of thousands of masks to medical professionals.

 

Apple|Google

Image courtesy of Apple

As contact tracing becomes a valuable tool to help contain its spread of Covid-19, Apple and Google will be launching a solution that includes application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing.

Launching in two steps, the first will be in May when both companies release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores.

Second, in the coming months, Apple and Google will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into their underlying platforms to develop more robust solutions. More details here.

Apple is also pulling together resources to supply a million face shields every week to medical workers.

 

Canon

Image courtesy of Canon

Together with Nagasaki University, Canon Medical Systems Corporation has developed a rapid testing kit for Covid-19. A report released on March 26 stated that in positive specimens, the testing system can detect 15 or more viral genome copies per reaction within approximately 10 minutes with 100% sensitivity. The entire test procedure, from pre-processing the sample to obtaining the test results, can be completed in as little as 40 minutes, which is much less than the time required for conventional genetic testing methods.

 

Facebook

Image courtesy of Pexels.com

Facebook with working hard to ensure that everyone has access to accurate information while removing harmful content. It is also banning ads for medical face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and COVID-19 test kits.

The company is matching donations to support COVID-19 relief efforts and donating US$25 million to support healthcare workers on the front line. Facebook is also investing US$100 million in small businesses and making it easier for people to support their local businesses with digital gift cards and fundraising pages.

Facebook Singapore is partnering with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Marketing College and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) to launch a series of training sessions via webinars to help SMBs to cope and ramp up their recovery amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The list of seminars can be found here.

 

Grab

Image courtesy of Grab

Volunteer Grab drivers are providing healthcare workers in Singapore with a dedicated, round-the-clock, on-demand service to enable healthcare professionals to travel to and from hospitals seamlessly. Some 2,000 drivers have signed up as volunteers for this GrabCare service.

 

HP

Image courtesy of HP

To help people keep their HP tech up and running, HP will be automatically extending all consumer product warranties expiring between March 1 and April 30 by 30 days. They will also be providing 24/7 Concierge Service to answer customers’ top questions related to Covid-19. HP will also be donating millions of dollars in technology and support through a concerted effort across Personal Systems and Print to help students, families and communities HP CEO Enrique Lores said in a blog post.

HP will be deploying HP BioPrinters and associated supply cassettes, free of charge, to NGOs, government agencies and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate drug and vaccine research to combat Covid-19. The company’s 3D Printing team and HP’s Digital Manufacturing Partner Network will work to design, validate and produce essential parts for medical responders and hospitals, including parts such as ventilator valves, breathing filters and face mask clasps, as well as entirely new parts such as plastic door handle adaptors which enable easy elbow opening to prevent further spread of the virus.

HP will also make available any HP proprietary design files for these parts so they can be produced anywhere in the world and are also helping end-customers bridge potential supply chain interruptions by expanding distributed print-on-demand capabilities