The latest news and insight on how the technology sector is reacting to Covid-19.
Cisco offers payment deferrals to 2021
Cisco has launched a $2.5bn financing programme to let customers defer as much as 95% of payments until next year. The programme is intended to give companies room to breathe as they face potential financial difficulty, but still need more tools for remote work.
Many businesses are now running almost entirely online as a result of coronavirus, and Cisco has seen a rise in the use of its network software, including Webex and AnyConnect.
The company’s new financing offer requires no payment for three months, and then 1% of money owed in each of the last five months of 2020.
UK tech job vacancies fall 31%
Tech hiring activity among the UK’s top 100 tech companies has fallen 31% in the last month, according to job listing sites Adzuna and WorkinStartups. More than 250,000 job vacancies were reportedly lost between March and April.
The largest tech companies have scaled back hiring, with some forced to furlough staff. However, the data paints a mixed picture dependent on the industry that the tech company serves. Among others, subscription delivery companies are scaling up recruitment drives after a huge surge in demand.
Marketing, social media and I.T. sales jobs in tech companies have been the hardest hit with hiring down 60% month-on-month. By contrast, engineering jobs have held up far better and hiring is down only 20%.
Boeing delivers instalment of 3D printed reusable face masks
US aerospace and defence company Boeing has delivered a shipment of 2,300 reusable 3D-printed face shields to support efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19. Designed for healthcare professionals, the first set of face shields have been accepted by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Boeing is using additive manufacturing machines to manufacture face shields at various sites in the US. The company will be ramping up its production by increasing the numbers to thousands more face shields every week. It has also donated thousands of units of personal protective equipment including face masks, goggles, gloves, safety glasses and protective bodysuits.
Space agencies open £2.6m in funding for NHS England
The UK Space Agency has launched a joint initiative with its European counterparts to make £2.6m in funding available for projects that support the NHS in fighting coronavirus. The government has called on industry and the UK’s universities to develop technology and equipment – from hand sanitiser to ventilators – to support the NHS. This new funding will be available to innovators from across sectors, but a proposal should involve “the use of some space technologies”, according to the European Space Agency.
Space is already playing an important part in healthcare. UK start-up company Lanterne recently announced a free app to help people observe social distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus, using GPS satellite data and AI technologies.
The space agencies have opened funding to find innovators who could support the NHS in specific ways. Funding is for projects which will directly address at least one of the following issues: logistics within the health delivery system, e.g. with drone deliveries; managing infectious disease outbreaks; population health and wellbeing; recovering health system function and handling backlogs after the crisis; and preparedness for future epidemics.