The latest news and insight on how the technology sector is reacting to Covid-19.
Internet usage rockets, popular search terms revealed
In some parts of the world internet usage is up 50% with around a third of the globe under some form of lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak. In response to the spike in activity cybersecurity company Redscan has analysed the most-searched for security and technology terms, based on Google Trends global search history data, revealing what businesses and individuals are prioritising and are concerned about. According to the data, searches for “business continuity plan” spiked between 8 March and 21 March. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced social distancing measures, with workers advised to work from home where possible. Searches for “remote working”, “collaboration tools” and “remote access” also reached record highs in March. Zoom is currently the most searched for online collaboration technology.
Startup Covid-19 grant competition launched
The UK government has created a pot of £20m in grant funding for technology and R&D businesses developing Covid-19 resilience for industries and service innovation. The government wants to help businesses that are creating new ways of working for industries such as delivery services, food manufacturing, retail and transport, and support people at home during the coronavirus outbreak. Grants of up to £50,000 will be available.
Suggested innovations from the government included new technology allowing retailers to respond better to sudden spikes of consumer demand and improve deliveries; companies working on new services for families to connect with, and remotely monitor, their elderly or vulnerable relatives; and businesses creating education tools allowing teachers to remotely set tasks and support vulnerable children. It is part of a competition run by Innovate UK, a government body providing support to innovative businesses. All the projects will begin by June this year and will last up to six months. The deadline for the applications is 17 April.
UK government recruits video games industry in Covid-19 fight
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working with some of the UK’s leading games companies to feature the government’s ‘Stay At Home, Save Lives’ instruction in some of their most popular games to help stop the spread of coronavirus. The government says that because young people spend more time playing video games than the rest of the population, in-game messaging represents a targeted and immediate way to reinforce the message to stay home where possible. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, said, “It is absolutely vital that we all follow the simple government advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. I’m delighted to see the UK’s brilliant video games industry stepping up to strongly reinforce this message to gamers across the UK.”
Apple to supply one million masks per week
Apple CEO Tim Cook has revealed the company is making plastic face shields to protect frontline medical workers in the US from the spread of the coronavirus. In a video he posted on Twitter, Cook said Apple was planning to make and ship one million protective masks per week and plans to expand distribution beyond the US. “Apple is dedicated to supporting the worldwide response to Covid-19. We’ve now sourced over 20 million masks through our supply chain. Our design, engineering, operations and packaging teams are also working with suppliers to design, produce and ship face shields for medical workers,” he said.