Remote software under pressure but companies are confident


The latest news and insight on how the technology sector is reacting to Covid-19. 

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Millions of new users put Microsoft under pressure

Microsoft has had to throttle some of its key services to cope with the pressure of millions of new users. The company will reduce Data Loss Prevention (DLP), and backup solution bandwidth during weekday hours, shrinking download limits on OneNote and reducing video resolution on SharePoint.

Microsoft described these as “temporary adjustments”, which it told customers were “vital” to keep its software running. Customers were sent a message about the changes, which have also been fleshed out in a range of updated user documents.

The move comes as pressure mounts on internet (and Microsoft’s Azure) infrastructure amid a surge in bandwidth use driven by work-from-home users and children sent home from school. Microsoft said March 19 it had added 12 million Teams users in just seven days; hitting 44 million daily users, up from 20 million in November.

Chinese manufacturing startup bullish in face of market turmoil

Chinese electric vehicle startup Nio said it expected to make a positive gross profit margin in the second quarter of 2020 despite the market turmoil caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Since launching production of its new EC6 battery powered sedan in February, the company had become increasingly bullish about its full year prospects.

Nio delivered 2,305 vehicles in the first two months of 2020, lower than its original target set before the virus outbreak, and expected to deliver between 1,100 and 1,300 cars in March. Having resumed production at its Hefei plant in Anhui province late in February, the company expected output to return to normal levels in April.

The company delivered 20,565 cars last year, an increase of 81% year on year. Although it is currently loss-making, Nio last month said the Hefei city government had agreed to invest more than CNY10bn (US$1.43bn) in the company which would help secure its long-term future.

New hub for distilleries pivoting to hand sanitiser production

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) has launched an online portal to help the increasing number of distillers producing hand sanitiser. The council said yesterday that it has worked closely with regulators to overcome red tape. Distillers now have "clear direction" to follow TTB, FDA and WHO guidelines, the trade organisation said.

"The nation's distilled spirits industry is mobilising to aid our communities, hospitals and first responders during this time of crisis," said DISCUS CEO Chris Swonger. "This new portal will serve as an important resource for the hundreds of distillers who are stepping up to produce sanitiser. This is not only the right thing to do for their communities, but it also allows some of these craft distilleries to keep their stills going, maintain their employees and stay afloat during this crisis. Further, we are co-ordinating closely with the federal Covid-19 task force as part of the nation's collective efforts to fight Covid-19."

The portal will serve as a conduit between distilled spirits manufacturers, industry suppliers and distribution channels.

Protective masks to be 3D printed

Grupo Antolin, a car interiors manufacturer, has launched a new programme to produce protective medical equipment for Spanish hospital workers.

Grupo Antolin RyA, the production plant located in Valladolid, has started the production of medical gowns for healthcare personnel. In total, about 50 volunteer employees are going to manufacture 4,000 gowns a day using the fabrics employed in the production of vehicle headliners.

The company is also producing parts to manufacture protective masks using 3D printers, with the masks being distributed to the Burgos University Hospital. Grupo Antolin employees are collaborating personally with this initiative producing material on their 3D printers at home.

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