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While the pandemic has been harassing humanity these past few months, expectations have been rising for government and other powerful organisations around the world to manage the crisis effectively. What has big tech been up to in all this?

In the past few months, big tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, have stepped up to provide aid in the form of monetary packages, technological equipment, healthcare products, as well as helpful apps

In the past few months, big tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, have stepped up to provide aid in the form of monetary packages, technological equipment, healthcare products, as well as helpful apps.

Let’s take a peek.

Google Map’s Transit Alerts

A week back, Google introduced a new feature to Google Maps on Android and iOS that aids users to easily find important information when venturing out by car or public transportation. Transit alerts will inform users beforehand about how crowded a bus station might be or if a trip is likely to be affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

Read more: IIT Based Startups Innovate to Bring Unique COVID-19 Solutions

The feature is being rolled out in India, along with countries like Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, Thailand, United Kingdom, the US, and others.

They are also introducing COVID-19-related driving alerts for cross-border transport in Canada, Mexico, and the US. Alerts will also appear to remind users to verify eligibility and facility guidelines of medical facilities or COVID-19 testing centres in Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, South Korea, and the US.

Microsofts Employee Outreach and Back2Business Solution Boxes

Microsoft Power Apps released Employee Outreach, a solution that tracks employee health and their families’ without headaches of privacy. It also facilitates work-from-home for employees, monitors attendance and work hours, while also resolving IT complaints, among other issues.

While the solution was released in March this year, last week, Mphasis, an IT solutions provider for cloud and cognitive services, announced the implementation of Microsoft’s Power Apps to ensure the safety of its employees and maintain productivity during the current lockdown. More than 26,000 employees are currently using the app.

Microsoft released Employee Outreach in March after it was developed on Microsoft’s Power Apps’ crisis communications template.

In May, Microsoft launched the Back2Business Solution Boxes to help Indian small and medium businesses (SMBs) continue business while adopting cloud. The solution is curated to cater to specific scenarios in organisations of different sizes, with offerings in Azure and Modern Workplace.

The Indian SMB sector is the worst hit because of the pandemic and hence are facing several difficulties in running operations smoothly, such as sound remote working solutions, disaster recovery, and cybersecurity. The Back2Business Solution Boxes claims to offer tailor-made support to boost employee productivity and improve customer engagement.

Facebook’s Blood Donations Feature

Among many other problems, the pandemic has given rise to a problem of blood shortages since people are not able to donate as before. Yesterday, Facebook has announced the expansion of its Facebook Blood Donations feature with the aim of connecting more people to their local blood banks, so that they become aware of a shortage in time and also know where it is safe to donate.

The feature is now available in India along with countries like the US, Brazil, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, as well as African countries such as Kenya, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and Egypt.

The social media giant is also working with partners in India and Brazil to connect people with local blood banks and hospitals via the Blood Donations feature.

Amazon’s COVID-19 Supplies and Aid in WHO Academy

Last week, Amazon Web Services (AWS) aided the World Health Organisation (WHO) in launching an app called ‘WHO Academy’ to support global health workers in their healthcare activities for COVID-19-infected patients. The app helps workers access information from the WHO’s daily expanding bank of educational material and guidance. It also offers virtual skills workshops and other live training.

AWS helped WHO launch the app 12 months ahead of schedule by providing support in advanced cloud technologies and technical expertise.

Read more: Six Startups Helping India Fight COVID-19

Keeping in mind the rising demand for health and safety products, Amazon Business has expanded its COVID-19 Supplies to India, along with Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan. The initiative was created in the US to fulfil the immediate needs for products such as facial shields, surgical masks, ventilators, digital thermometers, exam gloves, medical gowns, sanitizers and wipes.

Users can select the ‘Free Priority Delivery’ offer as the default shipping option at checkout to avail eligible items, which then get the fastest available shipping speed, sometimes as soon as the next business day.

Aid for SMBs, Healthcare, and Citizens

Big tech’s economic relief has been overwhelming during the current crisis, with SMBs and healthcare organisations making up a major part of the beneficiaries. The average citizen can also look forward to aid in the form of new technologies, health equipment, and supportive apps.


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