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Technology Companies Responding to Coronavirus Pandemic

Discover how technology businesses are responding to the Coronavirus crisis with technical solutions, adjustments to travel and conference cancellations  

As we grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, technology businesses are doing their part to prevent the spread of illness and keep employees, customers and the general public safe.

The COVID-19 crisis seems to evolve constantly, but businesses are making decisions that help with combatting the public’s collective health.

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What Are Companies Doing to Help Businesses Affected By COVID-19?

Cisco has made a significant move designed to help businesses that have decided to shift to virtual meetings, deliberate social distancing and work from home.

The company has made its popular Webex product free for 90 days to any businesses that are not existing Webex customers. It’s also enhanced its free Webex offering to help customers with emerging communications needs.

Webex is a videoconferencing and web conferencing tool. It allows users to upload and share presentations, documents and videos.

The additional features available under the free version include:

  • Unlimited usage with no time restrictions
  • Up to 100 participants allowed
  • Toll dial-in in addition to voice over internet protocol (VoIP) functionality

Why Is Cisco Offering Webex for Free?

It’s a smart move for Cisco to provide added value to existing and potential customers in a time of need. Some of those customers opting for the free service may convert to paying customers.

There’s also clear data that shows the need for new connectivity options. Cisco reports that China-based traffic on its Webex backbone had increased 22-fold since the outbreak started. Demand was up 4-5 times in Japan, Singapore and South Korea and free sign-ups had ballooned up to 7 times greater than in pre-outbreak periods.

In addition to the increased activity and services, Cisco said it is working to accommodate customers on a case-by-case basis facing unique communications challenges, such as increased work-from-home demand.

“There is an unprecedented increase in remote working happening worldwide, which is growing exponentially daily,” Cisco notes. “Many who are working from home are not doing so as a perk, but as an imperative.”

What Are Other Tech Responses to the Coronavirus Outbreak?

Here is a roundup of some of the other tech company responses to the coronavirus crisis:

  • Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter were expected to participate in a White House summit to discuss how to respond to the crisis.
  • Facebook is using its detailed population maps to help health officials address disease outbreaks and distribute supplies
  • Facebook, Google and Twitter have worked to fight coronavirus-related misinformation and conspiracy theories from appearing on their platforms. The companies have also boosted information from trusted organizations such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Metabiota, a health technology company, used early analysis to predict the spread of COVID-19 to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan
  • User conferences, tech conventions and summits are being canceled or converted to virtual events
  • Companies such as Twitter, Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook are restricting employee travel to Level 3 countries
  • Netflix and others had pulled out of participation in South by Southwest, the popular gathering of art, tech and music before the event was canceled

Technology is likely to play an ongoing role in the fight against coronavirus. Telemedicine provides access to care while keeping patients isolated and health care workers protected. Blockchain technologies can help with disruptions to global supply chains. Telecom tools like Webex make it easier for companies to switch to work-from-home models and schools and colleges to shift to distance learning.

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