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Coronavirus updates: tech industry resources, and how to help


For the latest updates of government business support for tech companies and community resources, visit our Coronavirus Info Hub.

This is a regularly updated blog that contains the latest updates on the Coronavirus pandemicís impact on UK and global tech and business, including examples of how tech is supporting the fight against this virus.

Iíve said a few times this will be the most high-tech response to a pandemic in human history so far, with many tech companies rising to the challenge to help save lives, save businesses and join communities.

Data Ė itís availability, aggregation and applicability for delivering solutions Ė is at the heart of efforts by Government to understand the spread and maintain control over the Coronavirus.†

First and foremost, healthcare data is essential and Iíve previously highlighted some of the UK companies involved in using AI to support work in this field. A few days ago, NHSX Ė the unit within the health service tasked with its digital transformation Ė published a blog outlining the power of data in a pandemic, and their plans to work with Google, Microsoft, Palantir and AWS as well as Upscale 3.0 alumni Faculty, to deliver a data platform for the NHS. Itís a fascinating read about the temporary aggregation of disparate forms of data which are harmonised and then used by the private sector to match† scope (how fast the disease is spreading and where) to interventions, from availability of ventilators to sickness absence in hospitals.†

Matthew Gould, who heads up NHSX and previously the digital directorate at DCMS, is a great advocate of the role of tech in tackling public policy problems. His team is well aware of the importance of data in this crisis and the need for an authoritative, responsible and secure repository body to own it. The intention is to open up as much data as possible over time Ė both to support public understanding but also tech solutions. If deployed successfully, this could be the new benchmark or tech driven solutions to other public policies in the years ahead.†

Data is also invaluable to Government in understanding the impacts of COVID-19 on society.† The retail headlines today are about grocery sales at record levels and removal of restrictions on some products. But for more nuance I would cite this less obvious use of data that gives insight. Future Fifty 7.0 company Starling Bank have seen grocery shopping payments moving to delivery over time whilst panic buying is reducing. It would seem we are getting more accustomed to the new normal.†

Equally important is studying whether the social distancing message is getting through. It may appear a little illiberal for Government to get this data, but itís anonymised and no different from the processes that help your satnav to predict the quickest route home.†

Across the board, the pandemic we are experiencing is as good a call to arms for opening up more data as we can have.†

I wanted to end this blog today by directing you to the results of a survey about how the Coronavirus is impacting tech companies. You can read a separate blog †on some of the headlines for that survey Ė thank you to all those that took part.†

Finally, we have also updated the COVID-19 information hub page Ė pulling together an extensive hub of business support and information for the tech industry, to help you get through these challenging times, including links to further Hubs by, Scaleup Institute, Enterprise Nation, British Business Bank..

New Gov links which have showed up in the last 24 hours:†

New Welsh Gov support in the form of a £500m economic resilience fund.†

UK government support has also been updated.

You can see all the main links and information in the Coronavirus Information Hub.

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