At this point in time, neither the Coronavirus nor the damage it has done to the world needs an introduction. Affecting over 190 countries around the world, the pandemic has brought most industries to a complete standstill. In countries like Italy, Spain and the USA, everything but essential services is on hold. A similar situation has recently hit India. Also Read - Coronavirus: Here's how you can help in fighting COVID-19 from your home
However, despite the global slowdown, there are brands that are still working. Working not just in their respective fields, but in new avenues, aiming to curb the disease or help those fighting against it. Tech brands across the globe are using their resources for the greater cause. Let’s have a closer look at how companies are making a difference in India. Also Read - Coronavirus: Here are all tech brands offering extended warranty due to the lockdown
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Smartphone brands to the rescue
Smartphone brands probably have a closer connect with the public than other tech companies. Popular brands like Xiaomi and Vivo have taken steps to improve the ongoing situation in India. Vivo recently donated a large number of N95 masks for doctors and healthcare professionals. Xiaomi went ahead and also provided hazmat suits to the brave doctors who deal with many coronavirus patients on a daily basis. Oppo also announced recently that it has donated 300,000 masks to affected countries apart from China. Also Read - Coronavirus: India may be working on a tracker app using location data
Customers in need not abandoned
There are also companies that are extending their warranties and customer-centric services through the lockdown period in India. Brands like Oppo, OnePlus, Realme and Huawei have extended their warranties. Moreover, despite manpower hitting an all-time low, brands are continuing to offer real-time support via email, chat and more. Service centers are still running, and brands are adopting measures like only taking in four customers at a time. Huawei is also providing doorstep repair services for users of the Huawei Watch GT series in India.
There are also leaders who are using their resources to help countries in need. For instance, Alibaba founder Jack Ma sent out a shipment of 1 million masks and 500,000 coronavirus testing kits. The billionaire recently took to Twitter to let people know that the first shipment was on its way to the USA. The Jack Ma foundation also announced in January that it will donate 100 million yuan ($14 million) to support the research and development of a coronavirus vaccine.
Cloud computing – The pandemic’s unsung heroes?
Most countries depend on various websites to keep things running. These include e-commerce platforms that are on war-footing, delivering groceries and other essential items. There are also OTT platforms including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video that people are using at a much higher rate due to them staying at home. Most of these websites and domains are running efficiently and catering to a large population like that of India because of well-run cloud computing.
Players like Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are making the shift from personal to virtual possible. “We have taken measures to prepare and we are confident we will be able to meet customer demands for capacity in response to COVID-19,” said an AWS spokesperson to CRN. Microsoft meanwhile is prioritizing its cloud services to first responders and emergency services. This means that even if the scale of the Coronavirus pandemic grows larger, Microsoft has partnered with governments across the world to support critical infrastructure and emergency management services on priority.
Google is prepared, should Coronavirus make things worse
Meanwhile, Google also has been prepared for unseen circumstances like these. In a recent Google Cloud blog post, the company mentioned that “peak traffic to Google services including cloud, increased by up to 16 percent between February 10 and March 16 in Europe”. Further, it also mentioned that despite the shift from enterprise-grade office networks to people’s personal networks, the company has surplus computational resources. As per the post, in locations like the US, Google is utilizing only 25 percent to 33 percent of its total capacity during peak hours during the Coronavirus pandemic. That still leaves 75 percent to 66 percent of resources to allocate in these regions.
How are e-commerce players in India keeping up?
Since March 24, Amazon and Flipkart, India’s largest online retailers, restricted customers from placing orders. Amazon mentioned that it would prioritize the delivery of ‘critical’ items like household staples, packaged food, healthcare, hygiene, and personal safety products. “This also means that we have to temporarily stop taking orders, and disable shipments, for lower-priority products,” wrote the company in a blog post.
Many Amazon customers also reported that their ‘non-essential‘ orders placed before March 24 were canceled as well. Meanwhile, Flipkart started the Coronavirus lockdown by ceasing all operations. It later started operating after a few hours only for grocery and essentials deliveries.
Edtech brands step in
Back in November 2016, digital payments became mainstream in India over the course of a single night. That was the consequence of India’s Demonetisation. Now, popular Edtech platforms in India are temporarily filling in for schools. Taking the opportunity, Edtech platforms Byju’s made all its learning platforms free till April end. Applicable for students from class 1 to 12, the platform will help kids stay on track with the syllabus.
Rival Toppr also offered free access to its live, video classes for school kids till March 31. The company also said that free sessions will be further extended if schools can’t reopen after March. Meanwhile, Unacademy announced 20,000 free live classes for people preparing for various entrance exams. “We want learners to utilize this time…We will support the education system in every way possible to weather the storm,” said Gaurav Munjal, co-founder, and CEO of Unacademy.