Coronavirus spread has reached every corner of the world. Mankind is witnessing the most critical times ever, ready to get registered at the apex – in the history of the 21st century.
The situation is such that every day in every country, city, and the countryside is almost unpredictable. People are constantly adapting to the changing environments brought about by the pandemic. This includes the private sector as well.
Going beyond their core individualities, private companies are coming forward with a helping hand. Hundreds of them are donating billions collectively to fight the crisis. Dozens are adapting their infrastructure and facilities to manufacture critical supplies like ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE). The IT sector is sharing important data and technology while others are taking measures to keep workers employed and paid.
Moreover, companies from different fields are entering unusual partnerships to stay supportive. From hundreds of such initiatives, we have handpicked a few.
Ford & General Electric
A person at the third stage of COVID-19 infection unquestionably needs a ventilator to stay alive and fight the virus. It is because in the most severe cases the lungs lose the capacity to deliver enough oxygen to the bloodstream.
By mid-March, the US had nearly 200,000 ventilators for the patients. But a few health experts predicted that the country might need 1 million ventilators with a growing number of cases in the coming days. This is when dozens of companies decided to remodel their manufacturing ability to make ventilators.
Two among these are Ford, a world-leading automaker, and General Electric (GE), a global conglomerate. Both the giants entered a partnership to manufacture ventilators. Ford is manufacturing ventilators for GE’s healthcare division. It has licensed an uncomplicated design that does not need electricity. These are licensed from Airon, a ventilator company based in Florida that has a manufacturing capacity of 50 ventilators. The design has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Ford also announced helping Airon enhance the company’s production capacity. For a while, the automaker has been making masks and protective hoods for healthcare.
Apple & Google
Apple and Google have entered a rare partnership to develop contact tracing technology. 99% of the world’s smartphones’ operating systems are powered by these two Silicon Valley giants. The collaboration aims to develop this technology to retard the spread of coronavirus.
The technology will make use of Bluetooth signals to track users that have come in contact with people exposed to the virus. The users’ smartphones with integrated contact tracing technology will emit unique Bluetooth signals. Phones within a six feet distance will be able to register data anonymously. This way it will enable users to opt into logging other phones around them.
Furthermore, people who are coronavirus positive can choose to send an encrypted list of phones they came near directly to the companies. Apple and Google then trigger alerts to possibly exposed users to investigate more extended information. As per the companies, their contact tracing system available on Android and iOS phones will not track GPS location.
The companies have started developing technology a few weeks ago. Health experts have appreciated the initiative saying that it will play a key role in managing the virus once the lockdown ends. However, they warn that the technology isn’t a replacement for testing.
Alexandra & SEKO
Global garments manufacturing giant Alexandra and SEKO Logistics have joined hands to fund and deliver PPE. Some of the equipment includes protective gloves, aprons, face masks for frontline staff.
Both companies will provide 380,000 items to The Order of St John Care Trust. It is the UK’s leading NGO working to enhance the quality of care for older people at 69 locations across the country. The Trust has a staff of 4800 people providing specialized nursing to over 3500 residents.
For over five years, SEKO has been the primary global supply chain partner of Alexandra. The latter has been supplying workwear and uniforms to millions around the world since 1854. In the UK alone, Alexandra supplies thousands of scrubs and uniforms to the National Health Service (NHS) workers.
On the other hand, SEKO Logistics has introduced a special initiative called ‘SEKO CARES’ to respond to the pandemic. In the US, SEKO in partnership with Project C.U.R.E, a non-profit humanitarian relief organization is supporting frontline workers. SEKO has donated over 240,000 masks which comprises 40,000 N95 respirator masks and 200,000 3-ply ear-loop masks. In addition, it has also distributed 2,500 disposable medical bio-protective suits.
Tata & WEF
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India-based global leader in the IT industry in partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF) is offering donations. This involves the provision of free educational software and secured research expertise to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
TCS is a subsidiary of Tata Group that has committed over 200 million USD to protect and empower affected communities. It is working jointly with governments in different countries where they operate. The funds by the company will offer training and PPE for health workers, testing kits, respiratory systems, and treatment facilities.
Besides, the company has developed a distance learning software program for educational institutions to access without any charges. The web platform enables educators to interact with students in real-time. They can share educational materials such as assignments, videos, assessments, etc. It also has an option to perform live classroom teaching.
Collaboration Of 25 Companies
In these times of crisis when healthcare systems are facing medical equipment shortages, 3D printing is being seen as a makeshift. Designs and a range of machines produce items by thrusting out to thousands of computers in a matter of seconds. World’s leading 3D printing manufacturers such as HP and Johnson & Johnson are coming forward to meet the global demand.
Collaboration is focused on using 3D printing technology to create healthcare equipment at a low cost. Together, they are working on scientific, clinical, material science, and technological expertise. Companies are gathering insightful data to manufacture products as per the requirement of individual patients.
Automaker master Volkswagen is also leveraging 3D printing to create face shield components. Under “Mobility goes Additive”, the company has joined forces with Airbus in a collaboration of 25 companies. The products will be used in Spain and delivered from Hamburg to Madrid by Airbus.
Collaboration Is Key Against COVID-19
Whether it is the task of creating an all-inclusive smart city or fighting the coronavirus outbreak, collaboration plays a key role. Today, companies from different parts of the globe are joining hands to fight the crisis. In doing so, companies are sharing and combining their expertise and knowledge to give rise to truly actionable and life-saving solutions. Exchanging opinions and learning the approach on both ends is also giving a better insight into ‘how we can work together.’
In the present times, this joint effort is proving to be an effective remedy in eradicating the COVID-19 crises. From a different point of view, it is making companies understand each other better and work in seamless coordination. A saying goes that “It is only our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength”. Understanding this, the new collaborations may bring in a lot more than expected.