Policy - Resources for Governments & Community Partners
Resources for Governments & Community Partners
To better enable virtual business environments for remote workforce, and as enterprises reorient their business operations from conferences, collaboration to classrooms, Adobe Connect can meet business needs with its interactive, scalable and secure virtual environments for businesses. In response to international public health advisories, Adobe is providing free 90-day access to Adobe Connect to help government agencies and businesses enable virtual environments for real-time collaboration and online training.
Amazon is establishing the Amazon Relief Fund with a $25 million initial contribution focused on supporting its independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees under financial distress during this challenging time. Amazon is offering all of these groups the ability to apply for grants approximately equal to up to two-weeks of pay if diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine by the government or Amazon. Additionally, this fund will support its employees and contractors around the world who face financial hardships from other qualifying events, such as a natural disaster, federally declared emergency, or unforeseen personal hardship. Applicants can apply and receive a personal grant from the fund ranging from $400 to $5,000 USD per person. Amazon will be publishing a website in the coming days where employees and contractors can apply for grants from the fund.
To help curb misinformation, Apple News has set up a dedicated section within its app for coverage of the coronavirus outbreak, featuring stories from reputable publishers curated by Apple News Editors. Apple has also curated a list of apps available for free download from reputable news organizations, many of which are offering unlimited access to their coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dell is working with customers in the area of infectious disease prevention and control. For example, Dell’s advanced computing clusters are being used to understand disease outbreaks, including how diseases like COVID-19 are spreading and how to better track them. Additionally, the University of Texas at Austin and other institutions in Hong Kong, mainland China and France used the Texas Advanced Computing Center’s (TACC) Wrangler system to analyze comprehensive travel data from location-based services to develop a model of the spread of the virus through China.
Dell has also set aside $3 million USD in funds and in-kind technology donations to help meet the greatest needs of communities and the front-line organizations working to treat and contain COVID-19 around the world. As the situation evolves, Dell will continue to assess opportunities to leverage our technology to deliver support where it is needed most.
Dell has set up a fundraising page where team members can donate to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation to help in the relief efforts. The CDC Foundation's Emergency Response Fund is used to meet fast-emerging needs identified by the CDC to help respond to the public health threat posed by COVID-19. These include additional support for state and local health departments, support for the global response, logistics, communications, data management, personal protective equipment, critical response supplies and more.
Dropbox is a smart workspace and collaboration platform that integrates with the cloud/web-based tools workers need to do their jobs securely and effectively while practicing social distancing. Dropbox has published a series of resources on its blog to help people work in distributed teams, as well as Dropbox product tips to help users get the most out of its services while working remotely. Dropbox is updating and adding to these resources regularly.
Dropbox is offering free Dropbox Business subscriptions for a three-month period to nonprofits and NGOs that are focused on fighting COVID-19. Organizations working to stop the virus or providing relief to those impacted are encouraged to apply here.
In response to the call to action issued by the White House to the tech community, Ericsson has partnered with the National Institutes of Health, Georgetown University, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on their open research dataset challenge (CORD-19). This challenge has 10 open tasks, ranging from understanding COVID-19 risk factors to finding treatment protocols. Already, 250 of the company’s engineers, data scientists, and AI experts signed-up and highly motivated to contribute and come up with innovative solutions to combat COVID-19.
Google.org is committing $50 million to the global COVID-19 response. As part of that support, we’ll be matching up to $5 million in donations to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) new COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to support global preparedness and response in communities affected by the spread of COVID-19. Campaign live here: g.co/covid19-donate.
Google.org is also continuing to support HealthMap, which is run by a team of researchers, epidemiologists and software developers based out of Boston Children's Hospital with contributors from Harvard, Oxford, Northeastern, and Johns Hopkins among others. Google’s grant will support their data collection and mapping to inform COVID-19 response and epidemiological modeling.
Honeywell is increasing production and making millions of N95 masks to aid health care and safety professionals and first responders in their response to COVID-19. The masks, which provide respiratory protection, will be manufactured in Smithfield, Rhode Island and delivered to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for distribution. Learn more here.
IBM is steering its resources to marshal a “Call for Code Global Challenge” to focus on solutions aimed at COVID-19.
IBM’s “Call For Code” program rewards independent developers around the world for helping to solve societal problems. More than 210,000 participants from 165 nations have taken part in Call for Code to date; they created more than 8,000 applications focused on natural disaster preparedness and relief, such as helping first responders in California fight wildfires, aiding the rehabilitation of Notre Dame Cathedral, and the creation of emergency communications connectivity in communities that were hardest hit by hurricanes in Puerto Rico.
This latest action identifies three areas for developers to create applications that address the pandemic crisis:
- Crisis communication for medical teams and emergency services;
- Ways to improve remote learning, since millions of students around the world are now in virtual classrooms; and
- How to help create cooperative local communities.
Applications will be built on open source software, including Red Hat OpenShift, IBM Cloud, IBM Watson and data from The Weather Company. IBM technical experts will work with teams who create the most promising solutions to build, fortify, test, and deploy them. It’s a way to bring individual developers and small development teams together and help them scale to solve some of the problems we now face.
IBM's Watson Health unit is working directly with health organizations around the world to better understand the nature of COVID-19. The IBM Clinical Development system has been made available – without charge – to national health agencies to reduce the time and cost of clinical trials by providing data and analysis from web-enabled devices. IBM’s cognitive Operational Risk Insight tool has also been made available to not-for-profit organizations.
IBM’s Summit supercomputer is helping researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) identify drug compounds that could disable the coronavirus, just as IBM’s Blue Gene supercomputer played a major role in identifying breakthrough drugs and treatments a generation ago. In a situation like this where time is a critical factor, supercomputers can play a critical role through digital simulation. Summit is digitally simulating the virus growth, and IBM is helping DOE to get simulated results in 1 to 2 days -- a drastic improvement from the months that standard computing systems would have taken. Summit has already simulated more than 8,000 complicated compounds and identified 77 that government scientists said might warrant further study.
IBM, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, DOE, and others in the tech industry, government, and academia recently launched the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, which uses the Summit supercomputer to bring forth an unprecedented amount of computing power to help researchers everywhere better understand COVID-19, its treatments, and potential cures.
IBM’s high-performance computing systems allow researchers to run very large numbers of calculations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling. These experiments would take years to complete if worked by hand, or months if handled on slower, traditional computing platforms.
Juniper Networks is offering a free secure “pop up Wi-Fi network” kit for any temporary COVID-19 testing facility. Initially available in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, this kit includes free Mist wireless Access Points, cloud-hosted operations with an AI-driven network and an SRX firewall (with PoE, DHCP and optional LTE uplink) to ensure a secure and reliable connection that can be set up quickly and easily. This kit is available to any healthcare facility looking to quickly deploy a secure and reliable wireless network in response to the COVID-19 crisis. More information on the terms of the offer can be found here.
Additionally, Juniper Networks' global services team is prioritizing any and all support for medical, healthcare and/or senior care customers with free premium support services. This includes priority expert-to-expert technical support; priority RMA, logistics and parts handling; as well as entitlement support. Any customer in these industries will be fully supported even if they don’t have an active support or maintenance contract. More information is available here.
LinkedIn sends a “Daily Rundown” which is a summary of the day’s news that is written and curated by experienced journalists. The “US Daily Rundown” is distributed to over 47 million individuals in 96 countries and 9 languages. They are written and curated by a global team of 74 experienced journalists who create, curate, and cultivate content. Members receive this in the form of a notification. This notification contains a link that redirects members to LinkedIn’s official page for the coronavirus which contains information and the most recent updates from verified and official sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other trustworthy news sources.
In addition to helping learners, instructors, and businesses use Teams, communities and health care providers can use Teams in their COVID-19 response, too. For Teams, St. Luke’s University Health Network is rolling out a telemedicine system enabled by Teams that will allows clinicians to conduct virtual visits with older patients who are vulnerable to the virus.
Microsoft Healthcare Bot provides the ability to quickly create a bot that helps customers meet their healthcare compliance requirements, and to surface in websites and other channels. The Healthcare Bot visual design tools allow easy customization of workflows and modification as the situation evolves and Microsoft has released a Healthcare Bot template for COVID-19 community interaction and initial triage. Healthcare Bot is priced based on messages generated by bot interactions. Microsoft is creating a 6-month free tier program for approved customers for COVID use cases. The Microsoft Services Disaster Recovery (MSDR) team has organized and deployed a COVID-19 Task Force (TF) to provide technical assistance to healthcare organizations and governments around the world. Providence Health System is using Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service to engage with and triage community members, including referring them to virtual care for COVID-19. The Healthcare Bot also includes a COVID-19 Triage Template using CDC protocols which other frontline organizations are customizing and deploying to meet their needs.
ServiceNow does business with about 80 percent of the Fortune 500 companies and many governments at the state, federal and global level. It is offering its customers a community portal where customers can interact with other customers to share ideas and best practices for how they are using the Now Platform and workflows to manage through the COVID-19 situation. ServiceNow has also launched an Idea Portal on the Now Platform where customers and employees can provide feedback and learn from each other.
ServiceNow’s business continuity plan covers the ability for its business functions to work remotely in a safe and secure manner so they can continue to serve its customers. All remote access happens using secure connections and multifactor authentication and is in compliance with applicable regulations and corporate standards. Its teams use multiple software as a service (SaaS) tools for collaborations and virtual meetings.
To help companies and government implement critical workflows for emergency response and crisis management as they manage through the COVID-19 crises, ServiceNow is making four free, open-sourced apps available. They will remain free throughout the virus crisis.
ServiceNow’s customer support team will support the four, free, open-sourced apps they are making available to help business and government manage through the COVID-19 virus.
The apps are:
- Emergency Response Operations - This app was created on the Now Platform by Washington State’s Department of Health to manage their own COVID-19 situation, and they are donating it for use by other organizations and public agencies. This app supports operational processes of emergency response and preparedness at the state and local government level. It helps optimize resources and staff in critical locations, and follows federal regulations required for emergency funding and reimbursement.
- Emergency Outreach – During a crisis, this workflow uses a mobile app to help companies connect with employees and assess the impact on their employees. Employers can reach out by email or push notification to provide information and safety measures and get a response to confirm if employees are safe, and where they are located.
- Emergency Self Report - This workflow helps an employee notify their employer that they are going into quarantine. A workflow helps the employee safely return to work.
- Emergency Exposure Management - When an employee has been diagnosed with an illness, this workflow helps the employer identify other people who might have been exposed based on the employee’s meetings and location. In addition, ServiceNow sells a number of other Business Continuity Management applications to its customers who use the Now Platform.
As the global government, health, and nonprofit communities work together to stop the spread of COVID-19, Twilio is working with businesses, non-profits, and government agencies to help people affected by the virus and keep each other safe.
Here are four ways that public services, health organizations, and NGOs are using Twilio to improve their COVID-19 response initiatives:
- Reduce Public Health Hotline Backlogs and Wait Times: No one likes to wait for answers to questions regarding health issues, especially when there is a lot of uncertainty and conflicting information circulating the internet about COVID-19. The most efficient organizations use Interactive Voice Response (IVR), chatbots, and artificial intelligence to understand if an inbound request should receive an automated response. For instance, repeated questions like, “How do I keep my family safe?” could receive automated answers. More specific or complex conversations typically require the personal attention of a staff member with specialized training. For example, your organization may need to escalate a call to video to remotely screen patients who self-identify as showing symptoms of the virus. Deploying automated chatbots and other self-service capabilities to share public service information and answer frequently asked questions will put the right information in the hands of citizens faster and more efficiently, while freeing specialists to tackle the complex requests only they can handle. That means faster service for everyone
- Combat Misinformation About the Virus with Proactive Alerts: All you have to do is look to your local grocery store pantry aisle or review local event cancellations to see that people are concerned about COVID-19. Much of this concern is stemming from uncertainty about which information to believe and speculation about how the crisis will progress. The World Health Organization (WHO) has referred to the harmful spread of misinformation about the virus as an “infodemic.” Proactive SMS, voice, and email notifications enable organizations to keep their constituents up to date on the latest information based on trusted sources of public health. As a trusted government, health or nonprofit organization, when you deliver information directly from your organization into the hands of the people who need it most, you will help cut through the fog of unfiltered speculation.
- Reach More People in Affected Areas by Using Preferred Communication Channels: Effective containment of the virus is largely dependent on providing everyone in Coronavirus-affected areas with the right trusted information to protect themselves and their families. This requires delivering your message over channels where end-users in need of assistance prefer to communicate. For instance, some users prefer using SMS while others like email, making phone calls, engaging in video consultations, or conversing with automated chatbots. Often, the urgency of the situation dictates how a person would like to be engaged. It’s best practice to ask your customers and community what channels they prefer whenever possible and ensure you’re respecting their preferences during your outreach. While many organizations offer phone systems, adding video, SMS and chat options can make your service more accessible to more people. The retail and technology industries deploy this omnichannel approach to drive up customer satisfaction, and organizations addressing public health can utilize the same technology and tactics to grow the number of people you can serve.
- Automate Patient Appointment Reminders and Scheduling: If you are treating people who need assistance, you likely incur a large operational burden around managing their appointments. One of the most effective ways Twilio has seen public and health organizations use technology to lower operational expenses is by automating this process. You can set up reminders via email, text, and/or voice to reduce no shows and ensure that appointment slots which are canceled can be offered to others. Many organizations also offer a text in option to schedule appointments in the first place. For organizations working with populations outside of the U.S, adding WhatsApp beyond SMS is another great way to ensure you’re reaching your patients where they are and driving high participation rates in appointments.
- For non-profits and social impact organizations, Twilio.org offers benefits through its Impact Access Program. More information is available here. For government agencies, Twilio's services are available for acquisition with discounts through its resell partner’s GSA Schedule 70 and other contracting vehicles.
- COVID-19: Best Practices for Public Health Crisis Communications
- Twilio.org Crisis Response and Prevention Initiative
Twitter’s mission is to serve the public conversation. As part of that mission, Twitter has deployed its Crisis Response operation to address the evolving challenges posed by COVID-19. This work includes ensuring the people who use Twitter have access to credible sources of information, assisting public health and relief efforts, and supporting its workforce.
Providing Access to Credible Information:
- Launched in January, Twitter has updated its COVID-19 Search Prompt to 64 countries in 20 languages — partnering with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) in the United States, and similar institutions in other countries — to ensure that when the public comes to the service for information about COVID-19, they are met with credible, authoritative content at the top of their search experience.
- Twitter is prioritizing an Event Page at the top of users’ Home Timeline and in the “For You” section of the Explore tab in more than 22 markets that features trustworthy information to help customers stay informed with timely updates about COVID-19.
- Twitter is providing advertising credits for NGOs to elevate public health campaigns.
- Twitter has an internal, cross-functional task force designated to enforcing its platform manipulation policies.
- Twitter continues to blue badge verify official government accounts, expert organizations, health professionals, and epidemiologists in local markets.
- Twitter will halt any attempt by advertisers to opportunistically use the COVID-19 outbreak to target inappropriate ads, based on its Inappropriate Content Policy.
As a uniquely open service, Twitter data from the public API is being used in research every day and the research hub is publicly available. Through a partnership with the UN Global Pulse Lab, agencies such as UNICEF and WHO can access Twitter’s Enterprise API to conduct further public health research. Twitter continues to partner with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the CDC to create and elevate engaging, authoritative content on Twitter, such as Twitter Q&As that utilize pro publisher tools.
Isolating employees to reduce the risk of disease spread doesn’t mean the end of productivity, in fact, moving toward a remote-first strategy now, can leave your organization stronger than before. VMware offers tools to help create a productive and secure environment for employees to thrive from anywhere. Learn more here.