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A Tech Nation report indicates that in 2019 the digital tech sector grew six times faster than the rest of the UK economy and that more than £10 billion of inward investment helped UK tech businesses to grow. Those with technology based degrees and IT skills are the most sought after graduates. The COVID-19 pandemic is proving why. Now more than ever we have seen what an important role technology plays in society. Be it working from home whilst the country is on lockdown, or the development of technology to assist the NHS, we simply could not survive without it.
The Coronavirus is one of, if not the, biggest crisis the NHS has ever faced. Companies such as Doctify and Babylon Health amongst others have begun offering free video consultations to lessen the burden on GPs. BenevolentAI is a company which is working on identifying existing drugs that could potentially combat the virus or at the very least alleviate some of the symptoms. This response and growth in medical tech companies will no doubt benefit society going forward. Once this pandemic is over these IT/Tech companies could be developed further and should for example become the first port of call before visiting your GP, which could have the potential to transform the already heavily burdened NHS.
An app called ‘C-19 COVID Symptom Tracker’ has been launched and quickly rose to the number one medical app in Apple app store. The app was developed by Zoe in partnership with Kings College Hospital in London. It is not simply a diagnostic app but instead collects data on the symptoms presented by the wider public which will in turn better inform both the NHS and the Government how best to cope with the virus and what plan of action to take moving forward.
COVID-19 has evoked a strong sense of community in many. The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is looking to tech companies for rapid sanitising technology to speed up the time it takes to clean ambulances to help in the national effort against Coronavirus and save lives. It can take up to 45 minutes to clean ambulances once they have transported a patient suspected of having COVID-19. The DASA has recently launched an open call for innovators, seeking the tech industry’s help with creating a solution to this time consuming cleaning process. This technology if successfully created could be rolled out to public transport which would protect future generations also.
When the UK lockdown was announced the government were able to send texts to our mobile phones which read, “GOV.UK CORONAVIRUS ALERT. New rules in force now: you must stay at home” and “Protect the NHS. Save lives.” This enabled the Government to get in touch with people directly, but it was not without its difficulties. Vodafone in particular struggled to get all of their messages sent out on time and took two days to complete this process. There are now talks of exploring the emergency messaging system, like the US, which has a wireless emergency messaging system which would mean the UK Government could reach out to everyone at the same time. Again this is something which after COVID-19 is over could be developed and should be used for other events such as weather disruption and to help locate missing children.
Staying in touch with others has never seemed so important. Be it catching up with members of your family, having quiz nights with your friends or working from home, video calling is on the increase. One company in particular has seen its business balloon overnight. In a recent blog post Zoom, a service which provides video conferencing service both free and paid, have noted the sheer size of their growth, ‘To put this growth in context, as of the end of December last year, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid, conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million. In March this year, we reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants, both free and paid.’
This article has been produced for general information purposes. Our Technology Sector team is available to assist with any queries you or your company may have during this uncertain time.