23 Mar 2020

How DIGITALEUROPE members are supporting efforts to tackle COVID-19

Updated 25 March 2020

Our sector is known for its innovate solutions for big problems. Digital technologies have been at the forefront of efforts to detect, track and find a treatment for the Coronavirus, but also in mitigating the effect on the wider economy. Many European citizens are working from home using teleworking software and equipment, or their children are being taught by online education tools. Many of our members are providing these premium services free of charge. We should not forget that the ICT sector also provides the critical infrastructure which supports governments and hospitals in their response to the crisis.

Below you will find a non-exhaustive list of how DIGITALEUROPE members are doing their bit to tackle COVID-19. We will keep this list updated as more examples emerge.




National Trade Association

  • AGORIA has been busy helping its 1,950 member companies access the right information on various issues and feeding back to the regional and federal authorities. Their main finding is that the turnover of their member companies is halved compared to March of last year and social distancing continues to be the main priority.

  • AMETIC, our Spanish association launched a joint call with the Ministry of Industry for tech solutions to the crisis. They have put together a handy list of all the different companies that are supporting efforts. Examples: 

      • EURECAT, which has put its 3D printing equipment and materials at the service of those making medical equipment to fight Coronavirus
      • GMV has put Antari – its set of eHealth and remote consultation tools – at the disposal of the health authorities. 
  • Bitkom, one of our German associations, has gathered information on their website on how and where to apply for funding and recommendation on how to continue with work and education. They also provide an up-to-date list of webinars on digital topics. Bitkom also created an English summary on the German government’s ‘Rescue package’ for the Corona crisis.

  • Danske Erhverv, the Danish Chamber of Commerce, highlighted a project called EdTech Denmark,  made up of companies who have put their learning tools online for free to help teachers and students continue their education.

  • ITB, another of our Danish associations, is calling on its members to help them provide ‘digital support packages’ to the local community, recognising the crucial role that the ICT industry plays in helping people deal with the crisis. Examples:

  • IVSZ, representing hundreds of micro to small tech companies in Hungary, is helping to boost the digital switchover by acting as the middle man between companies offering online education solutions and schools looking to use them. They have also called on member companies to offer unused digital computers and laptops to those families that cannot afford them.

  • SEPE, the Federation of Hellenic ICT Enterprises, has created a special webpage that showcases the free solutions provided by their member companies, accessible to all.

  • Syntec Numérique, one of our French associations, has launched a new Twitter account @CovidSyntecNum calling on their members to put forward their innovative solutions to the crisis. Examples: 

      • Safesante is offering a remote consultation tool free for doctors. 
      • Advens are offering free assistance in case of a cybersecurity breach as well as a pack to help companies get started. 
  • Technology Industries of Finland are organising a ‘Code for Finland’ hackathon where volunteer coders and designers from their member organisations put their energies into finding a tech solution to Covid-19. This is the fourth time they have done this, with previous incarnations tackling issues like preventing school dropouts.

  • TechUK, our UK association has outlined all the different ways their members are supporting in a helpful blog.

      • For example, health-tech – apps like Babylon Health, Doctorlink or YourMD are helping people get health advice and doctor consultations from home.
  • ZIPSEE, one of our Polish associations, highlighted their member AB, which has donated laptops and smartphones to a hospital in Wroclaw.

  • ZVEI, representing over 1,500 German technology companies, has written about how ICT-enabled medical technology made in Europe is crucial to the treatment of COVID-19.





Corporate members

  • Airbus has repurposed its factories in the UK to make much-needed ventilators. They have also deployed their aircraft to deliver essential face masks from China to France and Spain. Copernicus satellites (partly manufactured by Airbus along with other partners) are helping the EU to determine the impact of COVID-19 on the single market

  • Amazon has launched the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative bringing together 35 global research institutions and industry to work on COVID-19. Amazon is also offering free access to its remote education, remote working and research tools to the public sector.

  • Cisco has made its premium Webex video conferencing tool free-of-charge, as well as training 1000s of teachers and university professors in Greece, Italy and Spain on how to use it. Cisco has generously committed $225m to the global response.  That includes donating connectivity equipment to field hospitals in Mulhouse, France and Milan, Italy, as well as giving a floor of their office in Reading, UK over to 3D printing visors for hospital staff. Their blog – ‘Helping Governments and Citizens Respond During These Extraordinary Times’ can be found here. 

  • Dell Technologies have outlined a giving strategy, including funds and in-kind technology donations. For example, their advanced computing clusters are being used to understand disease outbreaks, including how diseases like COVID-19 are spreading and how to better track them. They are also engaging users of their Alienware PCs to ‘lend’ their computing power in order to support Folding@home’s efforts in simulating the dynamics of proteins involved in COVID-19 in search of new therapeutic opportunities.

  • Dropbox is offering its premium service without charge for three months to those working on combatting the virus.

  • Facebook outlined a whole suite of measures to keep people safe and informed about Coronavirus across their platforms.

  • Google has put forward a range of measures too, including giving access to their premium video conferencing app for free.

  • HP is helping the healthcare sector by mobilizing their 3D printing teams, technology, experience, and production capacity to help deliver critical parts in the effort to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. HP’s global network of manufacturing partners is working to ensure that the 3D printed parts are available in any region around the world. They are validating and producing applications like the Hands-Free door opener, mask adjustor and face shields.

  • Johnson & Johnson announced a Lead Vaccine Candidate for COVID-19 from constructs it has been working on since January 2020. The Company expects to initiate human clinical studies of its lead vaccine candidate at the latest by September 2020 and anticipates the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorisation in early 2021, a substantially accelerated timeframe in comparison to the typical vaccine development process.

  • In China, Huawei’s AI and data analytics have been central to the government’s efforts to contain the virus and treat patients suffering from the disease. Their digital infrastructure also forms the backbone of the Huoshenshan Hospital, which was built in 10 days specifically to deal with Covid-19 patients.

  • Microsoft has made its premium Teams videoconference software available for free for health workers. It was also one of the partners behind the CORD-19 dataset, which has converted over 24,000 academic articles on Coronavirus into machine-readable data to help researchers.

  • Nvidia has added COVID-19 to its Folding@home, which allows gamers to ‘donate’ some of their computer processing capacity to global efforts to find a cure for COVID-19. They are also providing researchers with free access to their Parabricks genome sequencing software. Parabricks uses graphics processing units (GPUs) to accelerate the process of sequencing COVID-19 and the genomes of infected people, which will help researchers understand the spread of the disease and develop a vaccine faster. Researchers can request a Parabricks license here.

  • SAP is opening access to its premium tools to minimise disruptions to supply chains and travel.

  • Siemens has quickly developed a disinfection robot that will soon be deployed in hospitals to protect cleaning staff.

  • SAS is tracking the outbreak through innovative data visualisation techniques.

Keeping people informed

Many citizens are getting their information about the virus from social media. It is vital that they can access clear and authoritative advice. Earlier this week, the major players, including our members Facebook, Google and Microsoft issued a strong statement committing to boosting sources of official information and combating fraud and misinformation.

For more information, please contact:
Chris Ruff
Director for Political Outreach & Communications
Our resources on Coronavirus
Press Release 20 Mar 2020
Coronavirus and the digital sector: Initial findings and recommendations
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