23 Mar 2020

How DIGITALEUROPE members are supporting efforts to tackle COVID-19

Updated 22 June 2020

Our sector is known for its innovative solutions to 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 Associations

  • 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:

  • Slovenian ICT Association has began several initiatives aimed to support different sectors in this crisis period with digital services, tools and recommendations under one umbrella called DigitalSolidarity: Bringing free tools for remote work, videoconferencing, group work and  recommendations to primarily SME companies.They also issued a Call for companies to donate ICT equipment and access to the internet to those pupils, who do not have such possibility. Most schools (primary and secondary) moved to “digital learning”, but not all pupils have such possibility at home. Furthermore,  they issued a call to the government to establish an ICT support team (with our members) to support our Health system, critical ICT infrastructure, the economy, education processes in the best possible way.

    • 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.

    • To date HP has produced more than 50,000 parts, which have been donated to hospitals including face shields and masks, mask adjusters, nasal swabs, hands-free door openers and respirator parts. To accelerate drug and vaccine research, HP is also deploying HP BioPrinters and associated supply cassettes, free of charge, to NGOs, government agencies and pharmaceutical companies.

      The HP foundation has donated $1 million in grants to support with medical supplies, the first going to Italian hospitals, and pledged another $1.5 million.  An incremental $2 million dollars were also approved in a cash match program and will double match charitable donations from 1 March to 31 October.


    • Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has put forward several initiatives to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. HPE has been providing its network technology to the organisations which are fighting this crisis on the front line, particularly healthcare centres. HPE has donated 50 million dollars’ worth of secure connectivity kits to provision pop-up hospitals testing sites and temporary hospital facilities in Europe, Canada and the US. Furthermore, they are part of the Covid-19 High Performance Computing Consortium recently created by the US government to step up medical research into the pandemic. Their philanthropic programme HPE Gives, has rolled out a campaign to raise donations for the WHO and UNICEF.

    • 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.

    • Julian Lageard of Intel and chair of TechUK’s sustainable supply chain group shared how technology can combat COVID-19 crisis.

      Intel announced a $ 50 million Pandemic Response Technology Initiative on top of prior donations of $ 10 million given to local communities. The Intel Online Learning Initiative will support education-focused nonprofit organizations and business partners to provide students without access to technology with devices and online learning resources. Furthermore, Intel has also allocated up to $10 million for an innovation fund that supports requests from external partners and employee-led relief projects, addressing critical needs in their communities.

    • 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 Italy, Lilly has teamed up with partners to create ‘Telemedicine NOW!’, a solution allowing clinicians to remotely consult with patients who don’t need to be physically visited. Through the initiative, patients join a ‘tele visit’ with their clinic via Skype, and can exchange payments, prescriptions and sensitive documents with their physician via a mixture of secure means. It is all governed in line with EU General Data Protection Regulation rules, and no uses of new software or apps.

    • 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
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