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March 30, 2020

Available Technology Resources for the Atlanta Business Community during the COVID-19 Response

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The rapid spread of COVID-19 has had far ranging consequences for businesses. With social distancing practices in place, businesses of all sizes are being forced to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace that moves beyond traditional face-to-face interactions. While this certainly creates dynamic challenges for businesses, tech companies are providing solutions by creating new technologies, expanding access to already existing technologies, and even offering financial assistance. Below are some of the resources that can help businesses continue to function in this time of uncertainty:

 

  • Google has launched a remote work resource center, and a page with links to various resources for small and medium businesses who may be affected by COVID-19. 
  • Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses.
  • Video conferencing software makers, like Google (with its Hangouts Meet), Zoom, Microsoft (with its Teams) and WebEx, have expanded their free offerings to help businesses stay connected with their employees and customers.
  • Microsoft launched an online tracker for COVID-19 at Bing.com/covid.  The site features a live map showing cases throughout the world.  Google provided a $500,000 grant to a similar website that provides up-to-date trends of emerging public health outbreaks called HealthMap.
  • Google has rolled out free access to advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally.  This includes larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call; live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain; and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive.
  • Microsoft has launched a Crisis Communication App that enables staff to easily share status updates in real-time and report if they are working from home.
  • Zoom has published a training portal to teach users how to much effectively use its teleconferencing tools for remote working, education, virtual events and telehealth.
  • LinkedIn is offering 16 of its learning courses for free. These courses provide relevant tips on how to build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, balance family and work dynamics, and use various virtual meeting tools.

 

While these resources can help businesses stay open and connected, it is imperative that companies also stay up to date on the evolving state of local conditions, particularly as the state government and local authorities impose new regulations on social gatherings and businesses. In addition to the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website, which is updated frequently with useful COVID-19 information, and the department’s daily status report, the tech community is working to ensure that accurate and truthful information is available to business owners in real-time through programs like Google’s SOS Alert. This tool connects people with the latest news, safety tips, and links to information from the World Health Organization (WHO). 

If you are aware of any other resources for business like those mentioned above, please email Natalie Simpson with your suggestions.

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