As social distancing measures have changed the way the nation functions, experts across the internet, communications and tech sectors have been working with government to make sure the shift to virtual living is as smooth as possible, with no one being left behind.
The Parliamentary Internet, Communications and Technology Forum (PICTFOR) is the All Party Parliamentary Group on tech – their report entitled: How can the tech sector support SMEs, the nation, government and Parliament throughout the Covid-19 pandemic? published today, features contributions from BCS, BT, Ericsson, Facebook, Fujitsu, Good Things Foundation, Google, ICAEW, Internet Association, Nominet, Lloyds Banking Group, McKesson UK, Dell, Facebook, the Federation of Small Businesses, Nodes & Links, Renfrew Group, SAP, companies active in Fintech and other organisations and has been sent to government to feed into the help the national effort to support business throughout the pandemic.
Commenting on the report, PICTFOR’s parliamentary officers said: • “This report shows the significant efforts being made by the tech community to help us combat some of the big issues facing us all during these unprecedented times. From reducing loneliness and isolation, to repurposing tech to help fight COVID on the NHS frontline and making the internet more secure - I’m proud that PICTFOR continues to play such a crucial role in facilitating the Westminster-tech world relationship at such a challenging time. - Darren Jones MP, PICTFOR Co-chair • “Government have called for everyone to play their part in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic and the response from the internet, communications and technology community to this ask is one of which we can be immensely proud. This report details the best of UK innovation and tech resolve, highlighting the successful dialogue between Government and industry.” – Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, co-opted acting PICTFOR Co-chair • “COVID-19 has asked a great deal of us all, and all sectors of the UK economy – this report highlights the significant response from the tech sector and proves the calibre and force of UK innovation.” - The Rt Hon Lord McNally, PICTFOR Treasurer
Commenting on their response to the call for evidence, industry said:
• “Government advice for everyone to work from home where possible was issued on 17th March. Since then, we’ve seen daytime traffic effectively double. A notable increase, but one we can manage as it is still significantly below the average evening peak we often see. We’ve also noticed less of a ‘peak and trough’ pattern of usage throughout the day” - BT • “We are developing a new quantum inspired drug discovery platform working with an SME called PolarisQB that significantly improves the speed and quality of small molecule lead discovery from 2-4 years down to just 8 months” - Fujitsu • “As the government works to address the challenges of COVID-19, many elderly and vulnerable people find themselves isolated in their homes with limited means of communicating with the outside world, or getting access to vital services such as health, food or banking. The tech sector must help to provide emergency support to get the most vulnerable online during the COVID-19 crisis. – Good Things Foundation • “Google’s mission has been to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Helping people get the right information to stay healthy is more important than ever in the face of a global pandemic like COVID-19. This briefing outlines the work that Google has undertaken to help people in the UK stay safe, informed and connected. We have adapted our existing programme of support for businesses, schools and families to reflect the changed circumstances” - Google • “It is vital that small businesses get the right information and the tech sector can help to push out government communications, and / or provide information direct to their small business customer base about the help available. Where needed, these communications should be prioritised to ensure that help reaches the right people in a timely manner.” - ICAEW PICTFOR: https://www.pictfor.org.uk/
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