Week Ending: 20th March - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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The drastic and everchanging situation with coronavirus has dominated this week’s headlines as it continues to cause turmoil throughout the world and cut through all industries, affecting almost everyone. We’ve searched amongst the news to try and bring some positive I.T. and tech news stories amidst the crisis, in an attempt to, even slightly, lift spirits and reassure our readers.

3D printers save lives amid coronavirus outbreak

In Italy, a 3D-printing company has designed and printed 100 life-saving respiratory valves in just 24 hours. A hospital desperately treating patients with Covid-19 had run out of them, and they are a vital piece of equipment in treating patients in intensive care by hooking them up to breathing machines. The hospital in Brescia had 250 patients in intensive care and, with each machine designed to be used for 8 hours at a time, the valves were in short supply.

After learning the original supplier was unable to supply new valves quickly, Italian journalist Nunzia Vallini, put the hospital in touch with Isinnova Chief Executive, Cristian Fracassi. Cristian and his mechanical engineer visited the hospital to see the valves and then three hours later, devised a prototype for the hospital. After testing it out on a patient to discover that it worked well, they partnered with another local company, Lonati, to help meet demand, all whilst working for free.

"The valve has very thin holes and tubes, smaller than 0.8m, it’s not easy to print the pieces. Plus, you have to respect not [contaminating] the product, really it should be produced in a clinical way. We haven’t slept for two days; we’re trying to save lives,” commented Cristian. A second hospital has now got in touch, requesting more valves.

Discover more here.

Facebook to pay all employees $1000 bonus to help through pandemic

Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed that all Facebook employees will receive $1000 bonus pay to help them live amongst the coronavirus pandemic. The bonus will be given to all 45,000 of the social network’s employees who are working from home.

The information was circulated in an announcement personally by Zuckerberg. The extra bonus is intended to help full-time, permanent employees with paying for childcare, setting up a home office and other essentials while the work from home policy lasts, until public health is sufficient enough again. Alongside this, Facebook announced that it will create a $100m grant programme to help support small businesses that have been affected by the crisis.

Read more about it here.

Broadband firms reassure there is no struggle with increased demand

UK broadband companies insist that they can cope with the increased demand on ISP (Internet Service Providers) networks due to the uplift in remote working from the coronavirus pandemic. With more and more people being encouraged to work from home, ISPs explain that they do have contingency plans in place to be able to cope with the extra demand in the day. Even though some traffic heavy services are seeing a vast up rise, ISPs ensure that work applications such as video calls shouldn’t be impacted.

ISPs informed that although the impact would vary in different areas, most are equipped for a surge. Editor of ISP Review, Mark Jackson, advised that “nobody should expect their broadband to crash or anything like that. That’s not how these things work.”

Openreach, who provide the infrastructure to the majority of the UK, said its existing network is already constructed to be able to cope with maximum demand, as peak time in the evening is almost already ten times higher than in the day anyway.

BT, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Vodaphone have all confidently advised that the increased traffic can be managed.

Those were some of this week’s top stories but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels: