Big tech finds solutions to protect people, keep economy alive

Guest Opinion//May 11, 2020

Big tech finds solutions to protect people, keep economy alive

Guest Opinion//May 11, 2020


As someone with a background in technology and finance, it is great to see our country’s tech companies step up when we need them the most.

The coronavirus and COVID-19 have impacted nearly every aspect of our lives. Our economic security is threatened; our educational system is thrown into chaos, and, of course, we fear for the health of our families, friends, and the most vulnerable among us who are at greater risk for complications or even death.

Robert Graham
Robert Graham

But we are Americans, and we fight through these challenges. Everyone has to do their part. And into this breach has stepped “big tech” companies ready to pitch in and add their manpower and muscle to help get us back on track.

While many Americans rightly worry about encountering an active coronavirus carrier, Google and Apple are working together to develop contact tracing, allowing cellphone users to know when they were in proximity with someone who has been diagnosed with the virus.

Telemedicine and virtual care advances from health care companies and Arizona based Advinow have allowed patients with COVID-19 symptoms to seek medical attention remotely, protecting themselves, health care providers and other patients, while getting access to the best possible care and a treatment plan for recovery.

Tech companies are rushing to change their supply chains, making masks and personal protective equipment, or PPE, to protect our frontline medical workers. Others, including Hewlett Packard, have begun manufacturing ventilators to get to hospitals and the patients who need them.

Beyond public health concerns, technology companies are stepping up to help small business owners and entrepreneurs who are seeing their life’s work on the verge of disappearing due to the virus and subsequent stay at home orders.

A number of tech companies are supporting small businesses, infusing them with capital and allowing them to keep their doors open and their employees on payroll. Think about the difference it makes for both restaurants and consumers – even when no one can go out for dinner, a meal from your favorite eatery is just a click away on your smart phone! These technological solutions are already playing a huge roll in the lives of millions of Americans, and I believe the work being done in the technology sector will continue to help us move on from this pandemic.

Another example, and at a time when newsgathering is proving to be more difficult, and a time when everyone is sifting for reliable news coverage from their homes, Google has launched a relief fund for news providers that are struggling under the weight of this crisis. I’m particularly impressed that much of this aid is going to rural newspapers that often are the bedrock of a local community. How tragic would it be if these institutions were forced to shutter. It is critical that the small and local news organization maintain viability and their unique window into their communities. Unfortunately, this great initiative is not well known, but I am hopeful many newsrooms here in Arizona will take advantage of Google’s generosity.

American ingenuity has powered the economy, both here and around the world. As Arizonans, and indeed all Americans, join together to overcome the public health and economic crisis that we face, I am proud to participate in and stand up for the incredible work that our technology sector is doing to help defeat this pandemic and get Arizonans back to work and protect the lives of hard working taxpayers.

Robert Graham is president of ROI Global Partners