The COVID-19 pandemic has been an accelerator for collective innovation and partnerships. One example has been Intel’s Tech for Good initiatives. Intel has played a big role in using its technology to combat COVID-19 in two main ways: medical (Response and Readiness Initiative) and educational (Online Learning Initiative). So far, Intel has worked on close to 200 projects in collaboration with more than 100 organizations. Intel’s efforts have made a huge impact, both during the original pandemic response as well as within the early steps toward recovery.
Intel’s Tech for Good During the COVID-19 Pandemic
In April 2020, Intel pledged $50 million to COVID-19 relief in the form of supporting research efforts, technology for medical infrastructure and help for low-income students’ online learning needs. Collectively, $40 million focuses on improving patient care, scientific research and online learning. The other $10 million focuses on funding new ideas and technologies with external partners and employee-led relief projects to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Intel also donated $10 million, which went toward masks, gloves and PPE for local communities.
Medical: Response and Readiness Initiative
An example of Intel creating Tech for Good was during the initial period where Intel and Medical Informatics Corp (MIC) provided ventilator manufacturers with vital parts and created virtual intensive care units (ICUs). These remote ICUs operate on the MIC’s Sickbay™ platform. They protect front-line healthcare providers by reducing the risk of exposure to the virus. Additionally, they provide an efficient means of monitoring critical care patients through a single dashboard on a computer. This effort helps hospitals ease the strain on their manpower during the pandemic. Intel has agreed to fund the initial implemental fees and waive the first 90 days of software subscription licensing. This will help hospitals access the products needed to upscale their workforce and meet the demands of treating patients promptly.
Furthermore, as a multinational company with an international focus, Intel has donated funds to countries that require help to combat COVID-19. In collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce in Malaysia (AMCHAM), Intel Malaysia pledged to donate more than RM2 Million to help healthcare professionals in combating COVID-19. The funds donated will go toward buying COVID-19 test “kits, ventilators, patient monitors and air purifiers” for government hospitals in the states of Penang and Kedah. This is all done in an effort to reduce the burden on the Malaysian healthcare system during the pandemic.
Education: Online Learning Initiative
Challenges to study from home during the pandemic are affecting thousands of needy children globally. According to an American survey, only 60% of children in the United States have access to reliable Internet connectivity. Furthermore, approximately 40% of children do not have electronic devices to facilitate their studying from home. Hence, recently Intel partnered with First Book to launch the Creating Learning Connections Initiative that supports Title I supports children in “school districts affected by the pandemic.” Through the initiative, Intel and its partners are funding $5 million for the purchase of personal computers and digital resources. Furthermore, the initiative is awarding $4,000 to each “district in an effort to set up stable internet connectivity for children who need to study from home.”
Another example of Intel creating Tech for Good is through Intel’s Online Learning Initiative. This program provides “PC donations, online virtual resources, study-at-home guides and device connectivity assistance.” It will start in the U.S., but Intel plans to expand the program around the world. The technology allows students that do not have access to technology with devices and online learning tools. By partnering closely with public schools, Intel will enable many students to continue learning despite the national lockdown. Hence, the pandemic has been a clear catalyst for technological innovation in the interest of social good.
Creating Hope for Future Generations
According to Intel VP Rick Echevarria, “people’s health will be critical to the world’s economic recovery, just as the economic recovery will be key to everyone’s health.” He emphasizes further that the technologies developed by Intel, such as digital health and online learning, will outlive the pandemic. This creates hope that technological innovation and collaboration in the interest of public health will be continued throughout generations.
– Mariyah Lia