Skip to main content

Amazon Warehouses Are Accepting Only The Essentials…And Other COVID-19 Small Business Tech News

By March 22, 2020No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Amazon warehouses will now accept essential supplies only.

Due to a rapid growth in demand, Amazon announced this past week that— until April 5th—they will only be accepting items deemed as essential goods in all of their warehouses. With Americans social distancing and staying in their homes due to the Coronavirus, many have taken advantage of the convenience of using Amazon to purchase necessities such as food, household supplies and cleaners, along with medical basics and necessities. For the time being, Amazon will continue delivering the products considered nonessential that are currently stocked in their warehouses, but they will not be allowing sellers and vendors to replenish those products for at least the next 3 weeks. (Source: Wired)

Why this is important for your business:

Good news for Amazon merchants selling these items. Not so good news for everyone else. If Amazon is a major part of your eCommerce business and you’re not selling an “essential” product then be prepared.

2 — Microsoft Teams struggled as Coronavirus pushes millions to work from home. 

This past week, Microsoft Teams experienced disruptions in their platform across Europe such as difficulties with messaging functions, screen-sharing, recording meetings, creating new teams, modifying members, to name a few. With the recent developments surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, a greater number of individuals are working remotely in order to abide by guidelines to avoid public places to help slow the spread of the virus. While Microsoft Teams initially shared that the problem had been addressed, as workers in the U.S. began signing on that same day, similar problems persisted across the platform. The issues are believed to be the result of more and more people signing on to Teams in order to work remotely during the pandemic. (Source: Venture Beat)

Why this is important for your business:

Microsoft isn’t the only tech company struggling to keep up with demand. Internet demand from all the work-from-home employees is creating an enormous stress test of our online capabilities and infrastructure. Be patient.

3 —Startups are developing tech to combat COVID-19 and are urged to apply for fast track EU funding.

This past week, the European Commission called on small businesses and startups that are creating technology to help aid the outbreak of COVID-19 to take advantage of and apply for fast-track funding from the EU. While there are currently no formal priorities in which this funding would be used for, there is a strong focus on providing these grants to companies and businesses that are working to create products and solutions to help combat the Coronavirus. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

Everyone’s desperate for new technology that will help treat patients both now and in the future. If you’re in that business, don’t ignore the opportunities in Europe.

4 — Google Translate now lets you transcribe conversations in real time.

Google has announced that they launched a new feature in their Translate Android app that will allow users to transcribe conversations—in real time—into other languages. The new feature will begin its roll out throughout the next several days and will support Thai, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Hindi, German, French, and English. Users will easily be able to touch the new “transcribe” icon from their home screen and select the target languages and source and tap the microphone icon in order to start, stop, pause, or restart their chosen transcription. (Source: CNET)

Why this is important for your business:

Working with your overseas employees and contractors is now easier with this improved and faster translation tool from Google. Now that so many of them are working from home, it’s an excellent time to test out the capabilities.

5— Coronavirus fears are turning real estate open houses into virtual tours.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, virtual home tours are quickly taking the place of traditional open houses that both buyers and sellers have relied on in the past. According to data provided by Halstead’s Open House index, open house participation has gone down by 15% as compared to two weeks ago, which was the first weekend that New York City began to experience the fears brought on by the coronavirus. Many real estate agents in NYC are getting creative and taking advantage of technological capabilities and providing the option to buyers to take virtual tours of home that they are interested in, some even offering 3-D tours in these remote platforms. (Source: NY Post)

Why this is important for your business:

As I recently wrote here, the pandemic is going to force employers – particularly small employers – to use mobile, cloud and virtual technologies for their work-from-home workers and many are going to kick themselves for not doing a long time ago. I think the same will apply to real estate agents, construction firms, service businesses and health agencies once they realize the power of virtual and augmented reality technologies.

Skip to content