Friday Five: Dyson joins Covid-19 fight

Zone’s Ricky Wallace handpicks and shares the five best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

1. Dyson designs ventilator for Covid-19 fight

Not only does Dyson make some pretty nifty vacuum cleaners and hand dryers, it’s also designed a new type of ventilator in response to a government call to arms on behalf of the NHS. The government has ordered 10,000 of the devices, which need to pass stringent medical tests, although that is expected to happen quickly.

As well as Dyson, a consortium of medical, military and civil engineering companies, including Airbus and GKN, is working to ramp up the production of an existing design in order to meet demand. The government estimates the NHS will need at least 30,000 ventilators to deal with the rush of virus sufferers.

2. Twitter the moody teenager turns 14

On 21 March 2006, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet: “just setting up my twttr.” Fast-forward 14 years and the social media platform has revolutionised how we interact with the world around us, playing an intergral role in world politics and introducing us to hashtags and memes aplenty.

But what did people think of Twitter when it first launched? From “banal” and concerns about “users not wanting all their messages published on a public website” to “you’re no one if you’re not on Twitter”, take a trip down memory lane to see some of the earliest reviews of the troublesome teenager.

3. Netflix pledges £85m to hardest-hit workers

As the world goes into lockdown, and your favourite TV shows halt production (what will I do without Eastenders?!), it’s easy to despair. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Netflix says it’s created a $100 million (£85.7 million) relief fund to offset some of the impact on workers from all corners of the TV and film industry.

“Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world,” says Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos. Although it’s nowhere near enough to cover the financial needs of the entertainment community, it’s great to see businesses doing right by their employees.

4. Get the gig experience in your living room

It’s not only film and TV (hello Disney Plus!) keeping us entertained as the nation gets used to social distancing. The music industry is playing its part, with a host of artists replacing their cancelled gigs and festivals by putting on live sets and online concerts for you to enjoy from the comfort of your living room.

From Bruce Springsteen to EDM artist Diplo, there’s something for everyone to enjoy (although not every artist is jumping on the bandwagon). And while the adults are kicking back with some live music, there’s also tons of free educational and entertainment products and resources for your kids as well. You’re welcome.

5. Microwaves cooking up an internet storm

With everyone in the UK being told to work from home if possible, the internet has become even more crowded. Our own Zoners have been discussing the opportunities and challenges this brings, and Ofcom has now published advice on how households can improve their internet connectivity.

Tips include downloading content in advance rather than streaming and turning off video if you’re attending an online meeting, but the most surprising advice is to turn off your microwave because it can reduce wi-fi signals. So I’ll be sure not to heat up last night’s leftovers when I’m Skyping the team later!

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We write about customer experience, employee experience, design, content & technology to share our knowledge with the wider community.