Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it would spend $500 million on one-time bonuses to its front-line employees and partners working through the coronavirus crisis. Employees and partners who have been with the e-commerce company through June will receive bonuses ranging from $150 to $3,000, the company said (here) in a blog post.
The world’s largest online retailer, which delivers about 10 billion items a year, has been facing intense scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers and unions over whether it is doing enough to protect staff from the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier in the day, workers at six Amazon sites in Germany decided to go on strike in protest over safety after some staff at logistics centres tested positive for coronavirus, labour union Verdi said on Sunday.
PC and printer major HP on Thursday announced it has 3D printed 120,000 key ventilator parts in flat 24 days for 10,000 ventilators, thus enabling frontline workers and healthcare providers in India respond better to the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic at hospitals.
HP India partnered Redington 3D in India to successfully produce 120,000 ventilator parts like inhale and exhale connectors, valve holders, oxygen nozzles and solenoid mounts for AgVa Healthcare that is producing world’s most economical ICU ventilators. As part of this initiative, 12 categories of parts were 3D printed to manufacture 10,000 ventilators that are being deployed across the country for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
“The successful execution of the AgVa Healthcare project is a testament of the capabilities of HP’s 3D printing technology and how it can remove the limitations of designing by producing complex products in a short time”, said Rajat Mehta, Country Manager, 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing, HP India Market.
Since these ventilator parts have complex designs and fine tolerances, it would have taken 4-5 months to manufacture these quantities using the conventional process. With HP 3D printing technology, these parts were printed in just 24 days, the company said in a statement.
AgVa Healthcare’s ventilator is an ICU ventilator with volume, pressure and flow control. The entire system can be controlled by a capacitive multi-touch interface without the need for compressed medical air. It is extremely portable and can be used in ICU transport or homecare.
“At Redington, our commitment was to supply over 1.20 Lakhs parts to AgVa Healthcare in their endeavour to manufacture 10,000 ventilators in 30 days and help the country,” said Ramesh K.S, Vice President, Redington India Limited. “By deploying two of our HP Jet Fusion Production 3D Printers, we could manage our production schedule with ease and help the country in its preparedness to fight this pandemic situation,” he added.
Globally, more than 2.3 million parts have been produced using HP’s 3D printing technology in the battle against COVID-19 To date, HP and partners have produced more than 2.3 million 3D printed parts worldwide.
As part of this initiative, HP has ramped up its 3D printing team and global Digital Manufacturing Partner Network to design, validate and produce essential 3D parts for medical responders and hospitals like hands-free door openers, mask adjusters, face shields and masks and field ventilators.
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(Photo: Associated Press)
These news production contractors work with Microsoft News, the company’s news content arm that operates MSN.com and other properties
Last Updated: May 30, 2020, 11:47 AM IST
Microsoft is reportedly laying off at least 50 news production workers and replacing them with artificial intelligence (AI)-based algorithms to perform their editorial duties. According to a report in the Seattle Times on Saturday, the roughly 50 employees — contracted through staffing agencies Aquent, IFG and MAQ Consulting — have been notified “that their services would no longer be needed beyond June 30”.
These news production contractors work with Microsoft News, the company’s news content arm that operates MSN.com and other properties. A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement that like all companies, they evaluate the business on a regular basis.
“This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, redeployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic,” said the Microsoft spokesperson. Some employees told Seattle Times that “MSN will use AI to replace the production work they’d been doing”.
The work includes using algorithms to identify trending news stories from dozens of publishing partners, rewrite headlines or adding better photographs or slide shows. Besides the production work, the contract employees also planned content, maintained the editorial calendars of partner news websites and assigned content to them.
The temporary hires will work in Amazon’s fulfilment centers and as part of its delivery network, Amazon said.
Last Updated: May 23, 2020, 1:02 PM IST
Amazon.com Inc’s India unit said it would hire 50,000 temporary workers to meet a surge in online shopping in the country, where customers have been stuck indoors for two months in lockdown to fight the coronavirus outbreak. E-commerce firms faced massive disruption in the initial days of the lockdown in India, but a slow easing of the stringent regulations has allowed them to resume large parts of their operations.
“We want to continue helping customers all over India get everything they need so they can continue to practice social distancing,” Amazon senior executive Akhil Saxena said in a statement on the company’s blog. “(The move) will also keep as many people as possible working during this pandemic while providing a safe work environment for them,” said Saxena, Amazon’s VP for customer fulfilment operations in APAC, MENA & Latam.
The temporary hires will work in Amazon’s fulfilment centers and as part of its delivery network, the company said, making the announcement at a time when various other companies in the country have been forced to cut jobs as they try to tide over the health crisis. Amazon itself has pushed its annual global Prime Day event, traditionally a summer affair, to September, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
In India, where the Jeff Bezos-led company faces stiff competition from Walmart Inc’s Flipkart, Amazon earlier said it plans to create 1 million jobs by 2025. The company also said on Thursday it plans to enter the food delivery business in India, pitting itself against well-established startups such as Swiggy and Zomato.