How Covid-19 may accelerate technological change

Tm Paine

Most historians study wars not for the battles, but for the transformative changes in society that are initiated during them. The same is true for major pandemics such as that caused by Covid-19..There is an urgency, a necessity, to try new solutions to solve problems. Often, these solutions involve adoption of new technologies.

These are some of the technologies and systemic changes that could see continued expanded use, if successful, after Covid-19 decelerates:

Telehealth or Telemedicune: Some medical situations can be handled or assisted in this way and some simply can’t. For those that can, Telehealth is being utilized much more. Last week, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services loosened requirements that would make it easier for hospitals to bolster care through telehealth.

Online gambling : The nascent industry may see its growth curve accelerate in states where it is available. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are two of those with a head start since the landmark Supreme Court ruling.

Online.Education Though there have been some disappointments in the past here, such as the tendency of students not to complete courses, adjustments to systems and approaches have been made. Zoom (which I consider overvalued) or its competitors are often factors. Philly startup Yellowdig is extending this offer:

Supply Chain

Covid-19 is an acid test for many supply chain methodologies and systems, and will reveal many faults.

Expect to see some systematic rethinking by the whole industry, which is already being reshaped by new technology.

Home delivery

Volume is likely to mushroom in the short term, and it will be a challenge for competitors to keep up with demand. goPuff’s approach, relying on its own distributed inventory stores, may prove out well. And certainly many new users will be introduced to these services during the current crisis.

Medical Diagnostics

Changes in fast remote medical testing that are evolving now may become the norm

Also, look for lasting changes to streanline and accelerate Clinical trials.

Broadband Speeds.

Cable & wireless providers are loosening or eliminating caps. When normalcy returns, will limits be fully restored? Signs of overload are appearing. Major streaming services are voluntarily slowing down in some regions.

Work from Home (telecommuiting): Remote security is a major concern. Video conferencing services are competing hard here.

GPS tracking

Israel and other nations are considering tracking Covid-19 test subjects using GPS systems, both for tracking individuals and collectively.

Delivery by robot or drone: Fits nicely with the goal of minimizing face-to-face encounters. Drones face a challenge in meeting FAA and national security concerns. Still mostly testing, but could see some things happening here.

JERSEY CITY AR/AI STARTUP APPRENTICE HELPS PHARMA KEEP WORKING DURING COVID-19 RESPONSE

Angelo Stracquatanio of Apprentice
Angelo Stracquatanio, CEO of Apprentice | Courtesy Apprentice

Esther Surden

Founder, NJTechWeekly

 March 23, 2020  Esther Surden0Emerging technologiesHealth TechInnovationNewsNJ Tech CompaniesStartupstech entrepreneurshipTech for Business,

As Angelo Stracquatanio III, Apprentice’s cofounder and CEO, tells it, the first sign that pharma companies would need more access to the Jersey City startup’s product came in January, when he had to cancel a trip to China.

“We saw very early on that this was going to have a much broader impact than what folks were reporting,” he told us.

Apprentice, which provides an intelligent software platform to pharma companies, noticed that its customers were first canceling international travel, then domestic travel; and, finally, they were no longer allowing their employees to come to work at their local facilities.

Pharma companies have offices and labs all over the world, Stracquatanio pointed out. When they stopped all travel, both domestic and foreign, the global supply chain began to grind to a halt. This happened “because now you can’t get vendors in to help troubleshoot or subject matter experts to fly in to help collaborate with their colleagues” on such things as “how do we ensure that we produce this job correctly?

“It’s a fairly scary situation because if these facilities can’t continue to manufacture, it will lead to worldwide drug shortages. There’s going to be a potential supply chain impact.”

Apprentice’s augmented-reality (AR)/artificial-intelligence (AI) system, called “Tandem,” can be used by organizations on the manufacturing floor, actually next to the equipment that is producing the drugs. “They can use our tool to then collaborate with vendors, subject matter experts, colleagues, engineering supervisors, whatever, who are at home or in another country, or just in a place where they just cannot physically get to the facility,” he explained.

“It’s a fairly scary situation because if these facilities can’t continue to manufacture, it will lead to worldwide drug shortages. There’s going to be a potential supply chain impact.”

Angelo Stracquatanio III, Apprentice

When they saw the demand coming, the Apprentice team went into action. “We developed this concept called a ‘rapid deployment kit’ that we ship out to pharma organizations. We have everything pre-configured, preinstalled, pre-everything. And then they simply just turn it on, they get collaborating, and then they can continue to work with their operations team, no matter where they are in the world.”

The kits are customizable and come with the enterprise-ready Tandem platform preloaded onto hands-free, clean-room-compliant, AR smart glasses and accessories. According to an Apprentice release, Tandem is the industry’s only compliant, language-independent solution that breaks the barrier between in-suite and out-of-suite collaboration, enabling troubleshooting and guidance, and ultimately reversing the devastating impact of this virus.

“We’ve seen a huge uptick for this right now. As you can imagine, we’ve shipped devices literally from China to Japan, to South Korea, to every country in Europe at this stage, to help ensure that the supply chain stays open. If it doesn’t, there will be a secondary fallout for all of this that keeps me up at night.”

Seeing “Unprecedented” Demand

Stracquatanio said that Apprentice is shipping these kits to both new and old customers, who have reached out to his company at an “unprecedented rate and scale.”  New customers have come via word of mouth from existing customers, he noted. And, “We’ve had to — very, very quickly as a team — adapt all of our internal tooling to be able to quickly configure for each new customer. So, it’s been a rapid change internally as well because we’ve literally had to build internal software to be able to more efficiently configure these devices and software so that when they go out the door, they’re ready to go for a new customer.”

The team’s ability to act on the opportunity is a hallmark of startups, which are generally much more agile than large companies. “It’s been a lot where we’ve had to adapt internally at like the light-speed to be able to deliver on this to help our customers through this really difficult time.”

The Apprentice team of nearly 50 employees is working seven days a week to fulfill orders. “We finished a call last night at 4 o’clock in the morning. And we’re off again! It’s, it’s insane. We just know that every hour during this crisis counts. The whole team has bought into helping out our customers because we know it touches patients, right? We know that patients rely on those drugs that our customers produce.”

Using Their Own Tool for Remote Communication

Stracquatanio said that that the entire team has been working from home since last week. And how are they working remotely? “We use our own tool. The one that we’re shipping to our customers is the exact same tool we use to collaborate among ourselves all day long.”

Apprentice has what it calls a “community 10” Tandem session going, which is open 24 hours a day right now. “Any member can pop into that session, scream out, you know, ‘Hey what do you think about this?’ This way we can continue the decision-making velocity that we’ve had in the past when we’re in the office, but we can do so just by yelling out to our counterpart on our on our own software on a Tandem session. It’s kind of cool how the team has adapted to it. It’s just kind of a continuation of our culture,” said Stracquatanio.

“We have never seen this level of demand for both the product, as well as the use of the product,” he added. “The demand of selling is one thing. But the usage! We’ve never seen metrics like this before. If I could show you the graph, it’s literally 10 times of what it was just a few days ago. And it’s been exponential growth over the last several weeks.”

Stracquatanio finds it exciting that the companies are using the product successfully. “From our perspective, we’re just trying to do our best to support them during this period because, at the end of the day, it’s about the patient. And if they can’t produce the drug, there’s going to be a lot of people impacted by this,” he said.

“So, we just hope that we can continue to deliver, continue to execute, that our team stays healthy. My biggest worry as CEO is for my team to be healthy. And as long as the team stays healthy, and we keep executing, we’ll help our customers as best as we can, given the crisis.”

About The Author

Esther Surden

Esther is the Founder and Editor in Chief of NJ Tech Weekly. This article is republished here with her permission.

Esther Surden@njtechwkly·

COPYRIGHT © 2019 NJ TECH WEEKLY ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Veeva reports another excellent quarter & has 1st billion dollar year; Helping customers deal with COVID-19

Tom Paine

Veeva Systems, which has its headquarters in California but a significant east coast presence based in Radnor, announced its Q4 fiscal 2020 and full year results Tuesday, exceeding a billion dollar annual run rate and beating analyst estimates for revenue and earnings.

Total revenues for the fourth quarter were $311.5 million, up from $232.3 million one year ago, an increase of 34% year-over-year. Fiscal Year 2020 Total Revenues were $1,104.1M, up 28% . Fiscal year 2020 net income was $301.1 million, compared to $229.8 million one year ago, an increase of 31% year-over-year.

For Fiscal 2021, revenues are expected to be within $1.40-$1.41 billion. Adjusted EPS is expected to be $2.50.

Veeva (NYSE: VEEV) has a current market cap of $21.7 billion. Its current share price, $146.54, is still below its all-time high of $176.90 achieved last year.

Veeva’s Paul Shawah, Senior VP Commercial Strategy, also told me that Veeva is aiding life sciences companies’ communications with physicians, which has become more difficult in some places due to the Corona Virus (COVID-19).

In China, for example, people are often being asked to stay at home. This is having a major impact on doctors as it cuts off an important communications channel to the pharma reps and medical professionals they depend on for information on the latest research and treatments. This is especially true for oncologists and cancer treatment. If the pharma industry can’t reach the doctors, they can’t educate them on the latest medicines for their patients

In response to the growing challenge of COVID-19, Veeva is offering a rapid remote detailing enablement program using Veeva CRM Engage Meeting, a web-based video and content sharing platform designed for unique needs of life science companies. This will allow Veeva customers to engage with healthcare providers in a compliant way and ensure continuity of care for patients, whilst avoiding the need to travel or meet in person.

This offer is valid exclusively for Veeva CRM customers not currently using Engage Meeting and for customers wishing to extend their existing Engage Meeting country deployment in other countries not currently using Engage Meeting. This offer does not apply to Engage Meeting licenses already contracted for.

 In just two weeks, nearly 12,000 reps across 6 major pharma companies have taken advantage of this offer and gone live.

Another way in which Veeva can help is by having the other side of Veeva’s business, Veeva Vault, manage clinical trials for life sciences companies with potential therapies or vaccines for the virus using Veeva Vault CDMS. These clinical trials will obviously have a need for speed by streamlining the process while still meeting the regulatory hurdles. But I have no confirmation on specifics for that at this time.