June 10, 2020
Perhaps Plato said it best, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Some of British Columbia’s technology firms are surging ahead despite – or perhaps because of – the incredible social and economic challenges created by the COVID-19 global pandemic. These B.C. companies are achieving technological growth and making significant contributions to the COVID-19 response and recovery, thanks to their agility and innovative vision.
Within one week, a made-in-B.C. online platform to address sudden supply and demand for personal protective equipment and other medical supplies moved from concept to reality. The B.C. COVID-19 Supply Hub is now providing Emergency Management BC and Provincial health authorities with a system to manage new suppliers and direct the flow of goods to essential frontline workers.
The Supply Hub is the single point of entry to source, prioritize and coordinate the thousands of proposals, offers and donations. It was made possible through a partnership between the Digital Technology Supercluster, the Business Council of British Columbia, Traction on Demand, a software company based out of Burnaby, and SalesForce, a leading cloud technology company with offices in Vancouver. It is an incredible demonstration of the responsiveness of the business community and the opportunities available in British Columbia.
Traction on Demand also partnered with Thrive Health, a Vancouver based software company, to develop an application to support hospitals in managing staffing resources and medical supplies critical to the COVID-19 response. Thrive Health has also created apps designed to centralize access to trusted, evidence-based COVID-19 information sources, and a daily symptom tracker to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by anonymously recording symptoms and assisting researchers in identifying how fast they are spreading. In particular, Thrive Health developed the COVID-19 BC Support app in partnership with the B.C. Ministry of Health, and the Canada COVID-19 App with Health Canada.
WelTel is a B.C. mobile messaging app that is helping to keep patients safely monitored during home isolation or quarantine. WelTel’s app allows health-care providers to check on patients via text message and follow-up via phone or video chat. The app can broadcast public health messages and is helping to prevent unnecessary returns to emergency rooms. WelTel’s Digital Outreach philosophy is text message first, acknowledging that, around the world, 28% of patients that are in the high-risk category for COVID-19 do not use smartphones. WelTel’s SMS-based communication system ensures access to more than 99% of all patients so no-one is left behind.
Vancouver-based media-tech company BBTV launched the #FunIndoors movement in support of Doctors Without Borders (which is working to treat and slow the spread of COVID-19 worldwide). This two-in-one morale-booster and fundraiser encourages people to share creative ways to have fun indoors. Participants raise awareness, share a donation link and promote safe and fun family activities.
British Columbia is also a leader in quantum and advanced computing. Vancouver-based software company 1Qbit has created a chest radiography tool that uses artificial intelligence to improve the accuracy and timeliness of diagnosing lung abnormalities. This technology is especially important in the fight against COVID-19 as most fatalities are the result of pneumonia, an infection of the lungs.
British Columbia boasts one of the fastest-growing technology ecosystems in North America. More than 10,900 tech companies call B.C. home, attracted by the province’s talented workforce and exceptional quality of life.
Working with world-class research facilities and top-ranked universities, many of these companies are at the forefront of their sector, developing innovative solutions and game-changing platforms. Innovation and collaboration characterize B.C.’s highly entrepreneurial, multicultural tech community. Global tech giants have taken notice, and many well-known companies have established firm roots in B.C., such as Microsoft, Vision Critical, Intel, Galvanize, Sierra Wireless, Slack, Hootsuite, Avigilion, Samsung, SAP, SalesForce, Fujitsu and Tableau to name a few.
To become a part of this creative hub, where startups and head offices have the advantages that help them become world-renowned companies, contact our team. Read our other blogs on COVID-19 resources and the resilience of British Columbia’s business community or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter for regular updates.
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