Supply and demand are basic concepts in business. Startups and the workforce that fuels them are quite aware that a business must provide value to their customers if they are to continue and grow, and this truth has never been more clear than in the past year as we learned during the pandemic.
But what happens when the world’s demand suddenly swerves into new and uncharted waters?
Startups have had to drift their way out of bankruptcy amid the pandemic and fill the holes created in the global market to stay afloat and sail on.
Move fast and fix what needs fixing
Your company or team should be able to recognize what is missing within the first week of quarantine. As such, many startups have adapted both their physical spaces and their digital communication capacity. Its takes some getting used to and trial and error is the best teacher,
That is why moving fast is the only solution to avoid the worst in times of uncertainty. Every company should play to its strengths and know their weaknesses, something that many companies of all sizes learned during the pandemic.
Make education a part of your new business model
What gives employees true value, especially in a startup with a small team, is the amount of training the company provides for their workforce. Now more than ever, CEOs and team leaders ought to set aside a “self-development” period at some time in the day whenever possible, and have employees attend conferences, take courses, and learn more.
A good way to train a team is to give them a task to solve and set them loose on it with a deadline. Employees would probably respond well to a first and second draft system of learning through practice, where their mistakes and fixes will strengthen their knowledge.
Allowing your employees time to learn is also good for their morale according to US-based Human Resource membership association SHRM, especially when faced with an ongoing routine in the office. On top of that, staying on top of the market trends and the newest industry tricks and techniques becomes everyone’s job, not just the CEO, although senior members would have the most responsibility.
Look for holes to plug
Every challenge should be an opportunity, and startups have been the cork that plugged many holes in the ship. The companies that did their best during the pandemic are those who solved an immediate and pressing issue.
Medicine needed delivering to COVID-19 infected homes: driverless delivery services were introduced. Stores need to keep people coming to buy but also keep a limit on guests: Apps for mapping crowd density.
What many startups learned during the pandemic – the hard way – was to never take stability for granted, and that every tragedy is inherently an opportunity to improve and evolve.
Yelp users can now review COVID-19 safety measures for establishments
Crowd-source business review platform, Yelp, has added a new feature that allows users the ability to review COVID-19 safety measures for various establishments.
The addition of this new feature reflects the company’s attempt at adapting to current health circumstances as well as acknowledging people’s highest concern in terms of visiting eateries and establishments.
Initially, Yelp had aimed at becoming the go-to restaurant advertising hub in the U.S., but later failed to hit the mark in terms of profitability, which has pushed it to transform over the years to diversify its features and offers.
Similar to how users recommend places as “good for groups,” “romantic,” or “good for kids,” users will soon be able to review COVID-19 safety measures with options such as “heated outdoor seating,” “1:1 session available,” and “disposable or contactless menu.”
Currently, the only option to share feedback regarding social distancing measures and mask wearing.
Yelp’s business model consisted of monetizing the business of restaurant recommendations, as it sought to become the make or breaker of a restaurant’s reputation, and for a while, it was just that.
However, competitors would use Yelp’s large customers base to sabotage their opponents with fake reviews, and in turn, flood their own review pages with unearned positive feedback.
Yelp responded to this with a software that detects fake or malicious comments and reviews and deletes them as many social platforms do with their comments.
According to Yelp, the platform enacts a filtering software that worms out fake or targeted reviews, based on reliability, user activity, and the overall quality of the review as a whole.
No rants or raves allowed, and if the user has recently installed Yelp and has very few active reviews, it could be flagged. clarify
It is worth mentioning that the problem of fake reviews could become even more dangerous with the addition of their new “review COVID-19 safety measures” feature, since customers are becoming increasingly cautious, especially during outings.
Similarly, precautions have been taken to assure that no establishment’s reputation is destroyed by a bad health and safety review.
- The review is restricted to one branch of the franchise
- Only users with a verified Yelp account may leave a review
- Feedback is displayed on the app based on recent activity (within the previous 28 days)
With the world still gripped by the pandemic, people keenly search for safer places while avoiding high risk and density locations. This kind of review system seems like the logical next step during the pandemic, as technology aims to answer those very same questions.
UK Hospitals Explore Blockchain Tech Remedies
With tech putting its best foot forward when it comes to battling the pandemic, the fight for widespread vaccination is another battlefront that has also commenced and is in it’s prime right now.
For the battle of widespread immunizations, U.K. National Health Services (NHS) have taped blockchain tech as part of their arsenal against COVID-19. The NHS will be using the same underlying system for cryptocurrencies like the infamous Bitcoin and popular Ether in monitoring supply and cold storage of two hospitals in the UK.
Out of the three vaccines in circulation right now, the one that is codeveloped by U.S pharma-mammoth Pfizer and its German partner BioNtech has some serious storage issues.
It must be stored at temperatures of -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit) – certainly not your typical winter temperature, these temperatures are below freezing.
Once the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is out of its storage unit and begins to thaw, it is only effective for another five days at 2-8 degrees Celsius.
All these factors render as major issues that blockchain tech manages to successfully address. And it is no surprise to see another use of blockchain in the health tech segment.
The two hospitals, in Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick in central England have teamed up with Hedera Hashgraph which bring their blockchain networks to the table. Noteworthy to mention is the powerful companies that back Hedera, amongst which are: Boeing, IBM, LG, and Google.
The other partner is asset-monitoring company Everyware that will provide the software needed to constantly track the vaccine’s temperature around the clock.
The solution is powered by Hedera’s blockchain system and Everyware’s sensors while the NHS deploys a distributed ledger to better accurately track the cold-storage equipment that holds the vaccines.
Distributed ledgers act as decentralized and synchronized digital systems for sharing data, and are popular for their large immunity to problems that may be introduced by human error.
This tech jargon further illustrates how the intricacies of blockchain technology can be hard to grasp even for tech enthusiasts, but the growing practicality and prevalence of this technology is plain to see.
With sources indicating that worldwide spending on blockchain solutions projected to grow to an estimated $15.9 billion by 2023 we are bound to see a plethora of new technologies and developments that will certainly allow for a more connected and smarter tomorrow.
Birth of Autonomous Vehicles
Global transportation in general was one the main victims of the pandemic that has literally crippled this sector.
Authorities in most countries have either shut down borders, or applied stringent conditions to limit private cars and public transport movement to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Faced with this dilemma, tech companies went back to their drawing boards to find a solution for this crucial issue.
One of the solutions that are now surfacing was development of autonomous vehicles, or as known on the streets as the self-driving car.
This technology is hugely adopted by Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, parent company of Google that offer a fully autonomous and commercial self-driving taxi service operating solely in Arizona, U.S.
In an interview with Financial Times, John Krafcik, Waymo CEO warns about some of the biggest challenges of the industry, mainly being the recurrent need for continuous safety standards.
But with zero or minimal traffic right now due to the pandemic, we examine some factors that will surely revitalize autonomous vehicles adoption across several industries.
New boom in eCommerce will spike demand for autonomous vehicles for delivery and logistics
As more people are cooped up inside their homes, we find ourselves resorting to online methods to satisfy our shopping needs.
Be it the ease of use, practicality, or privacy that eCommerce has to offer – it is certainly a growing industry, and one that witnessed a major boom during the pandemic.
As this industry grows, it will have new business needs being created and old ones that need to be reevaluated. A major issue in the online industry is transportation and logistics, and as the world heads down a smarter path, key industry players are eyeing autonomous vehicles.
The tech comes in as an attractive option as it can increase the capacity of delivery networks, reduce costs greatly, increase safety, offer real-time digital insights and with a pandemic on the loose it even complies with social distancing measures.
Courier giant DHL attested to the perks that can be brought forward with self-driving technology as they believe that time savings thanks to autonomous technologies will reduce transportation costs per km by 40 percent.
Self-driving cars can also help erode the problem of aging truck drivers in developed countries around the world.
As the current number stands to be 50 years on average for truck drivers, several logistics companies are having recruitment problems trying to retain or hire new truck drivers.
Self-Driving Cars and Health Industry
Earlier this year, self-driving cars made the news when they proved their worth as a safe alternative in the healthcare industry.
At a much-needed time where our front-line health workers are being stretched thin and resources are barely being able to be allocated, and for the first time in U.S history autonomous vehicles are being used to transport medical supplies and COVID-19 results at the Mayo Clinic in Florida, U.S.
The system works by having four completely autonomous shuttles. operating along an initial route, without anyone on board and they transport COVID-19 test samples that are placed in secure containers prior the shuttles arrival.
If you are having trouble imaging in it, check out this video that demonstrates the no human shuttle below.
This use sheds light on the actual benefits that self-driving cars can have, on the healthcare industry, but what if we step it up a bit?
Imagine smart cities, the next level of technology and development – a city where everything is connected, everything can be monitored, and of course everything works like the click on a clock.
In these smart cities, autonomous transportation will be pushed to a new level.
A while back, automotive giant Audi have partnered with German Karslruher Institute for Technology on a research project dubbed “25th Hour – Flow” and simulated what will happen when automated driving becomes more widespread.
The results are stunning to say the least. Just judge for yourself.
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