[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Thoughts from local business leaders and startup founders on the effects of COVID on their industry” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%231e73be” google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]If anyone had told me a year ago that we would be in the situation we are in today, I might not have said it out loud, but I would have thought that they were completely nuts. The global pandemic has given me a new standard for what a worst-case scenario looks like.

Whatever else develops with this pandemic, one thing is certain. It has changed the world.

I have written a series of columns based on discussions with some of the opinion leaders in our state from various industries. Our conversations have been about how the last six months will change the next six years and beyond.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][rd_line color=”#1e73be”][vc_empty_space][vc_custom_heading text=”Marcus Robinson, CEO of Monscierge” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%231e73be” google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]One of the industries impacted fastest and most is the hospitality industry.

“There has been a shift across hospitality, not just hotels, but the restaurant business and the entire sector,” said Marcus Robinson, CEO of Monscierge, an Oklahoma City-based interactive software company with solutions installed in hotels around the world.

In hotels and other accommodations, he says, companies large to small are rethinking every aspect of the interaction between the guest and the property. Industry-wide companies, even those who may have previously been resistant, feel the imperative to implement technology to improve levels of service.

“When ATMs first came in,” Robinson said, “banks wanted to maintain the in-person relationship with clients. They didn’t want customers to go to machines, but customers just wanted to get their cash and move on with their day. Instead, ATMs elevated the level of customer service.

It’s similar in hospitality. “Hospitality has been clinging to the thinking, that they needed a front desk and to interact directly with every guest,” Robinson said. “The pandemic is making hotel people think differently. We never want to get away from the level of service the front desk provides, but we do want to use technology where it is positive.”

To read the entire column  Pandemic brings lasting change to world of hospitality, health care.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][rd_line color=”#1e73be”][vc_empty_space][vc_custom_heading text=”Brett Kolomyjec, CEO of Happily” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%231e73be” google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Information technology plays a super-sized role In Oklahoma’s innovation economy.

Brett Kolomyjec, Oklahoma entrepreneur and CEO of Happily, is upbeat about post-pandemic opportunities for businesses in these industries.

“I’m reading The Future is Faster Than You Think,” Kolomyjec said. “The book talks about how a convergence of events, resources, and discovery can take technology that started off slow and make it accessible to the rest of the world. That feels like the shift with COVID.”

Kolomyjec is living the experience. With social distancing and limits on entertainment and dining out (not to mention, a mention in Forbes), Happily’s date-in-a-box subscription service is booming. “The pandemic has been the perfect storm for Happily,” Kolomyjec said.

The question technologists need to ask, he says, is how have the parameters and confines of our time changed with this pandemic and what technologies and services exist or can pivot to serve those needs.

For example, the work-from-home phenomenon is having an enormous impact on IT businesses—from the proliferation of online conferencing applications like Zoom to telecommuting.

“The last few months have made us all realize how much money, effort, and time are spent on things, not essential to our businesses,” Kolomyjec said. “I would expect that as office and commercial real estate leases expire, companies in technology are going to become very smart about remote work and how they decentralize operations. Technology and product design can be done from anywhere.”

Kolomyjec senses another quiet shift in the world of technology startups—an awakening of interest in Midwestern startups from venture capital firms on the coasts. “Before you had to know someone in Silicon Valley or in New York. Now they are beginning to research companies from other states. The more startups we have in Oklahoma, the more likely we are to attract outside capital.”

The more early stage companies we can launch or attract to Oklahoma in this time of disruption, the more attractive this state will become to non-traditional venture capitalists. Like the team at Happily, let’s optimize this perfect storm.

To read the entire column Happily CEO: Pandemic brings opportunities for tech startups.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][rd_line color=”#1e73be”][vc_empty_space][vc_custom_heading text=”Stephen Prescott, President of Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%231e73be” google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]In exploring the long-term impact of the COVID pandemic on the fields of clinical research, I drew on the experience and insight Dr. Stephen M. Prescott, president of Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF).

“Many things have changed during the time of the pandemic,” said Dr. Prescott.” We have to accept that and find ways to make those changes fit into our business.”

For OMRF and many other research institutions, those adjustments—most of them welcome—include remote work, rigorous anti-contagion practices and rules in laboratories, expansion of telemedicine, and a limited relaxation of FDA approval requirements.

Dr. Prescott says that the pandemic has been a force of positive disruption with the explosion in telemedicine for patients and a “fast-path” mindset at the FDA. Now that insurance companies are paying for virtual visits, adoption of telemedicine has been dramatic industry-wide. OMRF sees a large percentage of research clinic patients online.

Another pandemic-positive, thanks to the drive for a COVID vaccine, is a bit of FDA relaxation in requirements for proving efficacy (the ability of a drug to produce a desired or intended result).

As destructive and exhausting as this pandemic is in the near-term, it is encouraging to consider future positives for an institution and an industry that are a cornerstone of Oklahoma’s innovation economy.

To read the entire column Pandemic a force of ‘positive disruption’ for telemedicine.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][rd_line color=”#1e73be”][vc_empty_space][vc_custom_heading text=”Ryan Dennis, co-founder and CEO of Linear Health Sciences” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%231e73be” google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Sharing his thoughts on the effects of the COVID pandemic on the medical industry is Dr. Ryan Dennis, an Oklahoma physician, inventor, and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CEO of Linear Health Sciences, an Oklahoma-based company preparing to launch the Orchid SRV, a device designed to address dislodgement and disconnection of intravenous (IV) catheters in patients in most clinical settings worldwide.

As a dedicated and compassionate hospitalist in the front-line battle against COVID and a successful entrepreneur who is currently battling through final FDA approval for his groundbreaking Orchid SRV, Dr. Dennis’s view on how the pandemic will change the practice of medicine is unique.

His initial take is that telemedicine will continue to grow especially in a state like Oklahoma with a hub and spoke healthcare model and a rural geography. “From an entrepreneurial view,” he said, “there is a huge upside for telemedicine applications. This pandemic has created an interesting shift. There won’t be the same resistance to change. With a new generation coming up with only virtual communications and adults having reasons not to be around people, telemedicine is going to build new efficiencies into healthcare.”

For medical devices and new therapies, the pandemic has changed the way the FDA operates. Because COVID-related therapies continue to receive top priority and resources, other FDA processes are being prolonged, and remote operations will likely impact the FDA pipeline for all other projects for months and years.

As for post pandemic, Dr. Dennis says, it is critical to  elevate the science by including the individual and collective perspectives of experts, specialists, and scientists in the determination of how to best deal with the pandemic and medical protocols currently and in the future.

To read the entire column Telemedicine poised for growth because of pandemic, says Linear Health Sciences co-founder.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][rd_line color=”#1e73be”][vc_empty_space][vc_custom_heading text=”Paige Johnson, founder and CEO of Ten-Nine Technologies” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%231e73be” google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]The pandemic’s immediate and expected after-effect for battery solutions based on advanced materials has been positive.

Paige Johnson, founder and CEO of Tulsa-based Ten-Nine Technologies, is a leader in this expanding segment on the continuum of energy alternatives. Johnson invented the technology for a new class of non-toxic nanomaterials with energy equivalence to fossil fuels. Ten-Nine Technologies initial application is a battery solution that uses the nanomaterials and traditional battery materials to double battery life.

Covid has altered the daily lives of people and the daily usage of places.  

“Any time you have space that is occupied less of the time or where people don’t need to be present,” Johnson said, “there will be a greater need for remote monitoring. It is a way for businesses to reduce interaction. Sensor applications will drive the workplace of the future.”

Also, everyone is spending more time on their electronic devices. “Batteries power all those headsets, iPads, tablets, and laptops we are using at home. This is true for people of all ages,” Johnson said. “Our work and social interactions are being powered by batteries.”

Johnson calls out another after-effect of the pandemic is the cancellation of scientific and industry conferences.

“These conferences are a main networking vector for companies like ours. They have been the best way to meet new people, partners, and potential customers. From a business development perspective, it has all gone dark,” she said, leaving a gap for young companies with new technologies.”

Johnson’s point of view is striking. She speaks to the intersection of advanced technology and the way we live our lives. Consider this vision. Battery power that is as abundant as electricity.

To read the entire column Advanced batteries driving our present AND our future.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]