NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- COVID-19 has been a major driver behind explosive technological advances this year as companies have focused on doing what they do best — but even better. While some advancements have targeted saving lives, others have focused on saving livelihoods, as financial stability and security can be almost as important as health in today's world of emotional and economic fear and uncertainty. The pandemic has transformed the world in many ways, including bringing data collection and digital technologies to the forefront of a socially distanced world. With this in mind, Loop Insights Inc. (TSX.V: MTRX) (OTCQB: RACMF) (Profile) recently made history by offering the first-ever, end-to-end venue-tracing and management solution. A provider of contactless solutions and artificial intelligence aimed at driving automated marketing, venue management and tracing to the brick-and-mortar space, Loop made its mark as it created a "bubble" platform for NCAA basketball to take place in Nevada and Florida. Using Loop Insights' venue-tracing platform combined with revised safety protocol, numerous games were played over several days and in several venues without a single case of COVID-19 being reported. Data collection, automated marketing and other transformational technology is driving success for other industry movers and shakers as well. The cloud data platform Snowflake Inc. (NYSE: SNOW) recently announced a partnership with the state of California to deliver fast, frictionless public access to COVID-19 data via the Snowflake Data Marketplace. Automated marketing is key to Shopify Inc. (TSX:SHOP) (NYSE:SHOP), the leading multi-channel commerce platform that just unveiled the latest in commerce technology. Commerce is also at the heart of ads, one of the main services provided by Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB). And in terms of sheer ability to manage and aggregate data, Nielsen N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) just announced plans to launch Nielsen One, a single, cross-media solution to drive more comparable and comprehensive metrics across platforms.
- The idea of creating a vast, complete bubble might seem unrealistic and financially prohibitive — but it's neither.
- Loop's system includes all the requisite hardware, software, rapid mobile testing and integrated lab results.
- With the whole world watching, Loop Insights may have come out the clear winner at #VegasBubble, #BeachBubble.
Click here to view the custom infographic of the Loop Insights editorial.
A Bubble of Safety, Protection
Once reserved for the most sick and frail, a "bubble" means something different today than it ever has before. With the COVID-19 pandemic topping 16 million cases and the death count nearing 300,000, bubbles today are viewed as places of safety and protection for just about everyone, regardless of whether they are traveling, playing or watching sports, or even attending school or working at the office.
The idea of creating such a vast and complete bubble might seem unrealistic — and financially prohibitive. However, real-world experience has proven otherwise. In an attempt to save its 2020 season, the NBA invested $150 million to create the "Disney World Bubble," which "recouped $1.5 billion in revenue that might have been lost had the season ended when COVID-19 paused it on March 11. And no positive tests came out of the bubble among players, staff and media." After losing nearly $1 billion by scrapping its popular March Madness tournament this year, the NCAA is looking to avoid a repeat.
The Loop System
The NCAA has substantial proof that a bubble is effective after partnering with Loop Insights Inc. (TSX.V: MTRX) (OTCQB: RACMF) and its turnkey venue-tracing solution. The collegiate sports organization planned and put together the #VegasBubble in Nevada and the #BeachBubble in Florida during the 10 days of the basketball season, which included 11 NCAA Division 1 men's and women's teams.
An integral part of the plan was Loop's system, which included all the requisite hardware, software, rapid mobile testing and integrated lab results. All users have to do is register and receive a wallet pass on their mobile phones and then check in at designated contactless devices. After that, location-based beacons, GPS and Internet of Things (IoT) technology takes over.
The system is infinitely scalable and has proven high adoption rates compared to other apps because additional hardware or software isn't required. The system uses the mobile wallet that already exists on a user's mobile device. Loop uses this same near-field communication (NFC) technology backed by Apple and Google.
And in a world where personal information is paramount, all collected data is de-identified and securely stored in Loop's data portal where its artificial intelligence (AI) technology shares essential details such as movements, active users, occupancy levels, promotions and more. In addition, Loop' s real-time messaging keeps users up-to-date on critical information and alerts individuals who are at risk or in need of a COVID-19 rapid test.
The world has been devastated by COVID-19 in so many different ways. And while healthy is paramount, it has becoming increasingly evident that the ability to enjoy life — and earn a living — cannot be underestimated. With that in mind, the value of sports at all levels is rising. Teams, schools, leagues and ancillary businesses that depend on sports cannot afford to see seasons canceled. Loop and its partner, bdG Sports, one of the nation's leading content providers in college basketball programming, clearly proved that they don't have to be.
The two innovation leaders worked closely with the NCAA and host sites to identify best practices under new health and safety protocols and implement the first-ever, end-to-end COVID-19 venue solution in a live environment. Given the months-long dearth of live events, the ability to plan, attend and enjoy a wide range of sports events in almost unlimited venues holds almost irresistible allure. Certainly Loop's bubble success has garnered the company worldwide attention.
It's not an exaggeration to say that the whole world was watching to see if Loop's claims that its technology could protect players and staff throughout the week-plus of men's and women's Division I games would stand up. And as teams battled over the ball at MGM Grand Garden Arena, Mandalay Bay Events Center and T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and Hertz Arena and Alico Arena in Fort Meyers, Florida, Loop may have come out the clear winner.
The data is indisputable. Loop's system did not suffer any outages, and user experiences proved to be as seamless as anticipated. The #BeachBubble alone over seven days consisted of:
- Total locations: 14
- Total enrolled users: 553
- Total check-ins: 3,830
- Tracing checks: 2 highly detailed reports were generated in 15 minutes for potential infected cases, with both tests confirmed negative.
"[We] hit it out of the park," Loop reported, noting that its bubble solution "is nothing short of world-class." Armed with these successes and with few companies keeping up, Loop Insights is already in negotiations to re-open major sporting events from North America to Australia.
"Loop's venue bubble platform has provided us with the peace of mind to move forward with our return-to-play efforts in college basketball safely," said bdG Sports CEO Brooks Downing. In addition to safety and providing an aggregated report on activity via the Insights platform, companies obtain a competitive marketing edge because the data drives Loop's Engage platform to generate real-time targeted promotions to event attendees.
And protection and safety isn't the only thing Loop provided during the NCAA bubbles. In fact, the Loop system also provides sponsors with new revenue stream opportunities. The system also offers event sponsors the ability to add highly targeted promotions to Loop's venue-tracing wallet pass — the perfect way to ensure that event attendees and participants see personalized promotions.
This innovative technology could mean the return of live sports, conventions, concerts and festivals. Loop recently partnered with SimpliFlying, noting that discussions about possible uses have "significantly advanced" to offer travel bubbles with fully integrated rapid testing, tracing and notifications removing the need for mandated quarantines.
Technology, Data Come Together
Clearly the time has never been better for technology and data to come together, whether in the form of data collection, automated marketing or other transformational applications and uses. Other companies have clearly recognized the opportunity as well and are offering powerful products and services that meet compelling needs.
California has been using Snowflake Inc.'s (NYSE: SNOW) single, integrated cloud data platform to store and analyze a multitude of data sets, including the current number of COVID-19 cases across the state, total suspected cases, number of residents receiving treatment in a hospital ICU, available and in-use hospital beds and ventilators, and the demographics of COVID-19 patients. "The State of California's response to the COVID-19 emergency has been enhanced greatly by the ability to share, collaborate, and communicate data and information in new ways that are meaningful to health professionals and allied support entities during this crisis," said Scott Gregory, the state technology department's chief technology innovation officer.
Shopify Inc. (NYSE:SHOP) (TSX:SHOP) is transforming commerce by announcing platform enhancements and updates focused on giving direct-to-consumer brands everything they need to build and manage a business. According to the company, innovations include a newly updated Shopify Plus platform for enterprise brands, more global capabilities, and for the first time, Shopify is expanding its offering with a fulfillment network that will allow merchants of all sizes to deliver their products fast and at a low cost.
A huge portion of Facebook Inc.'s (NASDAQ: FB) revenue stems from its ads; the company's most recent financials — for Q3 2020 — show more than $21 billion in ad revenue. "We had a strong quarter as people and businesses continue to rely on our services to stay connected and create economic opportunity during these tough times," said Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. "We continue to make significant investments in our products and hiring in order to deliver new and meaningful experiences for our community around the world."
And just last week Nielsen N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) announced its exclusive cross-media solution, called Nielsen ONE, also targeting connecting advertisers and consumers in an easier, faster approach. As audiences move seamlessly between linear, streaming and digital, advertisers are demanding a single, deduplicated view of their audience across all platforms and mediums, while publishers want to provide more ad options for buyers and improve the overall viewer experience, Nielsen explained. Nielsen One provides visibility into audiences by platform and unique demographic profiles of each publisher.
With all the huge strides that companies are taking in efforts to provide the world with stability and security, there's reason to look toward the future with optimism. The advancements taking place today will almost certainly continue to have widespread use and life-changing applications moving forward.
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