Hosted by Titania Jordan, TechCONNECT is where tech leaders of the southeast can turn to stay up-to-date on all things business and tech. March has been a little out of the ordinary for the Atlanta tech community and beyond. Join us as we explore technologies’ role in this global health crisis and how tech companies are responding.
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Trending: Atlanta’s Top Tech Stories
Atlanta Tech Companies Find Ways to Give Back
We want to share some good news from our friends at Venture Atlanta. GoodrCo is partnering with Atlanta Public Schools to give students in need free meals, rimidi can help reduce hospital-based transmission, Jigsaw Interactive is giving its intelligent virtual classroom software to schools, and peerfit has a grid platform for at-home workouts. Click here to read more about the tech companies that are finding ways to give back during these trying times.
Georgia-Pacific Reacts to Toilet Paper Demand
Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific is ramping up to meet consumer demand for toilet paper amid the uncertainty around COVID-19. Georgia-Pacific reported that its paper mills and distribution centers shipped out last week at 120% its normal capacity. While the company is currently racing to get toilet paper back on shelves across the country, it’s likely that this retail demand could begin to be offset by an expected decrease in orders on the company’s business-to-business side- think hotels, restaurants, and other companies- as workplace, travel, and gathering plans are changing drastically. Click here to learn more about how GP has been impacted as the nation responds to the virus.
Looking for a Tech Podcast? Check out “Tech Talk Y’all”
Tech Talk Y’all is a weekly half-hour tech comedy podcast hosted by Sanjay Parekh and Adam Walker with occasional appearances by producer Shannon Evanchec. In the most recent episode, Sanjay and Adam discuss how AI discovered the antibiotic that kills even highly resistant bacteria, why Samsung blasted Galaxy phones worldwide with a weird notification, and when Apple may let people pick alternative default apps on the iPhone. Click here to listen and subscribe to the Tech Talk Y’all podcast.
The University of Georgia and CEL-SCI Corp. Team Up to Fight #COVID-19
The University of Georgia’s Center for Vaccines and Immunology is collaborating with Virginia biotech company Cel-Sci to develop an immunotherapy to fight coronavirus. UGA and Cel-Sci will begin with preclinical studies based on the experiments previously conducted with LEAPS immunotherapy in collaboration with the National Institutes for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) against the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. Those successful studies demonstrated that LEAPS peptides, given after virus infection has occurred, reduced morbidity and mortality in mice infected with H1N1. The two groups aim to rapidly evaluate this technology’s potential in order to start treating patients at the greatest risk of dying from this global pandemic. Click here to read the full article.
Trending: Top National Tech Stories
Culture Change for Intel Thanks to New CEO
Robert Swan, who joined Intel in 2016 as CFO and permanently secured his current job as CEO in 2019, is now prioritizing the company’s culture after deep-rooted issues have decelerated the 51-year-old company’s growth in recent years. Not only is Swan focusing on overhauling team structure and internal communication, but the revamp is also positively affecting the design of chips. Read the full story here.
Apple Fears Impact of Coronavirus
The impact of the coronavirus has spanned several industries but it seems to be disrupting travel and tech the most. Even Apple is coming to terms with how this epidemic will affect the company financially. China has been a critical factor in Apple’s soaring market value as the country provides a stable, efficient, and low-cost manufacturing base with an abundant network of suppliers that have helped cement Apple’s profitability. Factory production has been shut down to contain the outbreak, and Apple has warned investors that it will not meet its own sales estimates in the current quarter. Since that warning, the company’s market value has declined by more than $100 billion. Click here to learn more about how coronavirus has shaken up the tech industry.
Keep Your Phone Clean During Cold and Flu Season
According to a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, your phone could have over 25,000 germs per square inch, whereas your keyboard has about 3,000. All you need to properly sanitize your smartphone are a few household items like rubbing alcohol, q-tips, a spray bottle, and a microfiber cloth. The Wall Street Journal breaks down how to safely clean your phone. Watch the video by clicking here.
Working Remotely? Here Are Some Tech Fixes
As we adjust to our new normal during the coronavirus pandemic, working from home may seem like a dream to some and like a nightmare to others. The Wall Street Journal is sharing tips on how to stay productive and sane. One of the more important suggestions is to find a place in your home that feels completely separate so that when the workday is over, you’re able to step away and take a break until the following day. To find more solutions for working from home, click here.
Side note: the MAU and 3Ci team recently shared a remote work resource roundup to help you stay sane and safe while everyone’s away from the office.
Target Increases Pay for Employees Amid COVID-19 Crisis
All employees in Target stores and distribution centers are receiving a $2-an-hour raise that will last through at least May 2. The announcement comes after the company reported an unprecedented rise in demand for home delivery of groceries and household essentials. This raise is part of a larger $300 million investment that also includes its subsidiary Shipt, which Target purchased in 2017 for $550 million, hiring thousands of workers in markets including Atlanta, Miami, Minneapolis, and Detroit. In addition, Target Corporation shared that it will offer its employees who may be more at-risk from COVID-19, such as those who are pregnant or over 65, up to 30 days of paid leave. Read more about how Target is taking care of its employees during this time by clicking here.
Atlanta Funding News
Startup Funding NOT Slowing Down
Big startup rounds haven’t plummeted…yet. While it is realistic to expect that larger rounds will decrease in the coming months. It’s actually too early to tell. Given that a sizable percentage of financings actually get reported weeks or months after the date they close; however, Crunchbase reports that total global funding for venture rounds over $10 million remains at historically high levels in 2020. This year’s totals have been boosted by supergiant financings for a handful of companies with a lot of the money going towards transportation. Outside of the transportation sector, recipients include plant-based meat producer Impossible Foods, banking upstart Revolut, and data warehousing provider Snowflake. Read the full story here.
Atlanta Companies and Tech Leaders on the Move
BoxLock Aims to Stop Package Theft
BoxLock, which appeared on “Shark Tank” in 2018, is an Atlanta-based startup that is aiming to help stop the theft of more than 1.7 million packages, which occurs daily. While the company did not secure an investment on the show, it has raised $4.5 million in a recent fundraising round led by former Amazon, Microsoft, DHL, and Pitney Bowes executives. BoxLock’s technology provides smart padlock devices for home deliveries. This technology is needed now more than ever because projections for 2020 estimate an $89 billion global loss to carriers for parcels that are not delivered on the first attempt. You can learn more about how BoxLock plans to continue thwarting porch pirates by clicking here.
Physician 360 Offers Telemedicine Component
Former emergency medicine physician at Emory Hospital, Dr. Angela Fusaro, did a deep dive into “alternative ways” to diagnose viruses with a time-sensitive timeline, like the flu, where patients need to get into a doctor quickly. But none of the solutions she found had what she calls the trifecta- convenience, affordability, and diagnostic accuracy. So she created her own. Physician 360 is an at-home solution for virus testing with a telemedicine component. Physician 360 currently offers four tests- strep, flu, UTI, and anemia- which can be picked up at pharmacies. Following the test, the user schedules a telemedicine consultation with a board-certified physician over the Physician 360 platform through its desktop or smartphone app. The entire process costs less than $50. Learn more about Dr. Fusaro and Physician 360 by clicking here.
Atlanta Mergers, Acquisitions, and More
Walmart and Verizon Team Up to Bring 5G Service to 5,000 Stores
Walmart and Verizon may be teaming up soon to bring 5G wireless service to nearly 5000 stores across the US. If the deal is signed, Walmart will remodel the stores into hubs to attract shoppers for medical treatment, not just groceries and clothes. Using 5G connectivity could allow a doctor, in a remote location, to read a patient’s vitals, watch them walk on a treadmill, or analyze the results of tests like electrocardiograms in real-time. 5G offers lower latency that enables real-time communication as well as better network security. Walmart also could use the new services to scan shelves for out of stock inventory or improve cameras to alert staff to shoplifters. Learn more about the benefits of 5G wireless service by clicking here.
Stay well, Atlanta, and for now, stay home! To stay up-to-date with all of Atlanta’s top tech news, subscribe to the TechCONNECT YouTube channel.
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