How AI And “Gaze Control” Will Help Businesses Reopen Safely

Recent projections by the US federal government estimate that there will be 200,000 new coronavirus cases in the US  by June 1. At the same time, governments around the world are grappling with the complexities of safely reopening businesses, schools and other public institutions.

Technology companies are rushing into that gap with software aimed at keeping people safe, while citizens navigate a patchwork approach to easing shelter-in-place orders. One well-known approach is the use of contact-tracing apps on smart phones created by tech and telecom companies. These apps alert people if they’ve been in close proximity to an infected person.

But other technologies can help. When businesses and other institutions open up, they will need to do a lot of things differently. A new technology called “gaze control” allows people to avoid touching surfaces, like ATM display screens or subway-fare vending machine, that may be potentially contaminated with the virus. Stephan Odörfer is founder and managing director of Munich-based 4tiitoo (pronounced “42”), a startup that creates gaze control technology. Put simply, this technology lets people use their eyes to interact with computers, replacing the need to touch a keyboard, mouse or screen.

Moreover, 4tiitoo has combined gaze control with AI to analyze patterns in users’ eye movement and predict what people want to do next within a particular computer screen or application. “Gaze control allows you to do two things. It controls the computer and we can use it to get an understanding of what the user actually wants to do, “said Odörfer. “By understanding intention, we can proactively support him.”

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SAP.iO Foundry Tel Aviv’s Second Cohort to Focus on Consumer Products Industry

SAP.iO Foundry Tel Aviv announced the launch of its second program, focused on startups in the consumer products industry, with a virtual kickoff event that took place on Monday. “We understand that especially now, in light of the Covid-19 crisis, even the best startups will need support in reaching global markets and we are fully committed to supporting our selected portfolio companies in doing so, together with SAP,” said Lior Weizman, director of SAP.iO Foundry Tel Aviv.

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SAP In Focus: Tech That Will Help Us Reopen Video

Startup CEO and SAP expert say “gaze control” and AI will help people get back to work, play and life more safely. Stephan Odörfer, founder of 4tiitoo, explains how touchless computing will protect workers. Meanwhile, David Judge, SAP’s Vice President for Intelligent Enterprise Solutions, believes the pandemic will accelerate adoption of technologies like machine learning, blockchain and IoT. Learn how these technologies will help us recover, while protecting our data privacy.

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New product displays COVID-19 stats on airline, hotel and OTA websites

Bacarai – one of PhocusWire’s Hot 25 Startups for 2020 – has developed a new API service that connects COVID-19 statistics to airport codes and hotel locations so that airlines, hotels and online travel agencies can display the data within their shopping workflows.

SmartCheck provides statistics such as total cases, new cases by day, total tests, number of people recovered and number of deaths, with data pulled from publicly available sources around the world. Airlines, hotels and OTAs can access SmartCheck via an API and then customize how the information is displayed on their sites – for example showing the trend of new cases on a line graph.

Bacarai is part of the current SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco, a B2B travel technology accelerator, and Totten says some of the SAP Concur teams are now looking at SmartCheck.

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SAP.iO Foundry Paris : « Le programme pour les start-up HR Tech est adapté avec le Covid-19 »

Sébastien Gibier, directeur de SAP.iO Foundry Paris, présente la sélection des huit start-up de la promotion Future Of Work. L’organisation a été bousculée avec la crise.

Après avoir traité la chaîne d’approvisionnement, le commerce de détail et les technologies vertes, SAP.iO Foundry Paris aborde l’angle HR Tech. Le programme d’accélération de start-up de l’éditeur de logiciels pour les entreprises (et leader européen), qui avait démarré il y a trois ans, a intégré une sélection de huit start-up (six sont françaises) dans sa promotion “Future of Work“. Sous la forme d’un programme d’accompagnement, elles vont passer plusieurs semaines à développer leurs visions business et leurs fonctions technologiques sous la houlette de SAP. Cette saison a trois particularités (deux officielles et une totalement imprévue) :
– les solutions des jeunes pousses retenues devaient compléter fonctionnellement SAP SuccessFactors, la solution RH de l’éditeur (125 millions d’utilisateurs à travers le monde) ;
– 5 partenaires clients deviennent « coproducteurs » du programme SAP.iO Foundry, c’est-à-dire qu’ils viennent chercher des start-up qui correspondent à leurs propres besoins ;
– La crise Covid-19 est survenue lors de l’activation de la promotion “Future of Work“. Ce qui a nécessité quelques adaptations dans le programme supervisé par Sébastien Gibier, directeur de SAP.iO Foundry Paris. Dans un entretien, il précise les implications de cette crise dans la feuille de route du programme initialement établie.

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What COVID-19 means for a travel startup focused on sustainability

One perhaps unintended consequence of travel coming to a near halt due to COVID-19 is the return of clearer skies and fewer carbon emissions.

For the startup Jet-Set Offset, which is a donation-based carbon offsetting tool for air travel, this is temporary good news on the sustainability front, but the startup is now reevaluating how it can help its partners amid the travel slowdown.

With Jet-Set Offset, named one of PhocusWire’s Hot 25 Startups for 2020, travelers can offset carbon emissions from flying by automatically donating one cent per mile to environmental organizations working to reduce carbon emissions.

However, “as travel has slowed or even ceased, real-time mileage-based donations to our partners are also down,” says the company’s co-founder and CEO, Anna Ford.

“These nonprofits need our help now more than ever to continue their planet-saving projects,” she says, and to that end, Jet-Set Offset has pivoted its messaging and launched a month-long campaign to celebrate April as Earth Month and allow travelers to offset carbon emissions from past flights.

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HOW TO BRING A PRODUCT OR SERVICE TO MARKET IN CORONAVIRUS WORLD – VANESSA LIU INTERVIEW

Learn how to bring a new product or service to market in the age of Coronavirus with our guest today, Vanessa Liu. Vanessa graduated from both Harvard University and Harvard Law before going on to help launch multiple media and telecom startups as a consultant at McKinsey & Company. She then went on two four two more startups herself before taking on her current role running SAP.io’s Foundries program (www.SAP.io/Foundries), a no-equity accelerator for startups with a current or planned integration with SAP, 40% or more of which have female or under-represented founders.

In this episode, we cover how still-growing organizations should pivot their product, service, and/or messaging to focus on potential clients’ pain-points, and not on simply how great their product is.

6 startup CEOs explain strategy for making sure layoffs are only ever a last resort, from slashing expenses to asking employees what kind of pay cut they can afford

As the coronavirus crisis escalated in March, Emil Mikhailov, CEO of the AI startup XIX, sent an email to his employees, warning them to prepare for a recession when their top priority will be to “to survive the storm.” 

“It’s not clear what is going to happen,” he wrote.

Then he made a vow: “We as a team will not lose anyone. We will sacrifice short-term to make sure everyone is OK.”

The downturn has upended the world of startups, many of which are scrambling for ways to cut expenses, including layoffs. But some startups are stressing the need to protect their employees’ jobs as they figured out ways to survive the downturn. 

Some CEOs and founders, like Mikhailov, have even promised not to cut anyone.

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How Businesses Can Stay On The Right Side Of History During Tough Times

Every day the news features stories about how businesses are adapting to the COVID-19 crisis. Whether it’s small companies developing new revenue streams to stay afloat, or larger ones reorienting operations to provide critical support, one thing is clear: Businesses are pivoting quickly.

But there can be missteps too. COVID-19 related promotions fill my social feed and inbox. Buy a comfy work-from-home bra! Puzzles (that are sold out) to help entertain the family!

Bonin Bough is a digital marketing guru, startup investor, and author of “Txt Me: Your Phone Has Changed Your Life. Let’s Talk about It.” His latest venture, OpenMessage, creates dynamic, branded text messages to drive customer loyalty. The company was selected by SAP.iO Foundry (a global startup accelerator) to participate in its new cohort of customer experience and retail companies.

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Coronavirus: Brand Moves for Monday April 6

Cloud-based enterprise software firm SAP has established a €3 million COVID-19 Emergency Fund to support the urgent needs of the World Health Organization (WHO), the CDC Foundation, and smaller nonprofits and social enterprises that work on the front lines serving local communities in crisis. “SAP stands with the WHO and supports its leadership in coordinating the global effort to mobilize the fight against COVID-19,” said Alexandra van der Ploeg, head of SAP CSR. “Specifically, SAP is donating €1 million to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the WHO hosted by Swiss Philanthropy Foundation and the United Nations Foundation for virus prevention and detection. SAP is also making resources and expertise available to help our nonprofit and social enterprise partners effectively shift to remote operations. We want to help ensure they can maintain their much-needed services to their communities and not lay off staff.” Meanwhile, SAP is collaborating with an ecosystem of business-to-business startup partners through its SAP.iO program – startups which center on managing a distributed workforce. The list includes secondment and staff re-allocation tool Andjaro; Bravely, a platform connects employees to on-demand professional coaching; Clearmetal, which enables accurate delivery forecasts and exception management in multi-modal container-based transport; Cultivate which facilitates growth in-management capability and organizational health through passive data acquisition and analysis of employee feedback; Disco which enables employees to recognize and commend each other, building employee engagement; mobile microlearning platform Gnowbe; Goodr, a startup tackling hunger by connecting sources of surplus food with those in need, such as food banks; the MeQuilibrium well-being and performance platform; Plum, a psychometric-based talent acquisition and management platform; WeGift, a leading platform for real-time on-demand digital incentives, payouts, and rewards due to eGift cards; and Wethos, which curates virtual teams of contingent creative and marketing experts.

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29 tech startup founders and CEOs share their fears and strategies for navigating the coronavirus crash: ‘We are now wartime CEOs’

Min Chen, CEO of Silicon Valley data analytics startup Wisy, was born in China but grew up in Panama, where she lived through the turmoil of the 1989 US invasion. She and her co-founders are “wartime survivors” who endured the violence and the disruption of that period.

“That experience, somehow, has prepared us for this crisis,” she told Business Insider. “We come from places where there was nothing, even in times of prosperity.”

Like other startups, Wisy’s biggest challenge right now is cash flow, but Chen and her cofounders hope keep their team together. While other startups have begun shedding jobs, they’re taking a different approach. “Instead of laying people off, we decided to all take pay cuts,” she said.

That adaptation feels critical: “Companies that die are those that couldn’t adapt,” she said. 

In Wisy’s case, new opportunities have come up because of the crisis. An international organization that wants to use Wisy’s technology for tracing infections and anticipating outbreaks has invited it to apply for grants.

“Even if we don’t have the grant, we would help,” she said.

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How SAP.iO Foundry Tel Aviv Startups Are Helping Customers & Communities Thrive in the New Reality

As individuals and organizations are learning to navigate today’s “new normal,” companies are shifting their strategy or altering their services in order to bring the most value to customers and give back to the community. 

Check out how some of the alumni from SAP.iO Foundry Tel Aviv’s previous cohort are altering their offerings and sharing insightful resources. 

Outgage

Outgage is a direct mail SaaS platform that combines the advantages of digital marketing campaigns with the effectiveness of personal direct mail experiences, closing the loop between offline and online campaigns. As several companies are reconsidering their current marketing efforts and strategy, Outgage is beginning to aim their offering of personal direct mail experiences toward HR leaders, who can utilize Outgage’s services in order to send care packages and engage with their employees who are working from home.

EasySend

EasySend’s no-code application builder empowers global insurance companies and financial institutions to turn paperwork into a digital experience. In light of the current situation, EasySend is churning out helpful content to assist insurers in fast-tracking their digital transformations, as well as providing information on how going digital will help enterprises succeed in this new reality.

GrowthSpace

GrowthSpace’s online one-on-one coaching platform offers high-quality training and personalized coaching for tech companies, at the cost of an average workshop. In the past couple of weeks, GrowthSpace has organized various webinars to provide expertise to organizational leaders during this time. From a “COVID-19 Readiness for HR Leaders” discussion to a “Teams Working Remotely” expert panel led by six senior executives of remote teams, GrowthSpace is utilizing the prowess of their certified coaches to provide key insights and best practices to the community, free of charge.

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Building Employee Resilience During A Pandemic

Scientific data is proving to be the bedrock of workforce resiliency in a world reeling from COVID-19. Commonly misperceived as an inborn trait, resilience is actually a tangible skill that Massachusetts-based meQuilibrium is building in employees at Fortune 1000 companies worldwide.

“Every leader is talking about adaptive capacity, resilience, and agility,” said Jan Bruce, co-founder and CEO of meQuilibrium. “We are democratizing executive coaching, helping people manage the stress and burnout associated with constant transformation and rapid change.”

Managing stress with resilience

As the pandemic spreads with head-spinning speed, meQuilibrium’s interactive cloud-based platform appears ideally matched to what’s become a rightfully panicked workforce. Tracking steadily rising stress levels of employees on the meQuilibrium platform, the company sped up product updates to deliver refreshed daily tips and tool kits for managing anxiety, uncertainty, and isolation.

The startup’s worldwide customers cut across industries like pharmaceuticals, finance, telecommunications, packaged goods, and automotive. Many organizations have reported measurable benefits to date. One company reduced high anxiety by 36 percent, high stress by 27 percent, and depression by 24 percent in its large employee population.

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