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A Tale of Two Countries - in Need of Each Other

                     Blog by Mimi Grant

This week half of California's largest metro areas are in the State's least restrictive Yellow Tier. And, in Orange County, 40% of the residents are fully vaccinated, and 91% have had at least one shot. Little wonder California's Governor Newsom believes we're less than a month away from "fully reopening," on June 15th - as our "surges" appear to be behind us.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, India's population of 1.4 Billion is suffering from a massive COVID surge that's crippling not only the largest democracy on the planet, but America's "back office." With India's colonial roots, about 130 million Indians speak English as their first, second, or third language; and the country's IT workforce accounts for nearly four and a half million employees, according to Wikipedia - not including the nearly 80,000 Indian ex-pats currently working in the U.S. on H-1B visas for the largest Indian IT companies - like Infosys, Wipro, and Tata - plus the millions more who are working for over 2000 Business Process Outsourcing, IT, and Call Center companies, in India - on behalf of Americans, including 130,000 working for IBM alone.

Six years ago when I visited Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur - the largest in the Rajasthan area, I was impressed with its 6251 beds - and the fact that its 1500 doctors and 4000 nurses not only treated patients in its beds, but an additional 10,000 patients a day in its out-patient departments - in "normal" times. At the time there were also 168 ICU beds, where the nurse staffing allowed for one nurse for every 6-7 beds. I was also told by my host, Dr. Suneet Singh Ranawat, the Hospital's Deputy Superintendent (basically, the COO) that when the hospital was overwhelmed, an additional 15,000 patients could end up on mats on the floor.

I can well imagine that this is one of those times. In early May, Dhruv Khullar, MD, wrote in The New Yorker about the experiences of Dr. Rajat Arora, an interventional cardiologist, who's "constantly working the phones to procure what's needed for basic COVID-19 care: oxygen, ventilators, immunosuppressive medications, antiviral drugs, and the like." He and other administrators also field upward of a thousand requests a day for the approximately 30 beds that will become available each day, when someone is discharged, or dies. As he says, "If I put up a thousand-bed hospital today, it would be full in an hour." Clearly the highly contagious variant, B.1.617 is accelerating the damage.

As an example of how this plays out for thousands of American companies with employees in India, we've heard anecdotally from some of our members that they're hiring temps to help fill in for upwards of two-thirds of their employees who are out sick with COVID - and help cover for the 100% of their staff who are concerned about - if not personally caring for - sick family members. We've also heard that price gouging is going on now, given a few months ago anyone could purchase two vaccines for 200 rupees - less than $3.00. While today, if you can find them, they're 4000 rupees, nearly $55, per dose. Further, in many hospital beds, sometimes entire families are being cared for in each bed.

While initially, we were hearing from our Members who have employees and family members in India that they couldn't get these vital supplied into the country, now it seems some progress is being made by the U.S. government sending a $100 million worth of test kits, ventilators, oxygen cylinders, and PPE; Europe is now sending syringes, oxygen generators, and ventilators; and Russia's sending 150,000 doses of Sputnik V, their vaccine. But the needs are still great. In addition to UNICEF, Americares, the Indian Red Cross Society, and Oxygen for India, you'll find a long list of worthy organizations in The New York Times that are providing money for meals, medical expenses, PPE, and oxygen tanks, among other essential supplies. I hope you'll join me in supporting the people who answer our customer support calls, and insure our "invisible" back offices run as smoothly as our American front offices.

AfterNow Among the 2020 Oculus Launch Pad Grant Recipients

Oculus VR has named AfterNow Prez as one of the grant recipients of the Oculus LaunchPad 2020, a program designed to support promising VR content creators from diverse backgrounds as they iterate on their unique ideas and bring them to market. All Launch Pad participants will participate in a boot camp and receive three months of VR education and development support to continue their app development process. (Philippe Lewicki, WLA)

Awarenow is Now Profi; Names Adam Miller Exec Chairman

Profi is the new name for awarenow, reflecting the firm's broader mission to help all professional service providers - solopreneurs and teams - increase their revenue through optimized service delivery, deeper and better client experiences, and activation and automated admin processes. And, the company announced that Adam Miller is now its Executive Chairman, with Alina Trigubenko remaining as Founder and CEO. Whereas awarenow was primarily for coaches and therapists, Profi is laser-focused on streamlining professional service operations from all sectors, including training, accounting, financial services, legal, marketing, HR, wellness, coaching, healthcare and more. (Alina Trigubenko & Adam Miller, WLA)

Delphi Display Systems Partners with Everbrite; Chosen by New California Cafe

Delphi Display Systems has signed a partnership agreement with Everbrite, LLC to provide Order Confirmation System Technology as a key component to Everbrite's QSR drive-thru product offering. Delphi's technology and software will be bundled with Everbrite's drive-thru canopy and menu board solutions.
Also, Delphi recently installed a full visual engagement and business optimization platform for the first Havana Savannah coffee concept based in Valencia, California, including powering all digital content, technical consulting and installation services, and more. (Ken Neeld, OC)

Eckert & Ziegler Acquires Majority Stake in Pentixapharm; Secures Deal with Sirtex

Eckert & Ziegler AG (EZ) has acquired a direct majority stake in drug developer Pentixapharm, which is developing a radiopharmaceutical combination product against lymphoma and a number of related tumors. The product will be able to be used both for the diagnosis and the therapy of cancer, and has received the green light for advanced clinical trials from the European Medicines Agency.
Meanwhile, EZ and Sirtex Medical recently executed a long-term supply agreement for the use of EZAG's Yttrium-90 in Sirtex SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres for liver cancer. (Frank Yeager, SGV)

Intellect Debuts Latest Updates to its QMS Solution

Intellect has launched Intellect QMS 4.1, which includes new apps: Device History Record, for integrating with NetSuite and a foundation for integrating with other ERP software providers; and Incident Management, the company's first app for Environmental, Health and Safety. Version 4.1 also includes redesigned QMS apps for Audit and Feedback Management, as well as modifications to Document Control, Calibration and Maintenance, and Setup. (Romeo Elias, WLA)

LookinLA & Ali Payani Featured on Cover of Mirror Review

LookinLA and CEO Ali Payani are the cover story in the May 2021 issue of Mirror Review for Unified Media Solutions Providers. The article - LookinLA: Transforming Companies into Authorities of their Industries - describes how LookinLA offers cost-effective full-service data-based marketing for clients that lack an in-house team. As more companies pivot to a remote working model, Ali anticipates that more will work with remote digital companies as a way to lower overhead and free up funds to use for marketing initiatives.
Meanwhile, LookinLA is offering an ebook download - The Future Of Work: Embracing The New Normal, which looks at coming market trends and published a blog post, Your Guide To Motion Graphics In Marketing. (Ali Payani, SGV)

myKaarma's TextDirect Allows Clients to Capture Messages Even If Sent to Landlines

myKaarma announced that its TextDirect feature, within the myKaarma app, allows auto dealer service departments to receive all text messages sent to the dealership, even if to the landline - enabling them to capture an additional 50-100 customer interactions per month. TextDirect can be fully integrated with myKaarma's software suite, which runs on mobile phones, desktops, and tablet computers. (Ujj Nath, WLA)

Parasoft Updates API Testing Suite for Enterprise Applications

Parasoft recently announced the 2021.1 release of the Parasoft Continuous Quality Suite of API testing tools for enterprise applications, including Parasoft SOAtest, Virtualize, and CTP. This release adds continuous quality to the company's CI/CD framework through enhanced requirements traceability and tighter integrations with current DevOps tools. In addition, teams will get a better service virtualization experience. (Elizabeth Kolawa, Ph.D., SGV)

Pegasus One Partners with Connectria

Pegasus One and Connectria have formed a new referral and reselling partnership for managed services and cloud solutions. As such, Pegasus One leverages its application modernization and SaaS expertise alongside Connectria's team of cloud experts to deliver end-to-end solutions for complex infrastructure challenges.
Also, Pegasus One has published Data Intelligence by Pegasus One: Visualizations, Reporting and Best Practices, which promises to "guide you towards an easier path to adopting data analytics and using it to boost ROI." (Tushar Puri, OC)

Siemens Digital Industries Software Anticipates Upcoming Event & Acquires Fractal Technologies

On May 26, Siemens will present a virtual event - Realize LIVE + User2User - which will bring together colleagues from across the Siemens Digital Industries Software portfolio, which now includes Siemens EDA, to keep them on the leading edge of digital transformation.
Meanwhile, Siemens Digital Industries Software has acquired Fractal Technologies, a provider of production signoff-quality IP validation solutions. With Fractal, Siemens' EDA customers can more quickly and easily validate internal and external IP and libraries used in their integrated circuit designs to improve overall quality and speed time to market. (Greg Lebsack, WLA)

Xsolla Acquires Slemma, Offers "Exit Strategies" & Partners with VCOIN

Xsolla has announced its acquisition of Slemma, which makes web-based tools to create data reports. Slemma's tools will enable Xsolla to offer more complex data reports.
And, Xsolla's new service - Xsolla Exit Strategies - will connect development studios with financial and transaction advisers, guiding them through the process of selling their game property or studio, from due diligence preparation to exiting.
Further, Xsolla is partnering with VCOIN, the first transferable digital currency designed for the metaverse, to expand the usability of VCOIN. (Shurick Agapitov, WLA)

BCG's Harrison Barnes on: the Big Problem of Worry

In Hypnotists, Worry and Living Your Life Today, Harrison Barnes, of BCG Attorney Search, describes some of his experiences with hypnotism, and shares an insight a hypnotist offered him: almost all of the people who use [a hypnotist] are doing so because of worries that they have; her role was really to help them stop worrying. Harrison found the same basic theme when he looked into The Sedona Method after a colleague raved about it. (Harrison Barnes, JD, WLA)

Dave Berkus on: Younger Coaches & Turnkey Software

Dave Berkus has published an article on Medium - Some great coaches are younger than you are - in which he states that there is nothing wrong with a manager slowing a conversation to ask for more background when speaking to an often-younger and more involved associate.
Meanwhile, on Hospitality Net, Dave took part on a recent panel to produce SHIFT + DEL! Do we need a massive reset?, in which experts discuss how, in the hospitality industry, future managers are going to want their software to behave more like WhatsApp or Snapchat - no training or massive configuration to be done. (Dave Berkus, SGV & WLA)

GetVisible Explains Specific Aspects of SEO

GetVisible's Always Thinking Blog offers a variety of posts to help us better understand specific aspects of SEO. For example, GV Explains Alt Tags explains that they refer to image-related coding with text that describes what is on the image and its function. GetVisible shares that Google has a built-in section titled "Use Descriptive Alt Text" as part of their ranking metrics. In fact, Google places an extremely high emphasis on alt text - its advanced algorithms not only determine what alt text is in place, but also analyzes how it relates to surrounding content.
Other "GV Explains" posts discuss: Page Loading Speed; Backlinks; Anchor Text; Google My Business Postings; HERO Sections; Advertising in Social Media; and Local SEO Rankings Services and Strategies. (Jason Ciment, WLA)

Half Past Nine on: Achieving Data Integrity

In Marketing Data Analytics: Can You Trust Your Source Of Truth?, Half Past Nine looks at some best practices to ensure that your marketing data has optimal integrity, to ultimately help turbocharge your business growth. Data integrity is the completeness, accuracy, and consistency of data over its lifecycle, and data hygiene refers to the process of 'cleaning up' data. (Ken Shen, WLA)

Intellect on: Building a Culture of Continuous Learning

In his recent blog post, Why a Culture of Continuous Learning Increases Quality, Intellect's Romeo Elias points to the 1993 book, The Fifth Discipline, known for popularizing the concept of a "learning organization." However, it was also criticized for being too abstract when it came to "team learning," failing to offer a framework for action. Romeo declares that, today, QMS methodologies provide that clear roadmap for fulfilling the vision of a learning organization.
And, in Fundamental Elements of a Quality Management System, Romeo addresses the building blocks upon which a strong quality program and a healthy culture of quality can be built. (Romeo Elias, WLA)

Optimum Info on: Improving Efficiency of Your Field Operations

Optimum Info has made a video recording of its recent webinar available on-demand: The road to improve the efficiency of your Field Operations. Given that the success of a manufacturing company's sales and after-sales strategies often rely on the Field Operations team's efficiency to carry out corporate initiatives to the franchise network, this 20-minute webinar discusses the importance of creating quality contact reports; how to facilitate the improvement of dealership operations; and how to manage all levels of field activity effectively. (Arvind Verma, OC)

PeopleG2 on: Holding Meetings People Love + New Book Available

On May 26, at 11 a.m. PT, PeopleG2 CEO Chris Dyer, and remote work pioneer Kim Shepherd, will present a webinar: Meetings People Love! How to Meet with Remote and Hybrid Work. Participants will learn how to: use brain tricks to help group communication; identify the do's and don'ts of great meeting types; curate meetings employees will want to attend; and more!
ALSO, get Chris and Kim's new book, Remote Work: Redesign Processes, Practices and Strategies to Engage a Remote Workforce, valuable whether your organization is fully remote, hybrid, or you're planning to have just a few remote employees.
Meanwhile, watch PeopleG2's recent webinar on-demand - Remote Work Expert Discussion: Back to Normal or Sliding Into Hybrid? and read Chris's article, Top 3 Reasons the Remote Work Trend Is Here to Stay. (Chris Dyer, SGV)

Alvaka Networks Provides Insight on 320% Spike in Ransonware Demands

Oli Thordarson, CEO of Alvaka Networks, adds his expert opinion to a recent article from Threatpost, "Ransomware Demands Spike 320%, Payments Rise." Oli notes "a tremendous increase in ransomware attacks that started during the pandemic and continue to occur daily," and that "paying a ransom should really be the last option on the table; it's all about weighing the risks and rewards. There have been countless cases we've seen where the victim pays the ransom and doesn't receive their data back . . . [Ransom payment] is not a decision that should be made easily and should be thoroughly discussed with professionals before doing so." (Oli Thordarson, ABL-Health OC)

Biospectal Chosen to Represent Switzerland at Mobile World Congress in June

Eliott Jones, CEO of Biospectal, has been named to the Venture Leaders Mobile 2021 team that will represent Switzerland at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Eliott is one of 10 team members, chosen by a jury of professional investors and mobile technology experts who reviewed nearly 100 applications. The team's roadshow will introduce Switzerland's most innovative mobile startups to international investors and telecom industry leaders at the Congress's startup fair, 4YFN. Venture Leaders Mobile is organized by Venturelab and supported by Huawei, Swisscom, and VISCHER. (Eliott Jones, ABL-Health SV)

Elemeno Health Wins 1st Place in JHF Healthcare Innovation and Safety Competition

Elemeno Health won first place in the JHF Healthcare Safety Challenge, awarded by Innovation Works and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. The competition attracted 125 submissions from 15 countries throughout the world, and awarded $25,000 to Elemeno for its customized, on-demand microlearning software solutions to today's crucial healthcare challenges. (Arup Roy-Burman, MD, ABL-Health OAK)

GeBBS Healthcare Addresses Coding Denials, Compliance Risk & Revenue Integrity

GeBBS Healthcare Solutions reports that denials are a leading source of revenue loss ($262 billion a year) and increased labor costs for healthcare organizations, and so offers The ABCs of Coding Denials: Avoidable, Burdensome, and Costly, its latest white paper with key points and best practices.
And, Mitigate Compliance Risk & Enhance Revenue Integrity explains how GeBBS' iCA technology and services work in conjunction with your EHR and coding platform to improve overall coding quality and compliance while providing the ability to access audited and scored records for education, review, and process improvements to achieve revenue goals. (Gabe Stein, ABL-Health LA)

King & Spalding Discusses Laws Regarding Medical Devices, Telemedicine

In FDA Reverses HHS Exemption of Class I and Class II Medical Devices from Section 510(k), King & Spalding (K&S) examines the FDA's recent action to reverse a last-minute Federal Register notice published by the outgoing Trump Administration which sought to exempt 90+ medical device types from premarket notification requirements.
And, in this video, K&S discusses state and international regulatory risks facing pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, while this video covers emerging trends in telemedicine and digital health. (Marcia Augsburger, JD, ABL-Health SF & Travis Jackson, JD)

LigoLab Offers Automated Real-Time Software Solution for Prior Authorization Requirements

LigoLab recently announced that its LIS & RCM platform supports an automated real-time solution that reduces the administrative burden that laboratories face when attempting to meet payer prior authorization requirements. The solution helps prevent denials, speeds up prior authorization approval, and closes a coverage gap that could otherwise put the patient at risk.
Also, CEO Suren Avunjian is quoted in a recent industry journal article - Automating denials management for lab reimbursement - which examines the increasing rate of claims denials at labs and health systems, such that managing denials has become an important part of an organization's revenue cycle workflow. (Suren Avunjian, ABL-Health LA )

MedWand Named One of 25 Healthcare Disruptors to Watch

Startups Geek has named 25 healthcare companies to watch - including MedWand - who are leading innovation in augmented reality. MedWand's handheld telemedicine physical exam device is noted for having won numerous awards, its affordability, portability, and wide range of diagnostic capabilities. (Bob Rose, ABL-Health OC )

Savi Group Urges Use of AI & Contactless Payments

In How AI Can Improve Medical Billing Processes, Savi Group suggests that by utilizing both human and artificial intelligence capabilities, healthcare providers can drastically improve their medical billing and coding operations while gleaning key insights to improve future performance.
And, in Why Healthcare Should Embrace Contactless Payments, Savi Group says it will be important for healthcare organizations to embrace new payment methods to satisfy the demands of an increasingly digitally-savvy patient population. (Sumit Mahendru, ABL-Health OC )

India's COVID Surge Likely to Impact Global IT and Call Center Availability

India's gigantic IT and call center service industry employs more than 4.5 million people directly and relies on huge numbers of graduates under the age of 30. New strains of the virus have since sent India's case numbers soaring to global records and brought more infections among younger Indians. All 15 of the large companies Reuters spoke to this week said that they now had vaccination [plans] in place. Several outlined COVID-19 "war-rooms" they had launched to support staff and secure oxygen and other supplies. (Reuters)
     Monday was the 12th straight day that more than 300,000 cases were registered. Deaths have also been rising at an alarming rate and the country's health care system has been stretched beyond breaking point. In order to keep their operations online, banks are shifting work to other countries, encouraging staff to work from home and extending project deadlines. Indian companies that provide services to Wall Street are taking additional steps to protect workers in cities such as Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad and Delhi, in some cases establishing Covid care centers for employees and their families. (CNN Business)
     Fortunately, COVID-19 vaccines that are available in the United States are effective against the deadly variant that was first detected in India last year, top US health officials said. The B.1.617 virus variant has been classified as a 'variant of concern' at the global level by the World Health Organization. (Economic Times)
     Coronavirus in India: TOTAL Cases: 25,496,330; Deaths: 283,248. In the past 24 hours: Cases: 267,334; Deaths: 4,529. (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/newsblogs/covid-india-cases-latest-daily-news-and-updates-may-19/liveblog/82757073.cms)

TikTok's Role in Creating the Next Workforce

TikTok, the most downloaded app of 2020, introduced a platform for people around the world to become content creators and engage with a global community. However, beyond being a social media platform, the video content app has also become a global learning and recruitment hub, offering a new way to attract the next-generation workforce. The hashtag #LearnOnTikTok has gained more than seven billion views, with users flocking to quick and engaging educational videos. TikTok has also been cultivating career-related videos, with interview tips, career advice, job openings, and even video-based resumes. Recently, TikTok announced that it's testing a tool that can connect companies and candidates, making it a go-to recruitment tool. (https://www.ces.tech/Articles/2021/May/TikTok%E2%80%99s-Role-in-Creating-the-Next-Workforce.aspx)

Global Chip Shortage Will Be Long-Lasting: Ramifications

Research firm Gartner reports that the global chip shortage isn't set to subside before well into 2022. Severe semiconductor shortages will persist throughout 2021, with recovery only starting towards the end of the year to reach normal levels from the second quarter of 2022 onwards, says Gartner. By that time, new manufacturing capacity will help ease the situation. Meanwhile, the time it takes to produce a chip could increase by six months, and even up to a year for more specific semiconductors. Key devices to be impacted will include power management chips, CMOS image and touch sensors, as well as fingerprint sensors and microcontrollers. (https://www.zdnet.com/article/the-global-chip-shortage-will-be-a-long-lasting-problem-heres-what-it-means-for-you-and-for-the-world/)

As Congress Dithers, States & Companies Step in to Set Rules for the Internet

Over the past six months, at least 38 states have introduced 100+ bills to protect people's data privacy, regulate speech policies, and encourage tech competition, according to a tally by The New York Times - a drastic escalation from past years. For online privacy alone, states proposed 27 bills in 2021, up from two in 2018. Only a handful of the bills have been signed into law, but the push signals that states are no longer content to sit on the sidelines of setting the rules for the internet - especially as Washington has moved slowly. (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/14/technology/state-privacy-internet-laws.html )
Meanwhile, the number of companies complaining about Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon has grown dramatically. Some have massive resources available, but other complaints are coming from small developers with fewer resources, or the leaders of companies whose business models seem outdated. They all claim, though, that the biggest companies are behaving like monopolies - squeezing them for unfair profits or squashing them when they dare to compete. And the business - and strategy - of making such a claim has become an industry all its own. (https://www.protocol.com/policy/antitrust-campaign)

Where to Learn the Top Programming Languages

The new normal of work will bring a lot of changes, but one enduring theme is going to be upskilling and learning new programming language tricks. ZDNet provides "a look at the top programming languages based on a sampling of surveys from RedMonk, Tiobe, and SlashData, and places where you can hone skills or acquire them new. Most of these courses are available for free or with a subscription." They include: JavaScript, Python, Java, PHP, C# and C++, CSS, and SQL. (https://www.zdnet.com/article/best-programming-language/)

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