By Samuel Mueller, Scandit CEO and co-founder
COVID-19 is one of the toughest challenges the world has faced, certainly in my lifetime. Globally, we are witnessing a period of extreme adversity which calls for everybody to pull together and take determined action – channeling expertise in ways that can make a collective difference to the safety and welfare of people. This philosophy is fundamental to the way Scandit is responding to COVID-19.
Scandit’s Response to COVID-19 and a Pledge to Help Businesses Adapt Quickly
Following the outbreak of the coronavirus earlier in the year, we established a COVID-19 response team. Their task has been to prioritize safe working practices for our staff and to ensure business continuity, so we can focus as much of our effort as possible on helping the industries most affected by the pandemic – while continuing to service our global customer base with first-class support to ensure that their Scandit-enabled critical business processes continue to operate seamlessly.
We’ve been exploring the best ways to use our people’s talent and computer vision technology to help businesses adapt to new working practices. This is of particular value to healthcare specialists, logistic companies and retailers who need to keep their employees and customers safe, while coping with the surge in demand for testing, hospital provision, vital equipment and food supplies.
Against this objective, we have three clear priorities:
- Protecting our people and ensuring their safety so they can look after the needs of our customers.
- Applying our computer vision technology to help address the unique challenges arising in the
- Supporting customers to adapt to the new business world with the agility to scale up operations rapidly and introduce contactless ways of working.
1. Taking care of our people to take care of our customers
The safety and wellbeing of our people is clearly a top priority. That’s why we took decisive action following the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure our global team is fully enabled and equipped with the necessary technology to work from home. All our offices are closed, including Boston, London, San Francisco, Tampere, Warsaw and Zurich until further notice.
Although we are operating in a very different world right now, we remain 100% committed to supporting the computer vision solutions already powering many of our leading customer businesses across retail, transportation and logistics, manufacturing and healthcare.
We have robust systems and processes in place to preserve business continuity for customer applications wherever needed. Operational support, provided by our global team, will continue at the same uncompromising level and standard.
2. Doing our part in helping address the COVID-19 crisis
Computer vision can make a huge difference in many ways. This is why we have put extra time and resources to quickly develop and launch several free-of-charge solutions that can ease the burden of COVID-19 pressures – from supporting healthcare testing and patient tracking to enabling logistic companies and e-commerce retailers with contactless proof of delivery. Here is more detail about ways we are helping:
Faster and Safer Data Capture for COVID-19 Testing
No area is more impacted than healthcare with the urgent need for COVID-19 testing. Testing has been a major issue across a number of countries. In response, we’ve created a free Healthcare Mobile Scanning App, ready for immediate deployment, to capture patient ID and clinical specimen data, quickly, easily and more safely.
Used on a medic’s own smartphone, healthcare providers can scale contactless field-testing capability to drive throughs and field offices – improving speed, accuracy and safety. They simply download the app on their smart device, scan patient ID documents and specimen tubes and export the data automatically without the need for physical contact. No integration or set-up is needed for this HIPPA-compliant app.
Deliveries Signed For Safely at a Distance
The explosion in e-commerce has driven an urgent need for safer goods deliveries and pick-ups. In Italy alone, online sales in March 2020 increased by 90% compared to the same period last year. Keeping retail and delivery companies’ employees and customers safe is a super-critical priority.
In response, our product team has developed a Contactless Proof of Delivery Web App to help with social distancing for customers and delivery drivers.
The web app, ready for use now and freely available until the end of September 2020, enables people to sign and confirm the receipt of goods using their own devices. There is no need to touch the delivery driver’s or store employee’s device.
3. Helping customers to adapt quickly to a new business environment
As the coronavirus pandemic has gathered momentum, organizations are having to rethink and adapt working practices to respond quickly to extreme trading and operational patterns. We are seeing an unprecedented hike in demand for solutions that address two critical areas: Enabling a safer and contactless experience for employees and consumers, and the need to quickly scale home deliveries and BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in store) operations.
Enabling a Safer, Contactless Experience
People no longer want to touch a shared device or screen whether in hospital, in a supermarket or on their doorstep. Computer vision is a technology that can both scale operations and help keep citizens, employees and customers safe by enabling contactless ways of working.
Because it can be deployed on company-owned or personal smartphones, with no need to share, people can easily be equipped with a personal enterprise-grade scanning solution, to carry out vital tasks without touching potentially contaminated surfaces.
A BYOD (bring your own device) approach, where people use their own devices, is an easily accessible and low-cost way of giving everyone a mobile scanning-enabled app for their personal use, eliminating the need for them to touch anybody else’s device.
Our contactless proof-of-delivery solution mentioned earlier is a third example that is addressing the needs of affected organizations. Nordics logistics and transportation giant, DB Schenker responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by broadening their use of mobile scanning from terminal sorting to doorstep delivery. Dastan Namousi, Demand & eServices Manager explains their rationale as follows:
“We needed a way to ensure the safety of our drivers and consignors who were not comfortable with signing for shipments on our handheld devices. We needed a fast and simple solution for customers to sign for shipments on their own mobile devices.”
Scaling-up Operations to Meet COVID-19 Demand
We are helping our customers address rising demand for goods and deliveries by quickly scaling operations to fulfil capacity. The need for temporary workers in areas like retail and logistics has skyrocketed and the ability to onboard them at speed is both challenging and time-consuming.
Because Scandit’s high-performance scanning is integrated easily into mobile apps running on everyday smartphones, temporary staff can be set to work immediately using either their own device (BYOD) or a company-owned, personally-enabled device (COPE). To help deal with the huge spikes in demand brought on by COVID-19, we’re offering extra support to enable businesses to quickly deploy cost-effective solutions.
Our smartphone scanning runs on over 20,000 different mobile model types and we have supported many successful BYOD deployments with our best practice guidance. There’s no need to invest in expensive dedicated hardware or training as Scandit-powered apps are intuitive and easy-to-use.
As a business and responsible global citizen, we are committed to helping customers adapt to a new world of working, now and beyond COVID-19. Computer vision has a vital role and with the support and talent of Scandit’s people, we are motivated and positioned positively to play our part.