The judges selecting winners for this year’s Channel Innovation Awards had a difficult time selecting a single Innovator of the Year.
Solution providers throughout 2020 helped lift customers across multiple industries out of uncertainty and turned them into future-ready organizations. Judges determined nowhere was this more evident than in these three examples.
When COVID-19 hit, demand for food increased exponentially. Non-profit Second Harvest was faced with the challenge of expanding its food recovery and redistribution program nationwide.
Its Food Rescue App worked well when it launched in Ontario and B.C a couple of years ago. But the platform was not robust enough to expand nationally. Non-profits generally have a hard time acquiring new technology, and this type of rapid capacity upgrade is rare, says RedBit president and founder Mark Arteaga.
“What we did with the system is we decoupled it from one large monolithic server,” he explained.
RedBit, a Microsoft Gold partner with multiple Azure architects, such as Arteaga, noticed Second Harvest was already entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem. It was a good place to start. With some fine tuning, RedBit helped Second Harvest’s various systems run only when they had, reducing stress on the IT infrastructure and increasing its capabilities.
“That allows us to send out 300 emails at a time to agencies within the GTA area,” he explained. This type of mass outreach is necessary when donations are needed.
Hazel van der Werken, head of operations and customer success, RedBit, said the team turned what was supposed to be a three-year plan into a success story overnight.
Our second Innovator of the Year worked wonders in the commercial space. Loewen Windows partnered with Clear Concepts to keep over 500 manufacturing employees safe through digital transformation.
The creation of visitor checkpoints, accessed through smartphones, allows Loewen’s workers to receive warnings and prevent others from entering a Loewen facility after identifying a possible Covid-19 symptom.
More recent engagements have evolved into other examples of automation. Concord Projects, one of Manitoba’s foremost commercial builders, relied on Clear Concepts to create a serviceable check-in solution for tradespeople spanning multiple active construction sites.
A smart hospital in Vaughan, Ontario is the centrepiece project for our third co-innovator of the year award winner.
Over the last four years, Compugen worked together with Mackenzie Health and PCL Construction to plan and build a flexible technology infrastructure that would lead to the eventual creation of Canada’s first smart hospital.
The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital has more than 6,500 sensors to securely track patient movement, 700 securely connected iPhones enabling real-time patient notifications, and thousands of edge devices capturing patient data.
The smart hospital officially opened in February of this year.
“The hospital has opened and is now an overflow COVID relief site as opposed to a fully operational hospital. The emergency, for example, is still closed. They’re not admitting patients that way. They’re supporting all the pressure on the healthcare system in Ontario right now,” said Marty Grosh, VP of services at Compugen, adding the solution provider is now in charge of operating the hospital and its IT infrastructure.