Nobody is quite sure when Britain might go ‘back to work’ – but it’s clear that companies are going to have to play a bigger role than they might ever anticipated in ensuring that their offices are pandemic-proofed.
One American firm, Everbridge, is trying to get a jump on the market with a new product launching in Europe this week: a single platform that, in theory, will allow companies to ensure their offices remain open (and their businesses functioning) during the return to work and in the case of a second spike.
Everything from information on government twitter accounts to local media reports sits on the platform and identifies those areas, and individuals, at risk; a report of an infected person, then, would set a chain of events in motion that ends with a text message to potentially affected staff with instructions to stay home or self-isolate.
Javier Colado, the firm’s Head of International Markets, tells City A.M. from Madrid that he thinks it’s the sort of product that will fly off the shelves in these uncomfortable times.
“If you don’t have a system in place like this, it makes it more difficult for you to go back to work now, and go back to normal. There’s no way you can track what is happening in different locations. It makes it more difficult. So companies are realising why they need a solution like this,” he tells us.
The product has already been rolled out in the states and he expects plenty of interest in Europe, too, citing terror attacks in London and French strikes as examples of business disruption.
The firm itself was born out of the ultimate disruptor – the 9/11 attacks. “The company’s founders were looking for something that says OK, if another thing like this happens again, we should be able to communicate to other people that might be in the infected area.”
In the beginning the product was essentially a “mass communication system.”
“If something happened they could react and send a message to the people in that specific area. Over the years what we’ve been doing is to add more and more applications to come out with what we see today,” says Colado of the firm’s journey over the past twenty years.
Text messages are still at the heart of the firm’s offering, but in a new world of awareness about data privacy, it’s no surprise that such a platform raises some ‘Big Brother-esque’ concerns.
The firm is keen to emphasise that their platform is secure.
“The data is really owned by the company.”
Evidently large outfits are convinced. Everbridge has been used by governments over the past few months, from Norway to New Zealand, but Colado believes the key market is large corporates.
“Usually the type of profile of companies that tend to use critical event management are the global 2000, the big big corporation, with people in many countries across the world.”
The Covid-19 platform has already landed well on Wall Street, and there’s reason to believe similar will happen in Europe.
The sheer scale of the disruption caused by a global pandemic, and the ongoing lockdown restrictions across the world, has made the value of information never more obvious – especially for firms caught short at the beginning of the outbreak, with supply chain disruptions still affecting them today.
Everbridge will launch their European platform in a webinar on Wednesday 17th June