NEW YORK, Dec. 15, 2020
NEW YORK, Dec. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The COVID-19 pandemic has reached a benchmark in the United States, topping 15 million cases as the death count exceeds 285,000. The pandemic has transformed the world in many ways, including bringing digital technologies to the forefront of a socially distanced world. In this space, Loop Insights Inc. (TSX.V: MTRX) (OTCQB: RACMF) (Profile) recently made history as the first-ever, end-to-end venue-tracing and management solution. A provider of contactless solutions and artificial intelligence aimed at driving automated marketing, venue management and tracing to the brick-and-mortar space, Loop gained national attention for its "bubble," which allowed NCAA basketball to play on in Nevada and Florida. Pairing Loop Insights' venue-tracing platform with revised safety protocol allowed games to be played at multiple venues without a single case of COVID-19 reported. Loop Insights, which calls ecommerce juggernaut Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) an investor and partner, joins majors such as The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), one of the world's largest producers of entertainment; Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), the parent company of tech behemoth Google; and cruise ship operator Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) in the fight to get the economy back safely operating at full capacity while protecting guests, entertainers, and employees at the same time.
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Bubble Becomes Everyday Vernacular
Being put "in a bubble" used to be a phrase reserved for people living in the most serious of situation. Today, it is an everyday term and, in fact, a point of focus as companies consider "travel bubbles," "work bubbles," "sporting bubbles," etc.
At first thought to be an unrealistic and costly approach, the NBA proved the bubble to be an extremely efficient strategy to complete its 2020 season. Relying on the bubble, the association was able to salvage $1.5 billion in revenue that would have been lost if the season has been canceled. After losing nearly $1 billion by scrapping the popular March Madness tournament this year, the NCAA is looking to avoid a repeat.
Safeguarding All Involved
The NCAA has conclusive evidence that a bubble is effective after recently turning to Loop Insights Inc. (TSX.V: MTRX) (OTCQB: RACMF) and its turnkey venue-tracing solution. The organization executed not one but two bubbles to safeguard all involved in basketball games held during 10 days in Nevada (#VegasBubble) and Florida (#BeachBubble).
The Loop system, consisting of all the requisite hardware, software, rapid mobile testing and integrated lab results, simply requires users to register and receive a wallet pass on their mobile phones and then tap in at supplied contactless devices, with location-based beacons, GPS and Internet of Things (IoT) technology taking it from there. The system is infinitely scalable and has demonstrated high adoption rates compared to other apps because it doesn't require users to use any additional hardware or software. The system utilizes a user's mobile wallet, which is already integrated into their mobile device. Loop uses this same near-field communication (NFC) technology backed by Apple and Google.
All collected data is de-identified and securely stored in Loop's data portal where its artificial intelligence (AI) technology displays detailed venue insights such as movements, active users, occupancy levels, promotions and more. Loop' s real-time messaging, keep users up-to-date on critical information, including which individuals are at risk or in need of a COVID-19 rapid test.
The Whole World Was Watching
The entertainment business has been decimated by COVID-19. Going forward, teams, schools, leagues and ancillary businesses that depend on sports simply cannot afford to see seasons canceled. Loop partnered with bdG Sports, one of the nation's leading content providers in college basketball programming, and worked closely with the NCAA and host sites to ensure best practices under new health and safety protocols.
As it happened, the #BeachBubble implementation represented the first-ever, end-to-end COVID-19 venue solution in a live environment. Given the pent-up demand for live events, a new standard to open doors again will be widely cheered. This complete and ready-to-deploy solution has garnered greater attention as a result of Loop's bubble success.
To that point, the whole world was watching to see how Loop's technology would perform when challenged to protect players and staff for a barrage of men's and women's Division I games being played at MGM Grand Garden Arena, Mandalay Bay Events Center and T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas along with games at Hertz Arena and Alico Arena (FGCU), as well as lodging at the Hyatt Regency in Fort Meyers, Florida. The technology did not disappoint.
With 100% success, the empirical data showcased the thoroughness of the system. In the words of Loop, "[We] hit it out of the park" and demonstrated the bubble solution "is nothing short of world-class." First to market and armed with these successes, Loop management says it is already engaged in negotiations to re-open major sporting events from North America to Australia in 2021.
Moreover, Loop's system did not suffer any outages, and user experiences proved to be as seamless as anticipated. The #BeachBubble alone over seven days consisted of:
"Loop's venue bubble platform has provided us with the peace of mind to move forward with our return-to-play efforts in college basketball safely," said bdG Sports CEO Brooks Downing. In addition to safety and providing an aggregated report on activity via the Insights platform, companies obtain a competitive marketing edge because the data drives Loop's Engage platform to generate real-time targeted promotions to event attendees.
Not only did Loop enable the NCAA bubbles to happen, the company provided new revenue streams to sponsors. Integrating highly targeted promotions into Loop's venue-tracing wallet pass allowed event sponsors to offer personalized promotions to the event attendees.
This innovative technology could mean the return of live sports, conventions, concerts and festivals. Loop recently partnered with SimpliFlying, noting that discussions about possible uses have "significantly advanced" to offer fully integrated rapid testing, tracing and notifications.
Contact Tracing Moving Mainstream
The debate about the safety of the vaccine combined with people's willingness to participate in the vaccine means that contact tracing and other efforts to keep businesses open is becoming mainstream.
The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) is taking a leadership role regarding tracing technology. Between owning ESPN and hosting more than 157 million people at its theme parks annually, the company has been stung by COVID-19 shutdowns and has good reason to leverage technology wherever available. When it comes to sports, it was Walt Disney World in Florida that was home to the isolation zone, or the Disney Bubble as it was affectionately dubbed, to complete the 2019–2020 NBA season that had been suspended in March due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) rightfully has a place at the contact tracing table, with its Google unit as the largest data aggregator in the world. Google has been working vigilantly with tech peer Apple to get a co-developed contact tracing app on mobile devices throughout the United States. Challenged by Americans somewhat unwilling to install the app, the company took a big step forward in December when California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide launch of the app.
Carnival Corp.'s (NYSE: CCL) hospitality business has been deeply hampered by COVID-19 throughout 2020, even canceling cruises scheduled to set sail early in 2021. With its ships docked, Carnival was reportedly burning through about $200 million per month, clearly qualifying it as a company desperate to see the economy re-open and the CDC no-sail order lifted. Carnival has worked with the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) to establish safety protocols, including all patients being rapid tested prior to embarkation, in preparation for its ships to had to top tourism destinations again.
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is the world's largest e-commerce data company. Akin to the manner in which it dominates online retail sales, its Amazon Web Services unit is the 700-pound gorilla in the cloud infrastructure market, owning a 45% share in 2019. During the third quarter, AWS generated $11.6 billion in revenue as it benefited from demand for "stay-at-home" companies that use its platform, such as Zoom. AWS plays a critical role in contact tracing as well, helping governments and organizations track the virus and providing services for companies to scale up tools used to investigate and confirm cases of COVID-19.
Certainly, there's reason to feel optimistic about the end of the pandemic coming sometime in 2021. But even if the crisis can be quelled by the end of June, the world is looking at another six to seven months of focused concentration on staying safe. In addition, the technology and protocols established during the past year will likely have widespread application in broad applications moving forward.
For more information about Loop Insights, please visit Loop Insights Inc. (TSX.V: MTRX) (OTCQB: RACMF).
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