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Assunta Krehl

SqueezePlay : May 5, 2009 : [05-05-09 5:00PM] - 0 views

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    BNN talks to Niall Wallace, CEO, Infonaut Inc. about their invention of mapping out infectious diseases. Brief mention about MaRS.
Assunta Krehl

reportonbusiness.com: THE COMPANY: INFONAUT INC.: Charting the right course through an ... - 0 views

  • Toronto, where a small firm is using 21st-century software to create maps with similar goals - the containment of disease - by showing infection patterns that can be understood at a glance.
  • Toronto, where a small firm is using 21st-century software to create maps with similar goals - the containment of disease - by showing infection patterns that can be understood at a glance.
  • There's nothing wrong with Infonaut using the H1N1 flu outbreak to gain exposure, as long as the company is careful in the tone it takes, said John Lute, president of Toronto communications firm Lute and Co.
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  • Infonaut Inc. chief executive officer Niall Wallace and his partner, chief operating officer Matt McPherson, both former IT consultants for the Ontario government, created the company after helping to craft some of the recommendations that resulted from the SARS outbreak of 2003. They understood the value of visually represented, real-time infection data, and left government to set up Infonaut to develop that technology.
  • Infonaut has created three software products that turn infection information into maps. All are being tested in pilot projects and will soon be marketed commercially.
  • One, called Infection Watch Live, is now taking data gathered at 14 hospital emergency rooms in eastern Ontario and using it to create publicly accessible maps that show exactly where in the region cases of influenza and gastrointestinal diseases are active.
  • This complex mapping can help monitor and stop the spread of C. difficile and other superbugs.
  • The third product, called Regional Watch Live, generates maps and reports for regional health professionals by merging lab test results with a range of other information.
  • INFONAUT INC
  • Make sure to present straightforward information about how the company's products might help mitigate an outbreak in the future, but do not exaggerate promises.

    Be upfront about the state of pilot tests, the timelines to get the software to market, and how much funding will be needed to go to full commercialization.

    Use respected third-party partners to endorse the products, a move that will give the company more credibility.

    If there are privacy concerns, spell them out and detail how they are being addressed.

  • Infonaut should ensure that its message is understated and that the company is not an "ambulance chaser," Mr. Lute said
  • But the company does need to give straightforward information about how its products might help mitigate an outbreak in the future, and not exaggerate its promises, she said.

    In particular, it needs to be upfront about the state of its pilot tests and include details of when full versions of its products will be available. It also must explain how much funding they will need to get there, Ms. Wilcox said.

  • With Infonaut, there seems to be no question that there is a public gain, he said. "If it is just an opportunistic attempt to cash in on the misfortune of others, that tends to play badly. Where a company has something that can be tied to the public interest, such as in this case ... it is very low-risk."
  • He suggests that Infonaut make good use of its pilot test partners, such as the counties in eastern Ontario that are testing the Infection Watch Live system.
  • the company should forestall any concerns over privacy issues by spelling out how it ensures data on individuals are kept confidential.
  • There's nothing wrong with using the current concerns over H1N1 flu to gain exposure, as long as Infonaut is careful about taking a calm and respectful tone to its marketing and publicity.
  • On the other hand, it will clearly create an opportunity if Infonaut can increase its profile, "which helps it to get its story out, which helps it to get investors, which helps it to grow.
  • The problem Build a market for a unique infection mapping system without appearing to exploit the flu outbreak The plan: Use a subtle approach and be upfront with the state of development of the software products The payoff: Higher awareness among potential customers and an expanded market
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    Using 21st-century Infonaut is using software to create maps - the containment of disease - by showing infection patterns that can be understood at a glance.
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