CFC Media Lab IDEABOOST businesses pivot to offer enhanced value and critical support during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted: May 5, 2020

CFC Media Lab IDEABOOST businesses pivot to offer enhanced value and critical support during COVID-19 pandemic

Toronto, Ontario, May 5, 2020 – The Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) holds steadfast in its commitment to supporting hundreds of emerging and established Canadian digital content creators, media practitioners and business entrepreneurs by providing resources, webinars, tools and virtual programming to help companies navigate the global COVID-19 pandemic and respond to evolving marketplaces.

While many businesses are pivoting and redefining their mandate in order to offer enhanced value or critical support, three CFC Media Lab IDEABOOST Network Connect businesses have been a driving force, working alongside frontline workers and essential businesses in delivering accountable real-time content reporting, crisis alerts and data analysis, all of which are changing lives and contributing to shaping provincial and national policy.

SAM is a global disruption monitoring platform that delivers alerts and situational awareness through the lens of the most valuable real-time data source – social media. Through artificial intelligence, SAM analyzes, detects and delivers relevant information to help users make informed decisions with increased speed and accuracy in order to keep people safe when it matters most.

Today, SAM is helping the world’s largest social, tech, public and aviation sector clients stay one step ahead of the pandemic with crisis alerts that notify of new and emerging developments, such as lockdowns, closures, evacuations and unexpected risks related to COVID-19 on an extremely granular level.

“COVID-19 is a real-world example of how we help clients, not only manage the pandemic but also support their business operations in the eye of the storm while monitoring subsequent crisis events,” said James Neufeld, CEO and Founder, SAM. “Due to the nature of our business, we were able to step in quickly to provide timely analysis and crisis reporting for essential businesses and frontline workers. Furthermore, we have been able to drive value in assisting clients with monitoring day-to-day natural disasters, severe weather occurrences and other emergencies that do not take pause amid such a crisis. This has enabled them to focus on the pandemic and what matters most.”

The Discourse adapted its community-powered journalism model to ensure that the stories of people most impacted by COVID-19 are being heard and influencing government decisions. For example, it launched a digital platform to collect stories from impacted small business owners. Despite the fact that small- and medium-sized businesses create seven in 10 jobs in Canada, they are not as well-represented as large corporations that benefit from lobbying and public relations resources. In less than six weeks, collected stories from more than 40,000 small businesses, creating a real-time, open-source dataset of stories and contacts that is being used by dozens of news media from The Globe and Mail to Postmedia and CTV. The insights generated have also helped government officials design economic emergency policy to serve a business type not previously well-understood. data was used to design federal emergency aid, including the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canadian Emergency Business Account loan and the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance programs.

Today, The Discourse launched a new community-powered journalism outlet, in partnership with Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), which further expands its community listening model to ensure local Indigenous communities are being heard at this critical moment.

“There is an immense opportunity right now to adapt business models to create value in these new economic circumstances,” said Erin Millar, Founder and CEO, The Discourse. “Because my team was clear on the unique value of our collaborative, community-listening model of journalism, we were able to rapidly create a new community of people who urgently needed to be heard. The huge growth of the ‘Save Small Business’ community and its policy impact is a testament to the power of community-powered storytelling.”

CREAM DIGITAL is an elite interactive digital media team that works to bring real human performance to digital characters through their Dynamic Digital Human (DDH) technology, in both traditional and emerging mediums. It is a recognized leader in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and extended reality (XR) production, delivering distinctive and top-rated content to television and digital platforms around the world.

Recently, in response to pausing production as a result of COVID-19, they discovered new remote production techniques that modified their digital human technology in order to continue to produce VR content. They also developed an innovative remote VR production framework that is aiding in the creation of VR training demonstrations. This could alter how we educate and train medical teams, with the potential to support global frontline medical workers as they battle COVID-19.

“As we took a pause from production in response to the pandemic, we embarked on a new journey that enabled us to shape new methodology to support remote 3D digital production and also to develop a novel virtual training model for medical teams,” said Andrew MacDonald, Executive Producer and Creative Director, Cream Digital. “This innovative tool could provide medical teams with critical hands-on frontline training as they learn COVID-19 test procedures or assist in real-time patient care. None of this would exist today without a strategic pause.”

CFC Media Lab’s Community Highlights profiles many other companies within the network that are gaining traction while providing much-needed assistance during this time.

CFC Media Lab has shifted its content delivery model during this unprecedented time; all programs and business and community resources are available online.

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About CFC Media Lab
The Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) is an internationally acclaimed production think tank, training institute and business accelerator that supports hundreds of emerging digital content creators, practitioners, entrepreneurs and companies. It offers programs and initiatives that provide visionary leadership and extensive expertise in strategy, product, business, finance, and ethics needed by Canadians involved in the digital revolution, including an innovative suite of programs focused on intersectional feminist business practices.

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For more information, contact:

Cory Angeletti-Szasz
Manager, Communications, CFC
Mobile: 647.273.2795

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