Tel Aviv, January 25, 2021: The IMPROVATE Innovation Conference, held online and in Tel Aviv last week, dealt with the day after the global crisis, with Israeli technology and innovation companies presenting solutions in the fields of tourism, MedTech and distance learning to European government officials and investors.
The conference was attended by former Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev; Israel’s Minister of Tourism, Orit Farkash Hacohen, and Greek Minister of Tourism Harry Theoharis; the Mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Leon and Deputy Mayor of Burgas, Ms. Vesna Baltina; Director of Tourism at the Jerusalem Development Authority Ilanit Melchior; Ministers, deputy ministers and ambassadors from Eastern European countries.
The conference was opened by IMPROVATE Founder and Chair, Irina Nevzlin, who said she was a big believer in win-win solutions: “When tech companies work effectively with governments, the citizens get the best possible results. IMPROVATE is a platform that brings together different parties to focus on solutions, and makes this win-win approach happen.”
At a panel dealing with the tourism industry in the post-coronavirus era, Israel’s Minister of Tourism Orit Farkash-Hacohen said that the greatest challenge posed by the coronavirus was how to create an open sky policy enabling people to come from abroad and tour Israel. “This challenge is technological, and this has to do with innovation. We need a viable way to see that various international certificates of vaccination and negative tests can be adopted rapidly to one standard that connects between different countries.” Greek Minister of Tourism Harry Theoharis said, “Solutions have to be around safety. we need to integrate touchless payments schemes ensuring you can have access without physical contact. Those are the kind of systems that are going to be needed.”
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, who is leading a strategic plan for the emergence of the city from the crisis ,and positioning it as a global tourist destination, said that Jerusalem has a rich history, but has also always been a center for new ideas: “During the coronavirus, tourism has plummeted as it has all over the world, but we are optimistic that as soon as the skies are opened again, tourists will flock to the city once more. We are using this period to develop various solutions and new attractions for visitors to the city.”
Eyal Haimovsky CEO Jerusalem Development Authority "The coronavirus is a global event that differs from the security events that Jerusalem has dealt with in the past. Overnight, the skies were closed and the global village fell silent. Many cities, Jerusalem, among them, are dependent on tourism as a source of revenue, and now is the time for us to show creativity".
In Jerusalem, we are taking advantage of every moment to upgrade tourist infrastructures so that they will be ready when tourism returns to normal.
I have no doubt that capital cities that accelerate their return to routine and encourage their economies to open will succeed in exiting the crisis faster and better. The experience we have accumulated here in Jerusalem in exiting previous crises has given us the ability to go from zero activity to a full return to normal within a short time. We have to work hand in hand with the tourism industry, to be attentive to its needs and to help it get back on track.
Our role is to be at the tourism industry’s side and to create growth engines for it, to help with marketing, to bring down barriers and to ease bureaucracy. We must let tourism professionals do their work, which they know how to do better than anyone else.
Jerusalem’s Director of Tourism Ilanit Melchior said Jerusalem and other destinations need to adopt a philosophy that is not about numbers of tourists but about the quality of the tourist experience . “We are working very hard to incorporate technology into the user experience interface of our tourists. Jerusalem has a great history but it also knows how to be innovative and adoptive.”
Max Simonovsky, founder and CEO of Soapy presented the experience technology behind CLEAN, the revolutionary, data-backed hand hygiene machine. Soapy was recognized as one of Top 5 disinfection and hand hygiene technologies in 2020 and received global awards. “We have systems that are incorporated in schools, in office buildings, health care centers, nursing homes and so on. We have seen great results with a trendline of improvement of hundreds of percent in hand hygiene in all of the environments in which we work.”
At a panel on medical innovation and technologies, former Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev said Eastern Europe was planning to inoculate 70% of the population of the region by June. Zoya Paunova CEO AstraZeneca Bulgaria said there was a major lesson to be learned from Israel’s innovation ecosystem: “Do not innovate for yourself, innovate for the world and then the world will come and invest in you.”
Several Israeli companies presented advanced medical technologies for new and life-saving treatments in a diverse range of fields.
Amir London, CEO of the international biopharmaceuticals company Kamada showed how treatment with Kamada's FDA-approved COVID-19 antibodies (IgG) produced from convalescent plasma may help hospitalized coronavirus patients. “We were the first company in the world to develop this type of product and we have completed clinical trials with very promising results and following a supply agreement with the Ministry of Health that product is now available in Israel under the Ministry’s treatment protocol.”
Zebra Medical Vision, a global leader in AI-based automated medical imaging diagnosis (and the first to receive FDA approval in the field) presented its use of AI technology for early detection of chronic disease in large populations without any additional burden on physicians or patients. Adi Jacobson, VP Marketing at Zebra Medical Vision said: “Zebra Medical empowers radiologists through its revolutionary AI1 technology, helping them with the ever-increasing burden of medical images.”
Ayala Bliah, CEO of Sivan, described how Moovcare as a medical application works to improve cancer patient’s longevity and helps oncologists better manage medical visits and priorities. “Moovcare is a unique digital therapeutic that anticipates relapses of cancer and enables doctors to treat relapses earlier and better. Moovcare is a major innovation and has been approved for reimbursement in France, out of the realization that it improves the quality of life for patients.”
Ilan Cohen, Chairman of the Board & Ron Nagar CEO of TempraMed Israel, which provides temperature control systems for last-mile users of injectables, discussed the transition to home care and its implications on cold supply chain and user compliance. “One thing that COVID has taught us is that not just vaccines but many other pharmaceuticals are temperature sensitive. Our FDA approved products provide solutions for the patients that use those pharmaceuticals on a day-to-day basis to maintain required temperature control over time.”
Guy Halpern, VP Products & Clinical Research at Inovytec Medical Solutions described how the company manufactures practical and easy-to-operate technology for cardiac and airway emergencies. “Our vision is to improve patient outcome by providing cutting-edge solution to empower people to save lives.”
Dvir Dahary, co-founder & chief scientist of Geneyx spoke about how the company analyzes clinical genetics data for better Predictive, Preventive, and Precision, Personalized medicine. “We provide hospitals around the world with a data lake for genetic and clinical data, which is a goldmine for the research industry.”
Shani Toledano, CEO & Gabi Polliack, CMO of HT BioImaging, a medical imaging company, presented their solution as the first heat diffusion imaging tool for cancer classification and diagnosis at the point of care and operating room. “We’ve invented a new imaging modality based on the analysis of heat diffusion that provides a whole new layer of information which hasn’t been clinically available until today.”
Speaking about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on Eastern Europe, President Rosen Plevneliev said the aftermath of the crisis presented huge opportunities for Israeli companies in the region as it updated its health care systems. “Some of the products we have seen today are truly unique. Come to our region, we will open doors. A lot of money will be invested in coming years to improve healthcare systems. There is European money available as well as government money available. We need to bring you to the market, and you can do good business here.”
At a panel on education technologies and the effects of distance learning during the coronavirus lockdowns, Bulgaria’s Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Ms. Karina Angelieva, said the crisis was accelerating the adoption of technologies and digitalization in education.
Educator and education researcher Alexander Schneider of Daata Etech Lab presented an educational system for group thinking and learning developed and produced by the company. “We would like our students to be computer oriented and to work with all sorts of systems that might be developed in the future, but most importantly, we want them to be emotionally oriented, to know how to work with others, to understand feelings, to know how to communicate. know how to work with other people no matter where they are from.”
IMPROVATE CEO Ronit Hassin Hochman: "Israeli innovation is renowned the world over. After each of our conferences, we receive inquiries from countries that want to be exposed to Israeli technologies. The coronavirus crisis has accelerated the desire of governments to adopt innovative technologies and IMPROVATE is in contact with governments to promote Israeli companies.”