Canadian tech companies answering call for products, services to fight coronavirus

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TORONTO — Michael Hartley was overseeing the health, safety and environmental risks for a 6,200-person offshore oil project in the Caspian Sea when the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 workers on board and releasing million litres of oil in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

“Our installation manager came to me and said, ‘could this eventually happen to us?”’ Hartley recalled.

“With the data that we were capturing, I couldn’t definitively say no and that’s when I realized that we needed to change the way we measure and engage with risk and performance data.”

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That experience has been in the back of Hartley’s mind as COVID-19 has spread around the globe and as his company, Minetell Technologies, has pivoted to help companies monitor their risk of exposure to the virus.

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The shift places the Toronto-based company in a growing group of Canadian tech companies that are thinking fast and pushing out new products and services in response to demand for help in the COVID-19 fight.

Some are tackling the immediate need for health-care communication systems, life-saving devices like ventilators and speedy virus testing equipment.

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