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As part of business planning to cope with the corona virus pandemic in rapid growth mode we are sharing some insights gained by building and playing with an SIR (Susceptible Infected Recovered) model.

SIR is a simple but powerful epidemiological tool.  It can be used to model the spread of social networks as well as epidemics.  Sophisticated SIR models are being used by governments to estimate the scale of people requiring various types of medical care.  These models have been around since the 1920s and divide people into 3 categories:

  1. Susceptible to the disease. May become…
  2. Infected – able to transmit the disease until they join the…
  3. Recovered – immune to the disease.

In Europe governments are asking people to work from home to keep the transmission rate as low as possible. This slows growth of numbers of infected people. By writing and playing with our own simple SIR model we can gained a couple of important insights. Firstly the number of people that will eventually be impacted by the pandemic is enormous. Second, the effects of the pandemic may last for a long time – several months not just a few weeks.

Vivent is already very experienced at remote working but experimenting with these models showed that as a business we will need to rely nearly exclusively on remote working for several months.

For our internal processes this is not a problem and will lead to better tools for our clients. We’ve already improved video and audio conferencing, we’ve made plans to cover for key staff if they are unavailable, we are looking at ways to continue serving clients using postal services and couriers, videos for demonstrations and training, and improved instruction manuals. We still have lots of work to do but we are thinking medium term rather than short term whilst putting in place these enhancements to our services. We may even be implementing “Corona coffee meetings” just to stay in close contact with our employees during this time of uncertainty.

We are in close contact with our key suppliers and so far most say they will be able to meet our requirements with some delays. Fingers crossed this continues.

But we have recently started a fund raising round and we know it will be difficult for investors to follow their normal due diligence processes when it is impossible to visit our clients, see demonstrations in person or meet face to face. We can only hope that venture capitalists are able to find innovative solutions to completing effective due diligence at this time.

If you haven’t had a look at an SIR model there are plenty on line to play with. Here’s a link to one of them…  Hans Ness SIR Model. http://www.public.asu.edu/~hnesse/classes/sir.html?Alpha=0.023&Beta=0.01&initialS=24

We’ve also been thinking about applying SIR models to transmission of crop diseases to see what we can learn. We will write more on this shortly. In the meantime we hope everyone stay healthy.

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