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Synaptiq: 2021 Year-in-Review

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2021 Highlighted Persistent, Global Challenges; We Responded

Around the world, 2021 was a year of resilience and unity. The year’s challenges (and there were many) tested our resolve, but the solutions brought us closer together. From COVID-19 to climate change, we saw global systems bend under unimaginable pressure. But we also witnessed incredible displays of the human spirit. 2021 marked renewable energy’s best year to date, the largest vaccination campaign in history, record socially responsible spending, and a leap in the worldwide Social Progress Index.

At Synaptiq, 2021 was a year for reflection and change. Our mission brought us to the front lines of battles for health, sustainability, and equality. Our partners inspired us, and our projects moved us to action. Again and again, we found ourselves asking: How can we do more? How can we be better?

We will never be finished answering these questions. But we’re proud to unveil the first in many steps toward a maximally pro-human, pro-sustainability, and pro-global-advancement vision of our future: a complete rebrand to illustrate why we exist.

Synaptiq has always been committed to ethical artificial intelligence (AI). Our mission centers on growth and partnership—in and between organizations, people, and the AI that makes our work more effective, efficient, and enjoyable. We’ve quietly dedicated ourselves to these values since our founding in 2015. However, 2021 has shown us the importance of authenticity and transparency. This year, we watched fake news and algorithmic bias—scandals catalyzed by secrecy—undermine public trust in the technology sector. That’s why, going forward, we want you, everyone in our global network, to know exactly what we’re doing and why.

Ultimately, Synaptiq’s rebrand is an investment in our desire to clearly, genuinely, and loudly showcase our values. We have faith in our community. We want you to know who we are. We trust that you will support us for our strengths, and we welcome your criticism to show us where we can be better.

In the spirit of openness, this blog post will highlight some of Synaptiq’s most meaningful work in 2021. We will explore three projects that embody our values, our predictions for AI in 2022, and our ongoing plans for improvement.

We Accelerated Proactive, Personalized Healthcare

Global healthcare faces two challenges on the horizon: an aging population and a growing labor shortage. Expert projections suggest that, by 2050, one in four people in Europe and North America will be over 65. At the same time, the worldwide shortage of healthcare workers will grow to 9.9 million.

COVID-19 exposed under-funded, understaffed, and over-extended healthcare systems on every continent. We were not prepared for this pandemic. We must prepare for future health crises, and we will do so by leveraging technology to stretch our limited resources further than ever before.

This year, Synaptiq pioneered a solution to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI). According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, CLABSIs are associated with over 28,000 deaths each year and cost American healthcare systems over $2 billion annually. A single non-lethal CLABSI contributes approximately $46,000 to the average patient’s cost of care. It may also induce severe side effects: pain, fever, and in some cases, life-long harm to organ function, resulting in lower quality of life and shorter lifespan.

Synaptiq collaborated with Microsoft to develop a demo machine vision solution to detect unhygienic central-line conditions that could lead to CLABSIs. Our solution receives an image of a central line dressing, analyzes it for health risk, and sends the results to the patient’s care team.

Our solution could significantly reduce the number of lives lost to CLABSIs. Currently, we’re seeking hospitals to test a pilot model and, in the meantime, exploring other ways to help accelerate healthcare. For example, Synaptiq recently partnered with a supplements provider to create a solution that tailors next-generation, custom prescriptions to meet recipients’ unique health needs. We’re excited to explore how data-informed personalized medicine can improve patients’ health outcomes.

Read more about Synaptiq’s work in healthcare in our case studies.

Learn about AI in radiology and medical imaging from our blog.

We Helped in the Fight Against Climate Change and Extreme Weather

Weather-related supply-chain disruptions have impacted global industry at a growing rate and intensity over the last decade. Deloitte reports that 48 percent of executives have experienced adverse consequences from weather-related supply-chain disruptions in the past five years. Further, 53 percent report that these disruptions have grown more costly over the same period.

Unfortunately, research suggests that weather-related supply-chain disruptions will not only persist but intensify. In August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that extreme weather events, including heat waves and hurricanes, have and will continue to strengthen due to climate change. The question is not whether businesses will need to cope with extreme weather but how they will adapt to a world where extreme weather is more severe than ever before.

This year, Synaptiq partnered with a remote sensing startup to develop their solution for early wildfire detection. The solution receives input from a stratospheric (low-orbit) balloon equipped with heat-sensing equipment and alerts local fire departments when it detects conditions for a wildfire. 

Our work could help combat extreme weather-related fires, such as the heatwave-induced Oregon wildfires that burned 826,000 acres, incinerated 174 buildings, and set records for unhealthy air in 2021. As climate change continues, its consequences will intensify, and Synaptiq is dedicated to finding solutions. 

We Accelerated Digital Transformation in Under-digitized Industries

The use of AI-enabled applications such as “smart” databases and automated research has exploded in the legal industry over the past year. According to Legal Tech News, 2020-2021 marked record technology adoption by legal services providers, primarily out of necessity. The pandemic was a trial-by-fire that gave law firms an ultimatum: innovate or be left behind—and many rose to the challenge.

After 21 months of COVID-19, top law firms today are focused on “digital transformation”: the process of integrating digital technology into all areas of an organization. Digital transformation streamlines business processes and leverages under-utilized data. It can improve risk management, increase on-time project delivery, facilitate remote work (especially important during a pandemic), and more.

This year, Synaptiq continued its work with global immigration law firm Berry Appleman & Leiden, pushing the cutting edge of AI in legal services. Our most recent, groundbreaking project involved the construction of an innovative tool that leverages AI to automate a critical step in the immigration process. Our work resulted in a published paper presented at the 2021 IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM).

Also in the legal space, our Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist, Dr. Tim Oates, participated in cloud-based litigation software company Nextpoint’s 2021 On Point User Conference roundtable, moderated by legal technology journalist Robert Ambrogi: “The Future of Electronic Evidence and Technology," which was a lively discussion on the future of technology and the law.

Beyond legal, we found that executives in every data-intensive industrye.g., construction, utilities, logistics, and transportation—are eager to understand how AI technologies can solve their business challenges. As these conversations continue and new relationships develop, we look forward to helping them optimize their impact.

Interested in learning how AI impacts your industry? Check out our blog.

Our Team Looks Forward to 2022: Another Year with You

At Synaptiq, we’re optimistic about the future. This year, much of our work was preparing our partners and their clients for digital transformation. More and more, organizations are embracing ethical AI, making the world a healthier, greener, and overall better place to live. We’re honored to be a part of that journey.

We also worked on projects that made us smile—projects that proved, yes, AI can have a positive impact in truly any industry! We completed novel work in sports: leveraging AI to measure the surfaces of golf putting greens, authenticate collector baseball cards, and automate card-scoring for archery.  

However, 2021 was nonetheless a challenging year. And the fight isn’t over. The good news is, we are far from reaching the limits of what AI can achieve. The bad news is, we will need AI to accomplish a lot if we hope to prepare for the challenges ahead: snowballing climate change, COVID-19 variants, disrupted supply chains, and more. 

Our team is dedicated to facing these obstacles. We’ve already committed to meaningful work that will commence in early 2022, including projects applying AI to aircraft safety and the restoration of coral reefs.  

I want to extend a heartfelt thank-you to our families, friends, and clients, who have been the best partners we could have asked for this year. At times, it has been a wild ride, but our amazing team and inspiring clients have made this year an optimistic one. I am excited about the future and look forward to developing and launching more solutions powered by AI that have a long-term, positive impact on our world. 

Thank you for everything—cheers to a happy and healthy 2022 for you, your friends, and your loved ones.

Warmest Regards,

Stephen Sklarew

CEO, Synaptiq

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