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Weekend edition November 05, 2021 | Kailyn Lamb

Evolving technology at the forefront of KTech Summit

By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA

Earlier this week, the “KTech PULSE Technology Summit” event highlighted recent innovations that local, established businesses have made, as well as resources and programs for entrepreneurs. The event was hosted both in-person and virtually by the Knoxville Technology Council.

The in-person portion of the event included networking and was hosted at the headquarters of Jewelry TV (JTV). The Council’s Vice President and Co-Founder Brandon Bruce emceed the Summit, which started with a handful of videos on various resources in Knoxville such as “Innovation Crossroads,” Spark Innovation Center, Techstars, and the “Made for Knoxville” program from the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC).

In addition to these programs, representatives from Council member companies gave updates on their business in a “Technology Showcase.”

Matt Kittrell, Director of Consulting Delivery at CGI, opened by saying the program was evidence as to why CGI would open an office in Knoxville. Learn more about that in this article.

Kittrell said it is the mission of CGI to give back to communities it resides in. One way is through the STEM at CGI program, which facilitates STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education programming to underserved youth. Through this initiative, CGI has established partnerships with KEC, the Innov865 Alliance, Knox County Public Schools, Pellissippi State Community College, and the University of Tennessee.

“We’re deepening our partnership by investing in these programs by providing curriculum content, by providing capstone project opportunities, by placing CGI leaders, curriculum advisories, and by participating in some of the University’s world class forums,” Kittrell said.

Michael Jenkins, Director of Digital Technology at Clayton Homes, talked about how housing will be the next buying market to go digital. In preparation for that boom, Clayton Homes created the “Home Designer” program that helps people customize homes online that they want to buy.

“Our industry is an older industry. The opportunity to digitize was laid out before us,” Jenkins said. “We see the buying trends increase from what people are comfortable buying online.”

The program launches next week with a few of Clayton’s home designs and allows people to visualize options and see the prices online. Jenkins said that this is all customer-facing, but behind the scenes it’s the “digital transformation” of Clayton Homes. All facets of the company need to be linked to the digital platform in order for a seamless experience.

They are hoping to expand the “Home Designer” program to the company’s entire fleet of home designs in the next few years.

After Clayton Homes, Chris Meystrik, JTV’s Chief Technology Officer, took the stage to talk about “Jedora.” JTV has been working on the new brand and marketplace for the last few years. Customers can buy and sell jewelry, watches, and gemstones through the new platform.

“To invent a new marketplace where we’re inviting sellers to collaborate with customers to sell jewelry all on a platform that’s socially integrated, vertically integrated with all of our sellers, it’s been very exciting,” Meystrik said.

Although JTV already has several pieces of technology it uses to sell jewelry to start with, Meystrik said building a new marketplace platform was a new challenge. He added that the company wanted to target a new demographic of jewelry buyers for JTV.

One feature JTV had to build for the platform was how to allow sellers to ship items from their own home rather than having JTV hold it as inventory. The hardest buildout was allowing sellers to build their own stores on the platform. Meystrik said JTV had more than 100 sellers on the site before it launched in October.

The last company to present was a partnership between Covenant Health and Team Health on virtual urgent care. Tiffany Cross, Informatics Officer with Covenant Health, was joined by Christensen Hobbs, Assistant Director of Telemedicine at TeamHealth. Cross said that during the pandemic, the use of telemedicine grew exponentially, but healthcare providers are limited to normal business hours.

“What we really wanted to do was be able to grow that business and offer it 24/7, 365,” she said. “In order to do that, we really needed the help of our TeamHealth folks.”

The new service launched in September. Cross called it a “digital front door” to Covenant’s care services. The program can also help connect patients that may need a primary care doctor or other services related to their visit.

Hobbs added that in virtual care the patient journey begins with “where you are,” which can be anywhere. The idea is that no matter how you get to the service, patients can begin a telehealth visit within a couple of clicks. Patients receive a plan with diagnosis, links to pharmacies for prescriptions, or notes for follow-up care after their visit.

“While convenience is really the key with virtual care, what’s more important is the quality of care and also the patient experience,” Hobbs said.

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