Verizon: Transforming communication at the Harris Center
Founded in 1983 in Delaware, US, Verizon Communications (Verizon) is a telecommunications conglomerate and industry tech expert with a dedicated mission: ‘deliver[ing] the promise of the digital world.’
“Verizon might primarily be known for its network, but we prefer to say that we’re a technology company that brings solutions to customers,” states Jason Taylor, Executive Lead for the Public Sector. Indeed, this perspective has never been more apparent than its collaboration with the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD. Offering a safety net for those experiencing significant mental health and developmental disabilities, the Harris Center provides an essential service within the communities it operates, and Verizon has made significant contributions towards that effort.
Both companies have now been partners for several years; Wayne Young, CEO of the Harris Center, reflects that, when deciding how best to implement remote evaluation capabilities for clinicians and police officers, the company was intent on only collaborating with well-established partners. “We began to think about how to breathe life into this concept. At its core, what we're trying to do is utilize technology to reduce the footprint of the criminal justice system and improve the lives of people with mental illness. To achieve this task, we needed a reliable partner whom we could trust.” The answer was Verizon.
The project was initiated before the COVID-19 pandemic, yet its applications have become all the more valuable now that face-to-face interactions have become difficult. “Verizon's focus was to make sure that citizens or patients that needed to engage with the Harris Center could do so while retaining that personal touch,” Taylor explains. This proved to be a complex task requiring rigorous planning that went beyond simply supplying technology, “We looked at getting the right connectivity, making sure we provided the correct devices, and then securing everything to protect the flow of communication.” Taylor’s latter point is particularly crucial in the highly sensitive, data-rich world of healthcare.
“If you talk to most law enforcement officers, they're very sympathetic [to mental health crises] but often don't feel adequately trained. Leveraging expertise and connecting them with technology is now critical. The Harris Center has certainly pivoted towards doing a lot of work around virtual care delivery,” says Young. Taylor adds that the company’s innovative approach makes it an ideological match for Verizon, positioning itself to always focus on the future, which in turn makes for a highly collaborative partnership. “We're both focused on making a positive impact and as we move into the world of 5G, I believe that solutions and benefits will open up for communities that we haven't even imagined yet.”
With the Harris Center’s large (2,400 employees) workforce now operating with increased mobility, Young praises Verizon for always providing a solid, ‘behind-the-scenes’ service that’s seamless, scalable, reliable, and most importantly allows the Harris Center to focus on what it does best: transforming the lives of patients. “We needed a partner who could think flexibly and be agile with us as we solve problems in new and innovative ways,” he concludes. “Working with Verizon, I think the future is looking bright.”
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”