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Birmingham startups adapting to pandemic needs

https://www.al.com/business/2020/05/birmingham-startups-adapting-to-pandemic-needs.html

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As the coronavirus pandemic began shutting down businesses and stranding workers at home in March, Andy Beck, managing partner of Birmingham’s Viper Imaging, realized most of its business had dried up until at least mid-summer. “I thought, this is going to be fairly traumatic,” he said. “It’s going to be tough to weather that storm.”


But in the six weeks since, Viper Imaging has doubled its workforce and sales team and is producing non-contact temperature detection devices for utilities and industrial clients.


It’s a similar story for many of Birmingham’s startups - light, nimble companies with the ability to quickly change direction and find creative ways to respond to the needs of the pandemic.


“It’s stressful and hard - a terrible time for the world as a whole,” said Ross Wesson, co-founder of Deft Dynamics. “But it’s forced us to get creative and do some things that move us faster toward our goals.”


Viper Imaging, before the pandemic, manufactured thermal imaging systems for monitoring temperature abnormalities in industrial processes, like ladles of molten steel or electrical transformer. The systems use FLIR thermal imaging technology. As the lockdown began, the people at Viper began exploring the idea of producing a system that detects elevated body temperatures using a FLIR thermal imaging camera.


It was the company’s ability to pivot quickly that was the key.


“We were able to take our standard components and modify them slightly,” he said. “We had to have a quick call with our software and engineering team to be able to meet our specific application needs, and we had to be able to make all of those decisions really quick.”


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