Can’t hear you, are you on mute?

Let’s take a trip back into time. Some of us will remember these days, some will have to imagine them.

It is the year 1970. A virus outbreak happens in a country on the other side of the world. We know little about the virus other than it is contagious and has the potential to take a lot of lives.

Information needs to be sent to other countries urgently to tackle the spread and help the ill.

We pick up the telephone, dial a number, and it is engaged. We wait five minutes, dial again, engaged again. No call waiting and no voice telling you to leave a message. We turn to the fax machine. A tool used to send messages using paper. We hope the fax machine at the other end has paper, and that it’s switched on. Our last resort is the telex or telegram. A device used to send urgent messages. No images, no video, no voice. A piece of text kept as brief as possible because of cost. The virus is spreading like wildfire. What chance would we have?

In 2020, just 50 years later, a group of people got together in a matter of days to help build a new device to help the sick breath freely. Medical professionals, engineers, project managers, marketing personnel and many other professions joined up in one place, all with the click of a button. Faces seen, voices heard, pictures sent, videos played, funny hats and unexpected visitors, all in actual time.

So rapid was this collaboration of professionals that countries across the world received the information needed to build the Exovent device in their homes within months, not years.

Technology they say is hard to use. Yet today, the hardest thing is to remember to unmute. We have all become experts at lip reading. The Exovent teams “forgot to unmute” kitty jar has slowly filled with pound coins, ready for our one day, pub meet.

Today I know what CPAP, CNEP, NPV and COPD mean. Yesterday, I didn’t. Today my colleagues know what LOL, OMG, TGIF and AFK mean. Yesterday, they probably did, but I like to think I may have added to their internet lingo.

Through the use of everyday backend silent technology, we have come together and devised a machine that will one day, not only save people from COVID-19, but may help save millions of children from pneumonia. Instant communication using just our phones and laptops has kept us all informed on our progression and the progression of our international teams.

I am exceptionally proud to be a member of one of the most diverse teams I have ever worked with.

We are all volunteers.

We are Exovent.

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