Monday, June 27, 2011

Going around the horn with thanks to the Microsoft in Health blog, BNET, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Technically Philly

Last week was a big news week for us, with our $4.5 million financing announcement and our Microsoft's 2011 Life Sciences Innovation award win. Several reporters and bloggers featured us in their coverage, in addition to TechCrunch, which I blogged about earlier. Here are several other mentions that crossed my desk. I wanted to give a shout-out to all the folks who thought to report on us. Thanks to all!
  • Michael Naimoli, Worldwide Managing Director, Microsoft Life Sciences, blogged about our winning the company's 2011 Life Sciences Innovation award with PPD on the Microsoft in Health blog.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Five qualities of successful virtual teams

When I started working with ProtonMedia back in 2003, we were a completely virtual company focused on building e-learning solutions. Our fledgling start-up had about five employees, all of whom worked from our homes until we moved three years later into the office building we're in now.

The communication and collaboration tools we used created the fabric that held us together. E-mail and phone were big. So was instant messaging. It was probably the main way we communicated with one another on a daily basis. We even used an open source VoIP tool that became popular with our developers.

We faced many of the common challenges that most virtual teams grapple with. We had to learn to communicate well virtually, and trust one another without being in our physical presences. We needed the self-discipline to avoid getting distracted by the kids or Xbox consoles.

I think it took a mental shift among those of us who hadn't worked virtually before. But once we were settled into our routine, it was like second nature.

I was brought back to this after reading a new study by Brandman University researchers Charles Bullock, JD, LLM and Jennifer Tucker Klein, Ph.D., "Virtual Work Environments in the Post-Recession Era." It looked at trends in virtual teaming among large and Fortune 500 companies.

It's no surprise that 40 percent of respondents said that at least 40 percent of their employees work on virtual teams. But what I found most interesting was how these companies measured a successful virtual team.

Many of the qualities they deem important reflect our early ProtonMedia team. And through the years of working virtually, I have learned just how essential these qualities are. So I thought it useful to share some lessons I've learned about building and running a successful virtual team.

Hire the guy from Vermont. Hire the guy from Vermont, Montana, Canada, wherever. Geographical location is a moot point when it comes to building a virtual team. The Brandman study found that 50 percent of the companies surveyed thought the most important aspect of working in virtual teams was that it allowed them to hire the best talent. We learned that early on with one of the most skilled Flash developers ProtonMedia has had. He lived in Vermont and had no intentions of moving to Pennsylvania, where CEO Ron Burns was located. But since we had the ability to support virtual teaming, we hired him full time.

TechCrunch reports on ProtonMedia's $4.5 million financing

Leena Rao reported on our $4.5 million Series B financing on TechCrunch this week. Thanks for sharing our news, Leena.

Our team is back today from DIA 2011, and we hope to have some feedback and reactions on how the show went soon!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We add another Microsoft Life Sciences Innovation Award to our shelf

So I promised to share the goings-on here at DIA 2011, and here's an exciting update for you. Microsoft gave ProtonMedia and PPD its 2011 Life Sciences Innovation Award. This is the second time we've won the award. We took one home last year with Merck for the virtual poster session we developed together in ProtoSphere.

This year, Microsoft recognized PPD's use of ProtoSphere to create a virtual clinical trial training environment. Michael Naimoli, Managing Director of Life Sciences for Microsoft, announced the winners at last night's Life Sciences reception here at the DIA show, and it was indeed an honor to accept the award for the second year running!

We issued a press release today announcing the news, so I will turn your attention to that for more details on the award and project we did with PPD to win it. Thanks to the Microsoft folks for recognizing us!

PPD and ProtonMedia Win 2011 Microsoft Life Sciences Innovation Award

Microsoft recognizes ProtonMedia for the second consecutive year for its innovation in life sciences with its ProtoSphere virtual collaboration technology

DIA 2011

LANSDALE, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Microsoft Corp. has named PPD, Inc. (Nasdaq: PPDI) and ProtonMedia winners of a Microsoft 2011 Life Sciences Innovation Award, recognizing their innovative use of ProtonMedia’s ProtoSphere in creating PPD® 3D. The virtual, collaborative environment improves the cost-effectiveness, speed and quality of clinical trial training for life sciences organizations developing new medicines for people in need.

Monday, June 20, 2011

ProtonMedia raises $4.5 million in Series B financing

The past few months have felt like a whirlwind. And today I'm pleased to share with you some exciting news. We've completed a $4.5 million financing round led by Kaplan Ventures.

We announced the news in a press release today, which tells you more about what we'll be using the funding for, as well what it means for our partnership with Kaplan EduNeering and the work we're doing together in life sciences compliance training.

We completed a $2.5 million Series A financing two years ago, which now brings total investment in the company to $7 million.

ProtonMedia Raises $4.5 Million in Series B Financing Led by Kaplan Ventures

Kaplan EduNeering concurrently forms strategic reseller partnership with ProtonMedia

LANSDALE, Pa.--BUSINESS WIRE--ProtonMedia today announced the successful completion of a $4.5 million Series B venture financing led by Kaplan Ventures. ProtonMedia will use the funds to extend its leadership position within life sciences by further integrating its ProtoSphere virtual collaboration environment with ComplianceWire®, Kaplan EduNeering's validated cloud-based learning management system.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Virtual clinical trial efforts catching on, reports Outsourcing-Pharma

You might have heard about Pfizer's plans to conduct a virtual clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of the company’s Detrol LA product. The company will gather patient data through mobile phone and Web-based technologies, rather than clinic visits.

Pfizer's effort continues to signal a shift in the life sciences industry as it strives to conduct clinical trials more efficiently and cost effectively, writes Nick Taylor in an article on Outsourcing-Pharma this week.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More collaborative life sciences technologies to see at DIA 2011 in Chicago

We're Chicago-bound in a few days for the Drug Information Association (DIA) 2011 Annual Meeting, which runs June 19-23. I told you last week that Microsoft has asked us to showcase ProtoSphere and its integration with Lync at its booth, #1111.

In addition, we'll also be demonstrating our integrated compliance training solution with Kaplan EduNeering at the company’s booth, #224. So if you're planning on attending, you'll be able to see two important communication and collaboration technologies that have come to life sciences in the past seven months.

We formally announced the news in a press release today, so I will turn your eyes to that for more details on what we have in store at DIA 2011.

ProtonMedia to Showcase Collaborative Life Sciences Technologies at Microsoft Booth at DIA 2011

ProtonMedia to demonstrate how life sciences companies can use Microsoft Lync and ProtoSphere together for next-generation virtual communications and collaboration

DIA 2011

LANSDALE, Pa. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- ProtonMedia today announced it will showcase its ProtoSphere application and integration with Microsoft Lync at Microsoft booth #1111 at the Drug Information Association (DIA) 2011 Annual Meeting. Attendees will see how ProtoSphere uses Lync as the heart of its communications features, giving the application the most scalable VoIP of any virtual collaboration environment. ProtonMedia will also be demonstrating its integrated compliance training solution with Kaplan EduNeering at the company's booth, #224, at the show. DIA 2011 takes place June 19-23 in Chicago.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Your brain in a virtual collaboration environment, the transcript

We recently posted our podcast interview with Jim Blascovich, Ph.D., Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Co-Director of the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

But if you prefer reading over listening, you're in luck because we've got the transcript for you today. Give it a look-see to learn Dr. Blascovich's latest findings about interacting in virtual environments.

You'll also get a peek inside his new book, "Infinite Reality," which he wrote with Jeremy Bailenson, Ph.D., Founding Director of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab and Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford University.

Janelle: Greetings, everyone. I'm Janelle Kozyra, your host for a ProtonMedia podcast. Today I am joined by Jim Blascovich, who is a Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Co-Director of the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior at the University of California in Santa Barbara.

He is also the co-author of “Infinite Reality,” which he wrote with Jeremy Bailenson, and right now Jim is on sabbatical at Stanford. Welcome to our podcast, Jim. Good to have you with us.

Jim: Thank you. Good to be here.

Janelle: So let's give our listeners a little bit of a background on you and what you study as a psychologist.

PhillyBurbs finds ProtoSphere engaging

There's a lot of things to like about Crissa Shoemaker DeBree's recent coverage of ProtoSphere on PhillyBurbs. But frankly, we can't get over the awesome photo of Ron.

Thanks for featuring us!

The case for and against video conferencing

You gotta love Google Alerts. In my e-mail the other week was a juicy little tidbit that caught my eyes.

John Bartlett, a blogger for Unified Communications Strategies, recently hosted a podcast with his fellow bloggers to discuss use cases for video conferencing in business. They examined where video adds value, as well as where it does not in several spaces, including health care, human resources, mobile, and virtual conferencing.

I found it interesting, and I think you will too, because if you're reading this blog, you probably follow the UC space. Several insightful examples where brought to light by the panelists, which included Pam Avila, Art Rosenberg, Blair Pleasant, Don Van Doren, Michael Finneran, and Dave Michels.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

TMCnet covers the benefits of virtual collaboration

I'm not the only one talking about the benefits of working in a virtual collaboration environment. Beecher Tuttle recently posted an article on TMCnet discussing how companies are using collaborative software to lower operation costs, improve productivity, and increase employee engagement.

One thing I pointed out in the comment I left on his article was that using software to collaborate doesn’t have to be through a "a myriad of mediums," as he wrote. Some technologies -- cough, cough, ProtoSphere. Ahem -- can combine these tools into one immersive collaboration environment.
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