IndyCar lands communications company NTT as title sponsor
By JENNA FRYER
AP Auto Racing Writer
Tuesday, January 15
IndyCar announced a multi-year title sponsorship deal Tuesday with NTT, a global information technology and communications company based in Japan.
The series will be called the NTT IndyCar Series. NTT Data, a subsidiary of parent company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., already sponsors a car for Chip Ganassi Racing and received enough exposure from that deal to warrant a larger piece of the open-wheel racing series. The season’s first race is March 10 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The partnership revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit also makes NTT the official technology partner of the IndyCar Series, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Brickyard 400.
“IndyCar has grown in terms of all of our fan metrics and is a valuable global brand that NTT recognizes,” Mark Miles, president and CEO of IndyCar and IMS parent company Hulman & Company, told The Associated Press. “We feel great about it because they are a corporate giant in global communications and their strategy is to begin to expose the NTT parent brand, which in Japan is a company much like a merger between AT&T and Verizon.”
NTT replaces Verizon, which was title sponsor of the series from 2014 until it ended its partnership last season. IndyCar had nearly two years to replace Verizon, but the NTT deal came together rapidly at the end of last season.
The company approached IndyCar executives before the September season finale asking if it was too late to discuss the entitlement package, and IndyCar immediately opened talks. The broader deal was completed in roughly three months and sealed with a November trip to Tokyo in which IndyCar officials and Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato made a winning pitch to NTT.
“This is a huge chance for us to let people know who NTT is,” said Tsunehisa Okuno, executive vice president and head of global business for NTT. “Everyone knows about IndyCar and there is room for growth in the European market and the Japanese market. NTT is a global company and North America is a very important market for the brand. We think we could offer something exciting with NTT and Indy by using the NTT technology.”
NTT has already been developing a new mobile application for the series that will replace the Verizon app, which limited live content to Verizon subscribers. NTT also will use its proprietary platform to support the series and venues in delivering analytical insights.
“In an average two-hour race, IndyCar timing and scoring pulls in more than 50 million data ratings off the cars,” Miles said. “It’s fertile ground if we can turn it into digestible compelling content to the fans.”
Driver Tony Kanaan, who was at the event in Detroit, said NTT helped develop a shirt he wore under his suit that could give him information about his body heat, muscle strength and heart rate.
“I was able to read what was happening during the race — especially a three-hour race, you don’t get to drink, you don’t get to hydrate, you don’t get to eat anything — and simulate that at the gym,” Kanaan said. “It was a huge improvement for me.”
Bob Pryor, the CEO of NTT Data Services, said the partnership with the Ganassi team helped the company recognize the potential in IndyCar.
“We’ve seen how NTT technology and innovation can help drivers and teams, and we believe it can also advance the sport and fan engagement,” Pryor said. “Also, the depth of the relationships we were able to expand with our clients, other sponsors, and the automotive industry as well as the brand awareness we were able to build, has and continues to be significant.”
NTT began as a Japanese telephone company that has grown into a $106 billion tech services giant with U.S. operations based in Plano, Texas. NTT Communications is a technology partner of McLaren Formula One.
IndyCar’s 2019 schedule includes 17 races, all of them in the United States except for a stop in Toronto.
Miles is trying to add two international events to the schedule that would run in February, and IndyCar has already visited Australia about a potential race. NTT supports IndyCar’s vision on expansion.
“There’s been an IndyCar race in Japan and we would love more IndyCar racing in Japan,” Okuno said. “If we could make it happen, it is a very good showcase to let Japanese clients know what we are doing in bigger markets.”
AP Sports Writer Noah Trister contributed to this report.
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Greener Healthcare: Strategies for Sustainable Surgical Units
Kate Harveston January 11, 2019
Hospitals and medical practices produce a lot of waste. Indeed medical facilities generate more than 4 billion pounds of garbage every year, with the majority of the waste stemming from operating and delivery rooms. While healthcare facilities will always create a significant amount of garbage, eco-conscious medical providers can make several small adjustments to make their practices kinder to Mother Earth.
Making a medical practice more sustainable means rethinking current waste disposal methods while still meeting governmental guidelines for the management of biohazardous waste. Also, creating a sustainable practice involves implementing common sense solutions to reduce non-hazardous waste by reusing materials. Consider the following when redesigning medical practices to make them more eco-friendly.
Cutting Back on Single-Use Devices
Single-use devices (SUDs) make up a sizable percentage of many medical facilities’ waste. Yet facilities can recycle many SUDs, saving the planet while at the same time saving the practice a significant sum of money. For example, the San Diego branch of Kaiser Permanente switched to recycling SUDs and in doing so saved approximately $300,000 in just one year.
Also, hospitals and other surgical facilities can significantly reduce waste by eliminating unnecessary items from their surgical kits. Typically, surgeons simply grab a standard kit when heading into the operating room. Many of the supplies in ordinary kits, such as certain syringes and plastic vomit basins go unused but get discarded.
Medical professionals should evaluate their surgical kits and determine which items most often go unused. Once the team has created a list of unnecessary things, they should contact the manufacturer of their surgical kits and ask them to remove the superfluous devices. For example, the same Kaiser Permanente facility reduced the number of items in their surgical kits from 40 down to 27.
Going Green, Seeing Red
Healthcare facilities must dispose of biohazardous waste in full compliance with FDA guidelines lest they lose their license. However, in many facilities medical professionals casually toss any item that touches a patient into the red biohazard bag without considering whether or not the items truly pose a risk. Also, some facilities fail to provide a separate disposal bin in patient rooms, meaning everything ends up in the biohazard bag. This creates an enormous amount of excess waste.
To cut down on waste, medical facilities should provide a large garbage bin and a smaller biohazard disposal container. All staff should receive training on what materials present actual biohazards and which materials require no special handling.
Switching to Sustainable Supplies
Another measure medical facilities can take involves switching to more sustainable supplies. Furthermore, facilities can avoid using medical devices for patients who may benefit from a less intensive course of care. For example, facilities can avoid using plastic casts on minor injuries, such as a broken pinky toe which can heal just as quickly when simply splinted or taped to a neighboring digit.
Some injuries do require the patient to wear a cast. Health facility managers can replace traditional non-biodegradable plastic casts with biodegradable ones. One medical supply house recently developed a new biodegradable cast material made primarily of wood chips. As green technology advances, facilities should soon have any number of more sustainable supplies to stock their practices.
Reducing Energy Waste
In addition to physical waste which often ends up in landfills, medical facilities use a tremendous amount of electricity. Hospitals, in particular, utilize an enormous amount of electricity by keeping lights on around the clock.
Many experts agree that investing in energy-efficient power can save anywhere from 25 to 45 percent off their energy bills, leaving hospitals with more in their coffers to pay for additional staffing or other needs. Also, facilities switching to green energy can take advantage of the tax credit for clean energy available under current federal law, resulting in even more significant savings.
Additional Green Measures
Medical facilities have a few more options for making their practices more sustainable. One additional measure facilities may implement involves switching from chemical means of sterilization to steam-based sterilization. Steam sterilization releases no toxins the way chemical sterilization does.
Likewise, facilities can eschew the traditional paper patient gowns and bibs and instead simply use washable cloth materials. Additionally, medical facilities can switch from paper billing to online bill pay and make medical records accessible electronically to reduce the need for paper while saving money.
Finally, a significant number of hospitals and medical facilities fail to offer recycling bins in waiting areas and patient rooms. Providing recycling bins where patients and visitors can dispose of soda cans and plastic bottles available in hospital vending machines cuts down on landfill fodder.
Many medical professionals mistakenly believe switching to more sustainable practices remains impossible without impacting patient safety. To overcome this mindset, practitioners should open their eyes and take a good look at measures they can take to save the planet while also saving money. By implementing changes like the ones listed above, medical professionals can ensure their facilities are as green as they can be.
E-The Environmental Magazine
A Project of EarthTalk Inc.
Respiratory Health and the Negative Effects Caused by Climate Change
January 10, 2019
The effects of climate change are seen in many different realms of our lives. While some are more prevalent than others, many of these are being recorded and analyzed for future projections. Although the sea levels may be rising, it is not as pressing of an issue we are forced to address on a day-to-day basis. However, our personal health and well being is often at the forefront of our minds. Forced to look at personal impact, some research is finding is that climate change may be taking a toll on our respiratory health.
The Center of Disease Control (CDC) has been enlightened by this data collection revealing a severe rise in the diagnosis of asthma. During 2001 and 2009, an estimated 4.3 million people were diagnosed with asthma. Currently, 8.3 percent of adults and 8.3 percent of children are diagnosed as having asthmatic issues.
The number of those affected by asthma directly correlate with atmospheric changes. A study on elementary students in Washington measured lung inflammation in school buses before and after EPA standards. The study measured the air quality within the buses before and after EPA set emissions standards on vehicles. After the EPA standards were set in place, children who had asthma saw a 20 to 31 percent drop in lung inflammation. As we have seen, there is a correlation in climate health and personal health. Now, a parallel is being drawn between climate change and the rise in asthma cases.
Climate change is making asthma even worse for people as a result of a warming planet. One of the major triggers of asthmatic reaction are seasonal allergies caused by the presence of pollen. Global warming is providing the earth with the heat that pollen thrives in, enabling it to establish itself earlier in the year, produce more airborne pollen and remain present later into the year than ever before. In addition to watery eyes and the sniffles, asthmatics can expect to be more prone to attacks for a longer period of time throughout the allergy season.
Interesting results have been found by Arizona State University researchers about the spread of the influenza and the warming temperatures that are a result of a changing climate. Their research shows during mild winters, the flu virus is unable to spread as fast as it would in colder weather. The highly contagious virus thrives in cold, dry air. This may sound like good news; however, the lack of infection results in a more severe epidemic the following year due to a lowered immunity in the population.
For those who suffer from asthma, this is very bad news. When those with asthma get the flu, it can have dangerous consequences. The flu causes further inflammation of the bronchi in the lungs and activate our body to produce more mucus, both already common in those with asthma. This makes asthmatic patients more likely to develop pneumonia which can result in further complications.
Climate change isn’t the only thing negatively affecting asthma sufferers. In today’s opioid crisis, those with asthma experience extremely severe side effects from painkillers and experts can’t explain why this is. The relief needed by the use of painkillers may not be outweighing the side effects, leaving many asthmatics concerned for the increasing air pollution and prolonged pollen season.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states “today, pollution levels in many areas of the United States exceed national air quality standards for at least one of the six common pollutants.” There have varied attempts in the United States to reduce carbon emissions and business byproducts which have resulted in a reduction in particle pollution. However, particles travel through the air and across oceans and state lines.
The EPA website states “an extensive body of scientific evidence shows that long- and short-term exposures to fine particle pollution, also known as fine particulate matter (PM2.5), can cause premature death and harmful effects on the cardiovascular system, including increased hospital admissions and emergency department visits for heart attacks and strokes.”
As our climate continues to change, the threats to our respiratory systems continue to increase. It may become more likely to see mobile asthma clinics, referred to as the “Breathmobiles”, in front of our children’s schools as asthma case continue to rise. Taking precautionary measures, such as installing air purifiers in your home or avoiding outdoor exercise during allergy season, can help to reduce effects on your respiratory system. You can check the air quality in your area by visiting the Air Quality Index (AQI) page to learn more.