Located in Montréal, Canada, Humanitas Solutions provides information technology (IT) solutions for humanitarian response and disaster relief, with the goal of bridging the gap between humans and IT.

Co-founded in 2013 by Dr. Abdo Shabah, an emergency medicine physician who specializes in disaster medicine, the company imagines, designs and builds edge compute and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for frontline workers.

A crisis inspires innovation

In 2010, Dr. Shabah was working with the Canadian Red Cross in Haiti, responding to a massive earthquake in the region. It was there that he experienced firsthand the adverse effects that a lack of technology in the field can have on lifesaving efforts and patient outcomes.

Inspired to bring about change, upon his return to Canada, Dr. Shabah joined forces with a group of professionals to develop technology solutions and tools for healthcare workers—leading to the formation of Humanitas. Today, the company brings ‘Industry 5.0’ capabilities, where humans and machines collaborate, to the healthcare industry.

Harnessing technology for patient care

When the global COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada, a large hospital in Montréal was faced with managing scores of severely ill patients. Rooted in a desire to contain the spread of the virus, the hospital worked with Humanitas on a real-time location system that establishes protected pathways for patient circulation.

It works like this: Sensors placed on patient gurneys communicate with small edge compute devices that are plugged into wall outlets throughout the hospital. As patients are transported through the corridors, the devices collect and process data and then light up smart lights (red, yellow, green), alerting staff that a patient is coming and, crucially, preventing contact with other people along the route. Hospital staff can also receive notifications and track pathways on their smartphones.

“With the sensors, we always know where patients are, allowing us to improve coordination, safety, and patient care,” said Dr. Abdo Shabah, CEO of Humanitas. “But beyond preventing cross-contamination, real-time localization can be deployed in other healthcare scenarios to help speed care and save lives—like in the case of heart attacks, where every second counts.”

Ciena solutions supporting Humanitas

For its real-time location system in the Montréal hospital, Humanitas is utilizing a Virtualized Edge Solution from Ciena where sensors and devices within the hospital are interconnected using Ciena’s 3926 Platform, which centralizes the collected data and connects the system to a private cloud—a ‘nano data center’ of sorts.

Humanitas is also using Ciena’s D-NFVI Software, which eliminates the need for dedicated hardware by hosting traditional network functions as well as third-party enterprise applications, allowing for simpler, more efficient and more agile services.

Learn more about Humanitas and its real-time location system here.