Message from the vtTA
Coronavirus Impacts

The vtTA and other organizations have cancelled or postponed in-person tech and other events in response to the Coronavirus. This includes vtTA’s March 25 networking event in partnership with Burlington Code Academy. We also had offered a member discount to a conference in Boston focused on unmanned and robotic technology that has been postponed until August. In the meantime, we are exploring opportunities to offer tech-focused presentations remotely online.

We know many tech businesses have their staffs working from home and making other changes in light the coronavirus, and some are providing services to help address the pandemic; a few are highlighted in our news section. If you have news or information you want to share with our members and the broader tech community, of if you have a service or tool that is helping address the virus, please let us know at .

Legislative Update

The Vermont Legislature has adjourned at least through Tuesday March 24 and possibly longer, with some limited online meetings focused on addressing COVID-19. Before then, the vtTA participated in discussions about a recommendation made by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office to the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee (in response to a proposed facial recognition bill, H.595 ) that Vermont consider adopting biometric information regulations based on the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) of 2008 . A similar law has been enacted in the State of Washington and in Texas; however Illinois’ statute contains a private right of legal action. 

The vtTA and other industry representatives called for more time to examine the ramifications of passing this bill, and pointed to potential concerns such as defining what is covered and the potential for unfair legal action. The vtTA supports a balanced approach that allows for the development and use of biometric technology that provides desired services and convenience, while preventing abuse of the technology and ensuring appropriate protection of personal privacy and data.

As a result of our input, the AG’s office has decided on a summer study, with stakeholder input, of issues on the use of biometric data and other privacy issues, and a report to the legislature in December. They recommended the report address the following:
  1. Appropriate protections on biometric data, including facial recognition
  2. Whether Vermont should adopt all or parts of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
  3. Consumer protections that better address the privacy concerns of Vermonters.

We will stay engaged with this study as it unfolds. If you are involved with the use of biometric information in your work, or have a perspective on this topic, we’d welcome hearing from you.

The House Ways and Means Committee has not yet formally voted on a cloud computing tax bill , but last month settled on this language dealing with taxation of “vendor-hosted pre-written computer software.” The new language includes a directive to the Department of Taxes to study the sales and use tax treatment of the digital and technology industry in other states compared to the traditional manufacturing sector when making purchase of business inputs, including potential exemptions: “The department shall estimate the fiscal impact of exempting the digital industry’s purchases of vendor-hosted prewritten computer software when that software is intended for direct and exclusive use in the manufacture of tangible personal property, notably prewritten computer software, for sale.” The tax could be added to other tax bills this session, but that is unclear at this point.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and take care of one another.
Jeff Couture
Executive Director
Vermont Technology Alliance

Vermont Technology News

VT Tech Companies Addressing Coronavirus Challenges
(March 7, 2020 – NECN)

Vermont Technology companies say they have a role to play in the world’s response to the growing threat from coronavirus. “There’s an opportunity here to really help,” said Ethan Bechtel, the CEO of OhMD , whose texting app provides a secure and private way for patients to text their doctor’s office or other health care provider. Others providing tools and services include Pie and ThinkMD .

Read more here .
Tech Companies Busy Setting up Work-From-Home Systems
(March 19, 2020 – WCAX)

Heath officials are urging everyone to self-isolate and practice social distancing whenever possible to keep the coronavirus at bay. For many, that means working from home, and it's keeping many IT companies busy. NPI Technology is helping their 25 clients in Vermont, New Hampshire, and upstate New York implement an incident response plan. They say many companies weren't prepared to tackle a change like this, so they're extra busy setting up brand new systems that allow workers to access their company's server remotely on a laptop or desktop at home. They say one of the biggest learning curves has been teaching how employees can communicate with one another efficiently.

Read more here .

 Inntopia Launches TestLink, a Free COVID-19 Testing Appointment Scheduler
(March 18, 2020 – Inntopia)

As widespread testing for COVID-19 becomes increasingly critical, Inntopia has released TestLink, a free scheduling platform that allows patients to search for testing locations and times across individual or multiple locations. The system, built on Inntopia’s activity booking platform, is typically used for scheduling ski lessons or tee-times. “Our system solves the unique challenges of searching for available testing across multiple locations, and is built to handle the high volumes of inquiries that have traditionally been common in travel bookings, but are not typical in scheduling medical appointments,” said Inntopia CEO, Trevor Crist.”

Read more here .

OhMD Offers Healthcare Providers its Texting Platform for Free to Help Combat Spread COVID-19
(March 7, 2020 – VTDigger)

Vermont based OhMD, a leading healthcare communications platform, is offering a free version of its patient texting platform to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 through more effective and instantaneous communications between patient and medical practice. Thousands of practices and hospitals in all 50 states are already using the OhMD platform for patient engagement and communication. OhMD’s text messaging platform allows effective communications to happen during an epidemic or major outbreak such as COVID-19 while simultaneously enabling social distancing.

Read more here .

Comcast Opens Xfinity Wi-Fi Network Nationally for Free; Offers Unlimited Data in Response to Coronavirus
(March 17, 2020 – Comcast)

Comcast has announced additional steps to help ensure people stay connected to the Internet as more schools suspend classes and companies encourage employees to work from home due to the Coronavirus. This includes offering access to its Wi-Fi hotspots across the country to everyone for free, offering unlimited data, and free access to its Internet Essentials service.

Read more here .

For Internet-Access Activists in the Northeast Kingdom, the Easy Part is Over
(March 16, 2020 – VTDigger)

Twenty-seven towns in the region voted on Town Meeting Day to form a communications union district, a type of governance body that helps member towns build broadband infrastructure without financial risk to taxpayers. But “that’s when the hard work begins,” said Clay Purvis, who heads the Department of Public Service telecommunications division. “The funding is going to remain the biggest challenge for the CUDs moving forward,” Purvis said.

Read more here .

Making It: Vermont’s Maker Spaces Build Creativity and Community
(March 14, 2020 – Rutland Herald)

Amid the noise of people working on multiple projects on an early March Monday night, Jim Schenck explained that a community space like this was only a dream a few years ago. Now, he is the president of The Foundry, the first maker space in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. There are other well-known maker spaces throughout the state, like the Generator in Burlington and MINT in Rutland. Though each operating model is different, they all provide a membership-based community space for access to the tools, technology and space for creating.

Read more here .

Vermont AG Announces Lawsuit Against Data Broker Company
(March 10, 2020 – MyChamplainValley)

Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced a lawsuit against a data broker company known as Clearview AI.  According to Donovan, Clearview AI is a company that has collected billions of photos off the internet by screen scraping and applying artificial intelligence technology biometrics data to these photos and selling them. Donovan explained that Clearview AI is using facial recognition technology to map the faces of Vermonters and their children. He said Clearwater AI then sells those pictures to private businesses, individuals and law enforcement without consent, which he said is a violation of the Vermont consumer protection statute and the data broker registry law.

Read more here .

CORI Innovation Fund makes Opportunity Zone investment in Voi, Inc. in Springfield, VT
(March 6, 2020 – CORI Innovation Fund)

The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) Fund announced an investment in Voi, Inc., a leader in the use of AI-driven digital technology to provide behavioral healthcare solutions with a focus on detection of and care for those at risk of suicide. This is the second investment made by the CORI Innovation Fund, a qualified Opportunity Zone fund which invests in high-growth technology companies supporting job creation and revenue generation in small towns across America. Voi will relocate to the Opportunity Zone in Springfield, VT, from Hanover, NH, and will be based at the Black River Innovation Campus, home to Springfield’s burgeoning digital economy ecosystem.

Read more here .

GW Plastics Launches 4 th Expansion of GW Silicones
(March 4, 2020 – GW Plastics)

Advanced contract manufacturing and injection molding company, GW Plastics, Inc., has announced another expansion of its affiliate, GW Silicones, in response to its growing Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) healthcare manufacturing business. This is the fourth expansion of GW Silicones since its inception in 2008, and comes on the heels of a just-completed 30,000 square foot expansion of GW Plastics’ Royalton, VT Manufacturing and Technology Center earlier this year.

Read more here .

Featured Member – Advanced Illumination

Advanced illumination (Ai) designs and manufactures LED lighting and control electronics for the Machine Vision Industry. Machine vision is a key factory automation technology, allowing manufacturers in value-added economies to compete on the world stage.

As a complete solutions provider, Ai assists its customers by analyzing their imaging applications and recommending an appropriate lighting system. Lab reports as well as loaner products are made available at no charge. Further assistance is provided by tailoring a product with Build-to-Order, Semi-Custom and full Custom offerings shipped in as little as 1-3 weeks.

Founded in 1993 in the Boston, MA area, Ai was the first LED lighting company to develop and sell an LED lighting product. Since then, Ai has been operating exclusively in Vermont and has developed a talented group of experts that are fully committed to the highest level of customer service.

Advanced illumination’s customers face unique challenges regarding their ever-evolving inspection systems; Ai is here to innovate with them.

To learn more, visit their website at

Vermont Technology Alliance Membership Update
The Vermont Technology Alliance works on behalf of its members and is able to carry out its mission through the support of its membership.
We appreciate the annual support provided by annual member/sponsors. The Physician’s Computer Company (PCC) , a long-time vtTA supporter, has renewed as a Leadership Member/Sponsor and SymQuest has renewed as a Partner Member/Sponsor. 
Other renewing business members include: Springer-Miller Systems , Stone Environmental , and Vermont Information Processing (VIP) .

Join the Vermont Technology Alliance
Join the Vermont Technology Alliance and be part of our growing tech community. The Vermont Technology Alliance welcomes all businesses, organizations and individuals who make up and support Vermont's diverse, tech-based economy to join our business association. Members benefit from vtTA's advocacy, programs, events, communications, and services – including job postings in our Career Center – and networking and business opportunities. 

We are happy to learn about your business or organization and tell you more about our organization – contact . You also can find more information here , or sign up today to be a new member here .
Useful Information & Links

BRIC Launches "Community Chats"

The Black River Innovation Campus (BRIC) in Springfield is hosting Community Chats via Zoom every Wednesday at 6 p.m. featuring Vermont community members giving 15-minute primers on topics are passionate about.

Find more here .

COVID-19 Business Information and Resources

Vermont Health Department Information

CDC Resources for Businesses and Employers

Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development

SCORE: How Small Businesses Can Prepare for COVID-19

SBA Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources

vtTA Career Center
Vermont Technology Alliance member companies are hiring, and when you visit the Career Center  on the Vermont Technology Alliance website you can browse and search for these job openings and subscribe to updates. The Career Center currently has 200+ tech and non-tech jobs with Vermont Technology Alliance member businesses and organizations. Jobs available from vtTA members are listed at no charge in the Career Center as a member benefit.
For more, visit the Career Center .

The vtTA Thanks Its Member/Sponsors
Leadership Sponsors:
Sustaining Sponsor:
Partner Sponsors: