Dallas-based startup OneDay has doubled its business since the onset of Covid-19 in March, providing a clear signal of the huge role that video content has played in senior living operations during the pandemic.
When Covid-19 first reached the United States, about 2,000 senior living communities were using OneDay, and that number has now reached about 4,000, Co-Founder and CEO Clint Lee told Senior Housing News. Even more than those numbers, Lee points to another stat to illustrate the extent to which senior living communities are leaning on video in the midst of Covid-19.
“Our partner communities have created over 100,000 videos with OneDay since Covid started in early March,” he said. “So, they’re engaged with the technology, and our team is handling the growth we’ve seen without missing a beat.”
Through the OneDay app, senior living professionals can create video content for a variety of uses. For example, OneDay provides prompts to generate conversations with residents that can be captured on video, and then packaged with branding, sound and other personalized touches.
For any business, expanding by 100% within about four months is a big lift, but OneDay was in a good position to support this accelerated growth. In December 2019, the company closed on a $5.2 million Series A investment and was already putting that capital to work by making hires and otherwise building up the company infrastructure.
The company has brought on 10 new people since the end of 2019, bringing the total team up to nearly 40 people, with more positions to be added this summer. Finding the right workers to maintain the company’s success and culture — OneDay was named a Best Workplace of 2020 by Inc. magazine — has been the biggest challenge in supporting the rapid growth, Lee said.
Despite having the Series A funding in place, OneDay did not want to get ahead of skis or exploit the Covid-19 crisis as a business opportunity, according to Lee. With that in mind, the company hit pause on taking on new business for the first two-and-a-half weeks of the pandemic.
“We were just checking on our communities to understand how their day to day was changing,” Lee said.
Once OneDay had a firmer grasp on what senior living providers were facing and how OneDay could potentially help their efforts, the company again began taking new business. In many cases, new users were providers who had already been considering video but had not made it a priority until Covid-19 forced them to find solutions for virtual connectivity, Lee explained.
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Senior living associates have used OneDay to capture video of residents to share with their families, while in-person visits were forbidden. But other use cases have also emerged as important, including sales and marketing teams using the platform to create personalized virtual tours.
Covid-19 has forced many senior living providers to become more adept at video, if they weren’t already accustomed to creating this type of content. Lee shared some tips for providers:
— Done is better than perfect. The most important thing is that a video captures an authentic moment or message; having slick production values is just a bonus by comparison.
— Make sure audio is clear. Viewers will forgive a shaky video but become frustrated if they can’t hear what is being said.
— Use relatively up to date phones or tablets to capture the video. The devices do not have to be the latest models, but camera quality has improved dramatically in the last several years.
In terms of where OneDay is headed next, the company is evaluating how to keep upgrading its offering. For instance, the team is contemplating capabilities to support live, interactive virtual tours, as opposed to a pre-recorded ones. That said, Lee is being cautious in weighing the pros and cons of various potential features.
“Live video is great for answering questions about amenities, pricing, or short conversations,” he said. “But when it comes to virtual tours, we’ve seen that live video can fall short. Many of our partners have told us the live tours only work if you have great WiFi throughout the entire community, inside and out, and a lot of times that isn’t the case.”
Furthermore, having a personalized virtual tour that can be shared by family members and re-watched multiple times has value.
OneDay is also branching out into a new market, with an offering that is launching this week. Noticing that OneDay videos were being shared and treasured as ways to remember people who had passed away, the company created Reflect by OneDay. Funeral homes will be able to provide access to Reflect by OneDay, enabling people to create video stories and remembrances of their loved ones by “crowdsourcing” content from their network of family members and friends.
Technology has been key as senior living communities have adjusted their operations to Covid-19, and OneDay’s growth is not an isolated case. Telehealth companies, for instance, also saw a surge in demand. But, Lee is a bit circumspect about whether Covid-19 will create a tech “revolution” in senior living, noting that providers are also cash-strapped at the moment.
For any tech entrepreneurs contemplating the senior living market, Lee advised that they concentrate above all on how they can improve the resident experience.
“That’s got to be the foundation of all the tech,” he said.