New Zombie Fitness app is huge success for UK business
A British-made fitness game – Zombies, Run! – has become a worldwide hit, getting players from across the globe running away from ‘zombies’ to get fit.
Zombies, Run!, the brainchild of London-based games company Six to Start and writer Naomi Alderman, is the first ever fitness game with a story, and is becoming a huge hit with joggers from Italy to Australia.
The game, downloaded as an app and played on iPhone or iPod, puts the player in the centre of a zombie apocalypse.
It has become so popular it has reached 14th place on the list of top grossing apps worldwide and is the third most popular top grossing health and fitness app.
Sales are expected to hit the 100,000 mark soon.
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Through their headphones, users can hear zombies chasing them and are given instructions to run in the real world to escape from them.
The app has already being called a breakthrough innovation in fitness and gaming, putting the player at the heart of the story.
The player is called ‘Runner Five’, who comes from a tiny base which is the last remnant of humanity after the zombie apocalypse.
Every time the player goes out running in the real world, they collect virtual ‘supplies’ such as batteries, water and canned food, for their community.
The player has to run frequently to keep the base growing and at the end of each run, they can decide how to allocate the batteries, bottled water or canned food.
And the more they run, the more they discover about the dark backstory. How did the zombie apocalypse happen? Is there any hope for a vaccine? What is Runner Five’s secret mission?
Since its launch on the iTunes App Store in late February, Zombies, Run! players have racked up 25 years worth of running in the real world.
That is the equivalent to over 200,000 hours or half a million miles – the distance to the Moon and back.
Adrian Hon, CEO and co-founder of Six to Start says: “I’m a keen runner and I wanted to create a game that would enhance the running experience.
“With Zombies, Run! you can run anywhere – city streets, parks, the beach, running trails, even on a treadmill – because our game measures how much you move as well as tracking the distance you run in the physical world.
“We’ve had literally thousands of emails, reviews, and tweets from players telling us how we’ve motivated them to run further and faster than before, all the way from kids aged 12 to grandparents aged 65.”
Naomi Alderman, lead writer on the project says: “It’s important to me that the game’s open to walkers as well as runners – people who are just starting on a fitness journey.
“We’re not going to penalise you for going slowly or demand you do your ‘personal best’ every time.
“We’re just going to tell you an amazing story, where you get to be the hero of your own zombie apocalypse and so even when you don’t really feel like getting out there you’ve got extra motivation to just put on your shoes and start.”
Zombies, Run! was created entirely by British developers, writers, artists, designers, and actors, and with over 90 percent of sales outside the UK, it’s a huge export success story.
The game was funded using Kickstarter, a crowd funding site where creative teams can help get projects off the ground by selling pre-orders and rewards.
In September 2011, Zombies, Run! attracted $73,000 in pledges from 3,500 backers around the world.
Zombies, Run! will be coming to the Android in May or June 2012 and additional updates across all platforms will be released across this year.
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The challenges to vaccine distribution affecting everyone
While it is comforting to know that vaccines against COVID-19 are showing remarkable efficacy, the world still faces intractable challenges with vaccine distribution. Specifically, the sheer number of vaccines required and the complexity of global supply chains are sure to present problems we have neither experienced nor even imagined.
Current projections estimate that we could need 12-15 billion doses of vaccine, but the largest vaccine manufacturers produce less than half this volume in a year. To understand the scale of the problem, imagine stacking one billion pennies – you would have a stack that is 950 miles high. Now, think of that times ten. This is a massive problem that one nation can’t solve alone.
Even if we have a vaccine – can we make enough? Based on current projections, Pfizer expects to produce up to 1.3 billion doses this year. Moderna is working to expand its capacity to one billion units this year. Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, is likely to produce 60% of the 3 billion doses committed by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi. This leaves us about 7 billion doses short.
Expanding vaccine production for most regions in the world is complicated and time-consuming. Unlike many traditional manufacturing operations that can expand relatively quickly and with limited regulation, pharmaceutical production must meet current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) guidelines. So, not only does it take time to transition from R&D to commercial manufacturing, but it could also take an additional six months to achieve CGMP certification.
The problem becomes even more complex when considering the co-products required. Glass vials and syringes are just two of the most essential co-products needed to produce a vaccine. Last year, before COVID-19, global demand for glass vials was 12 billion. Even if it is safe to dispense ten doses per vial, there is certain to be significant pressure on world supply of the materials needed to package and distribute a vaccine.
It is imperative drug manufacturers and their raw material suppliers have clear visibility of production plans and raw material availability if there is any hope of optimizing scarce resources and maximising production yield.
It is widely known by now that temperature is a critical factor for the COVID-19 vaccine. Even the regions with the most developed logistics infrastructures and resources needed to support a cold-chain network are sure to struggle with distribution.
For the United States alone, State and local health agencies have determined distribution costs will exceed $8.4 billion, including $3 billion for workforce recruitment and training; $1.2 billion for cold-chain, $1 billion vaccination sites and $0.5 billion IT upgrades.
The complexity of the problem increases further when considering countries such as India that do not have cold-chain logistics networks that meet vaccine requirements. Despite India’s network of 28,000 cold-chain units, none are capable of transporting vaccines below -25°Celsius. While India’s Serum Institute has licensed to manufacture AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which can reportedly be stored in standard refrigerated environments, even a regular vaccine cold chain poses major challenges.
Furthermore, security will undoubtedly become a significant concern that global authorities must address with a coordinated solution. According to the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, theft and counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products rose nearly 70% over the past five years. As with any valuable and scarce product, counterfeits will emerge. Suppliers and producers are actively working on innovative approaches to limit black-market interference. Corning, for example, is equipping vials with black-light verification to curb counterfeiting.
Clearly, this is a global problem that will require an unprecedented level of collaboration and coordination.
Disconnected information systems
While it is unreasonable to expect every country around the world will suddenly adopt a standard technology that would provide immediate, accurate and available information for everyone, it is not unreasonable to think that we can align on a standard taxonomy that can serve as a Rosetta Stone for collaboration.
A shared view of the situation (inventory, raw materials, delivery, defects) will provide every nation with the necessary information to make life-saving decisions, such as resource pooling, stock allocations and population coverage.
By allowing one central authority, such as the World Health Organization, to organize and align global leaders to a single collaboration standard, such as GS1, and a standard sharing protocol, such as DSCSA, then every supply chain participant will have the ability to predict, plan and execute in a way that maximises global health.
Political influence and social equality
As if we don’t have enough stress and churn in today’s geopolitical environment, we must now include the challenge of “vaccine nationalism.” While this might not appear to be a supply chain problem, per se, it is a critical challenge that will hinge on supply chain capabilities.
In response to the critical supply issues the world experienced with SARS-CoV-2, the World Health Organization, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) formed Covax: a coalition dedicated to equitable distribution of 2 billion doses of approved vaccines to its 172 member countries. Covax is currently facilitating a purchasing pool and has made commitments to buy massive quantities of approved vaccines when they become available.
However, several political powerhouse countries, such as the United States and Russia, are not participating. Instead, they are striking bilateral deals with drug manufacturers – essentially, competing with the rest of the world to secure a national supply. Allocating scarce resources is never easy, but when availability could mean the difference between life and death, it becomes almost impossible.
Global production, distribution and social equality present dependent yet conflicting realities that will demand global supply chains provide complete transparency and an immutable chain of custody imperative to vaccine distribution.
The technology is available today – we just need to use it. We have the ability to track every batch, pallet, box, vile and dose along the supply chain. We have the ability to know with absolute certainty that the vaccine is approved, where and when it was manufactured, how it was handled and whether it was compromised at any point in the supply chain. Modern blockchain technologies should be applied so that every nation, institution, regulator, doctor and patient can have confidence in knowing that they are making an impact in eradicating COVID-19.