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Global Internet of Things study suggests significant revenue growth for leading businesses

By Nitin Dahad

IOTSWC LogoA major new global study looking at the impact of IoT (Internet of Things) technologies across a wide range of industry sectors around the world, found that companies investing in IoT are reporting significant revenue increases as a result of IoT initiatives, with an average increase of 15.6 percent in 2014. Almost one in ten (9 percent) saw a rise of at least 30 percent in revenue.

Company executives see the IoT as a growing area for businesses, with 12 percent identifying a planned spend of $100 million in 2015 and 3 percent looking to invest a minimum of $1 billion among the 795 companies surveyed in the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) report. The report also shows that companies predict their IoT budgets to continue increasing year-on-year, with spending expected to grow by 20 percent by 2018 to $103 million.

Companies at the very forefront of this drive for innovation through IoT have seen the biggest benefits from their investments. The top eight percent of respondents, based on ROI (return on investment) from IoT, report a 64 percent average revenue gain in 2014 as a direct result of these investments. Currently the biggest business impact is that companies can offer their customers more bespoke products and services, yet by 2020 this will convert from marketing functions to increased sales, through adding considerable value to the customer.

This is reflected in the finding that the most frequent use of IoT technologies by companies is tracking customers through mobile apps, used by almost half of all businesses (47 percent). More than half (50.8 percent) of IoT leaders admit to investing in IoT to track their products and how these were performing, whereas this is only the case with 16.1 percent of the respondents with the lowest ROI from IoT.

Other findings of the report are:

  • Culture is the number one issue holding companies back: despite the encouraging data on IoT investment and its impact on revenue growth, the report revealed major challenges remain in realizing the promise of IoT for businesses across all sectors, particularly with corporate culture, leadership and the integration, security and reliability issues of the technology.
  • Healthcare lags industrial manufacturing, which stands out for IoT success: the healthcare sector has the greatest potential to benefit from the IoT, but remains one of the most underdeveloped industries due to regulatory restrictions and data security concerns that currently hinder innovation. The sector plans to spend just 0.3 percent of revenue in 2015, but will be increasing this investment by at least 30 percent by 2018. The healthcare market driven by the IoT is predicted to be worth $117 billion by 2020.

Executives in the industrial manufacturing sector are reporting the largest increase in revenue from IoT, with an average 28.5 percent, followed by financial services (17.7 percent) and media & entertainment (17.4 percent). The automotive industry has the lowest revenue gain with just a 9.9 percent increase.

The report, which looks at trends across 13 key industries, found that large-scale investment in IoT infrastructure and monitoring is not confined to those in manufacturing, however, with the travel, transportation and hospitality sectors planning to spend 0.6 percent of revenue this year. Media and entertainment companies will spend 0.57 percent of their revenue on IoT in this year – significantly more than the 0.4 percent average and the 0.44 percent spend in banking and financial services.

The industrial IoT, enterprise IoT, and the role of ecosystems and platforms for an outcome based economy using IoT will be among the many topics of discussion at the forthcoming IoT Solutions World Congress (IOTSWC) in Barcelona, where The Next Silicon Valley is a media partner. The IOTSWC will also explore many areas including healthcare, transportation (such as the ‘connected flight’) and energy.

Taking place in Barcelona from the 16th to the 18th of September 2015, the event will focus on the crossroads between IoT and Industry and will feature 80 companies and institutions. The global headquarters of leading multinationals such as Accenture, Amazon, Bosch, Deloitte, Deutsce Telekom, General Electric, HP, Indra, Intel, IBM, National instruments and Microsoft have chosen the Barcelona based event for several world premieres.

The newly launched event has also established a partnership with the Industrial Internet Consortium, the sector’s leading association, who has advised Fira de Barcelona in the design of the conference program. IOTSWC will also include an exhibition area that will feature not only companies and their latest innovations but also three testbeds with real-life applications of these solutions. These demonstrations will showcase enhanced aircraft assembly, power microgrid connectivity and emergency communications. For more information and to register, visit the event web site – click here.


USA millennial entrepreneurs lead WEF Technology Pioneers 2015

by Nitin Dahad

The latest report from the World Economic Forum says the USA still leads the list of its annual Technology Pioneers list, due largely to its entrepreneurs with millennial mindsets, availability of large domestic markets, and access to venture capital funding. Its list of tech pioneers consists of 49 companies from 10 countries.

Its main conclusion is that entrepreneurs are using their ‘millennial mindset’ and the record amount of venture capital available to address challenges in fields such as medtech, fintech, digital security and energy. While this millennial mindset is developing globally, American-based entrepreneurs continue to dominate the list of Technology Pioneers, accounting for more than two-thirds of the recipients, followed by the UK (4), Israel and the Netherlands (2), and individual recipients of Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and Taiwan, China. France and Spain were among the countries not counting a recipient.

Among those awarded are UK-based TransferWise, which revolutionized money transfers; Holland-based Plant-e, which generates electricity from plants; and US-based Editas Medicine, which is exploring genomic editing applications. They are part of a broader group of entrepreneurs who operate in sectors with high entry costs and at the centre of some of the world’s challenges, including energy production, healthcare, finance and digital security.

Fulvia Montresor, Head of Technology Pioneers at the World Economic Forum. “Today’s Technology Pioneers want to have their cake and eat it, too. Knowing the world has pressing challenges, they are following both their entrepreneurial passions and fulfilling their civic roles at the same time.”

World economic forum top countries fr VC raisedThe dominance of the USA can be linked to the available funding (see chart), large domestic market with uniform regulations and welcoming environment, says Montresor. “Money and a big market remain decisive, and the US has those to an extent that other regions can’t match.” It is a reason why some of the Tech Pioneers founded elsewhere, such as Avellino Labs with its Korean roots, have decided to build their companies in the US.

According to Ernst & Young data, featured in a recent Forum report on Alternative Investments, 2014 was the best year for venture capital since 2001, with investments of almost $87 billion. That constituted a rise of some 60% compared to 2013. US tech hubs in Silicon Valley, New York and Boston together accounted for more than 60% of the total, but other regions, particularly China and India, did see a dramatic rise.

The Technology Pioneers were selected from among hundreds of applicants by a selection committee of 68 academics, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and corporate executives. Members of the committee include Arianna Huffington (founder, Huffington Post) and Henry Blodget (editor-in-chief, Business Insider). The committee based its decisions on criteria including innovation, potential impact, working prototype, viability and leadership. Past recipients include Google (2001), Wikimedia (2007), Mozilla (2007), Kickstarter (2011) and Dropbox (2011).

Broadcast innovation and collaboration to take center stage at IBC 2015 Amsterdam

by Nitin Dahad

Part of the secret of successful innovation involves collaborative efforts, and this will be recognized in the broadcast industry at the forthcoming Innovation Awards in Amsterdam. The awards will recognize projects which have involved real collaboration between suppliers and users, and have solved a real challenge in content creation, content management and content delivery.

The shortlist of 10 finalists reflects some of the key issues affecting everyone in broadcasting and electronic media today – including new ways to regionalise content efficiently, create collaboratively and engage with audiences more closely. Using the latest technology in real-world applications, is the key theme, and the finalists are end users of collaborative projects: broadcasters, media enterprises and service providers. Says Michael Lumley, chair of the awards judging panel, “Their technology partners span the industry and indeed span the globe: one finalist is a Latin American broadcaster, running software developed by an Indian company using a communications platform from Spain.”

Content creation finalists

channel 4 singer takes it all

Channel 4

Three very different projects are contesting the award for most innovative project in content creation, embracing social media, local radio and sports oversight. The first nominee is the UK’s Channel 4 and its talent contest The Singer Takes it All. This was entirely dependent on an app, first to allow the contestants to audition karaoke-style, then for real-time voting on live shows to choose a winner. Technology partners were Chunk Digital, Electoral Reform Society, Endemol and Tectonic Interactive.

ViLoR – Virtualised Local Radio – is the BBC’s project to reinvent services for the regions of the United Kingdom, keeping the content local but using innovative technology to reduce equipment costs by 75 percent. The 40 BBC local radio stations each have their own creative teams, but all using common centralised equipment. This is thought to be the first large-scale roll-out of broadcast technology as a service. Developed largely in-house, the project used skills and equipment from a large number of suppliers, including Atos, Broadcast Bionics, Cisco, Comrex, EM Computers, EMC2, Glensound Electronics, HP, IMI Mobile, Mayah, Microsoft, Oracle, Scisys, Technica del Arte, Telos Axia, VMWare, Vodafone and Vortex.

The third finalist, the National Basketball Association (NBA), as part of its mission to be the most respected sports league organisation in the world, operates a central broadcast facility in Secaucus, New Jersey. Now it has added a powerful replay centre, managed by software-defined networking, to allow its officials to provide review and decision-making. With the possibility of 15 simultaneous games and nine camera angles at each, that means managing 144 feeds while making it simple for the game officials to concentrate on getting the right decision quickly. Cisco, Evertz, Samsung, The Systems Group and Zayo came together to collaborate on the technology.

Content management finalists

Two of America’s biggest broadcasters are on the shortlist for the most innovative content management project, each pioneers of IP connectivity and software-defined video. Disney/ABC Television Group has implemented a real-time IP distribution system for content around its New York distribution facility, based on 40 and 100 gigabit ethernet and handling uncompressed HD for more than 200 affiliated stations across the USA. The technology comes from AC Video Solutions, Arista, Imagine Communications and The Systems Group.

ESPN is also looking to the IP future, and has opened the first large-scale, fully ethernet connected production facility in the world. Digital Center 2 is home to five studios, 16 edit suites, six control rooms and some of the most popular sports television in the USA. Its technology partners included Arista Networks, Evertz and Vizrt.

SBS Broadcasting in Amsterdam has been looking at ways to improve the viewer experience of its films and drama series. It recognised that maintaining dramatic, high contrast audio was key, but it needed to be achieved with the best loudness practices, particularly on channels with commercial breaks. Finally, it had to do it all in a highly efficient, automated workflow. The result was an anchor-based loudness normalisation workflow, using technology from Delta Sigma Consultancy, Minnetonka Audio and Nugen Audio.

Dock10 has rapidly developed into one of the most efficient production and post production powerhouses in the UK. It has always encouraged collaborative and remote working, and its implementation of Field Dock, which allows creative teams to connect into its post network from locations or anywhere else they choose, earns it the fourth nomination in this category. The technical team from dock10 worked with Avid and Limecraft.

Content delivery finalists

While many nations have gone through the analog television switch-off process, few are even close to achieving it in radio. Norway is the exception: in 2017 it will shut off its FM radio network, replacing it with a DAB+ service that reaches 99.5 percent of the population. The country’s broadcast transmission provider Norkring is leading the project on behalf of broadcasters Digitalradio Norge, NRK, P4 Radio Hele Norge and SBS Discovery. Technology came from 2WCom, Aldena, Cisco, GatesAir, Kathrein-Werke, NEC, NetCom, Net Insight, Relacom, Site Service, SmartGrid, Spinner, Telenor Satellite Broadcasting and Telmec Broadcasting.

AMC Networks International transmits popular television channels into Latin America. It recently faced the challenge of the need to tailor the content for Portuguese-speaking Brazil, differentiating it from the largely Spanish-speaking rest of the continent. Rather than face the expense of a separate Brazil feed when only some of the content needed replacing, it developed a sophisticated system which stored replacement content in the cloud, triggering it using watermarked break bumpers. It allows a seamless workflow between AMC in New York, playout partner Telefonica in Spain and local satellite distributor Sky Brazil, and uses technology from Amagi Media Labs.

Pac-12 Networks – the broadcast arm of the conference of 12 west coast universities – offers 850 live televised sports events a year. To manage all of this, it uses commodity internet connections to link a basic crew at the event with its three central control rooms in San Francisco. The technology, which allows talkback, telemetry and telemetric data to travel to and from sports venues as much as 2500 km away with less than a frame delay, was developed with Internet2, Nevion and T-Vips.

IBC is one of the key annual events for professionals engaged in the creation, management and delivery of entertainment and news content worldwide, attracting over 55,000 attendees from more than 170 countries.

Fashion tech innovation to get its own catwalk in London

INTERLACED header fashion catwalkLondon is to host a fashion tech catwalk show aimed at bringing together technology innovators in fashion tech and wearable tech, as well as the key brands, academia and public, to help shape future fashion tech, and make fashion tech more relevant to its public.

To be held on 3rd September 2015, the event, called INTERLACED, will look at many different aspects of fashion technology, innovation and funding.  The organizers say there is a boom in wearable technology, and this is inspiring many aspiring creatives to jump on the wearable tech and fashion tech bandwagon, creating yet another wearable piece just for the sake of it in a bid to put themselves at the forefront of design.

The resulting preliminary saturation in such a newly established market has triggered a pool of negative connotations with flashiness and lack of justification. As designers have started deliberately omitting the term ‘wearable’ when talking about smart garments and accessories, the event organizers suggest that the industry may want to rethink how we refer to smart fashion. Also, in order to speed up innovation within fashion houses and technology companies, an increasing demand from the end-consumer needs to be apparent.

The event features an agenda covering everything from the game changing potential of 3D printing in fashion and the boom in wearable technology, to crowdfunding and sustainable fashion through technology. The hope is that the event will bring the fashion tech industry and the public closer through talks, panel discussions and one of the first catwalk shows featuring wearable tech alongside innovative fashion brands.

The founding members of INTERLACED – Kristina Dimitrova, Karina Abu Eshe and Hristiyan Pavlov  – say, “When it comes to fashion tech and wearables, there is a big education piece missing. It seems like no one wants to talk to the end-users who will essentially be the buyers for these products. We want to invite them to the party and start a dialogue around the next wave of fashion alongside the pioneers in the field, industry leaders, renowned academics and talented students. Moreover, we want to show them where this future is heading.”

The day will feature discussions around how technology is changing fashion, the way it’s impacting the industry and raise questions around rebranding wearables, retail channels for fashion tech and winning strategies for mainstream adoption.  Confirmed speakers and designers for the catwalk show already include fashion tech pioneers Cute Circuit, Kovert Designs, Shoes by Bryan, XOO, Ada + Nik, Melisa Coleman, Moritz Waldemeyer and many more.

Health 2.0 Europe: a vision of the future of medicine

By Mukund Kanoria

We present a roundup of our thoughts on Health 2.0 which took place in Barcelona last week, where The Next Silicon Valley was a media partner.

Photo: Bayer HealthCare AG

Photo: Bayer HealthCare AG

As a result of competition, conflicting interests, a challenging regulatory environment and political fiddling most healthcare systems are a bit millennium falcon; doddery old behemoths rocketing through space and time, held together by a handful of brilliant minds (see  our previous article here). By hosting some incredible technology and panel discussions, Health 2.0 offered more than just an industry gathering and knowledge sharing opportunity for those in healthcare technology; it offered a view of what medicine could and hopefully will become, and how to get there.

Data – quality and quantity

With the rise of open source alternatives and the financial and legal complexities involved, intellectual property can be a poor way of protecting your product. As Mike Lee of pointed out, the best way you can protect your product is by having a better product than anyone else.  Data is becoming an increasingly important player in this regard. The way he maintains his lead is by having more users and so a larger data volume, thus the ability to provide more accurate information, achieving better results for customers and so creating a virtuous cycle.

The next step is of course how to use that data effectively. One of the most fascinating products is the combined lifestyle and genetics tracking software made by BaseHealth, which predicts and quantifies modifiable and non-modifiable disease vulnerability and even more interestingly, food and drug response and sensitivity.

Open source – no device is an island

Whilst easy to dismiss as trendy, there is a strong case for opening up the flow of information in the healthcare technology sector, a view backed both by industry leaders and healthcare professionals at the conference. With a multitude of hardware and software options facing both patients and professionals the best way to increase appeal is compatibility.  Open source platforms reduce cost and increase ease of use for the end user as they need to invest less in a multiple devices or programmes that perform similar functions. Given the high cost of medical solutions and the complexity of learning how to use them, reducing these barriers mean broader uptake of any one product.

Patient centric – shifting from product to service

As demonstrated by the explosion in the wearables market there are lots of interesting products all claiming to be the next big thing. The ones that will truly make an impact are those that understand that success results from cohesion and quality. With even big pharma hosting a panel discussion on the topic, companies looking to retain customers must consider the overall patient experience and create a service that proactively adds value to users’ lives. An excellent example is Esysta’s insulin pen which tracks time and dose of insulin, but goes on to complete the value chain by uploading tracking data, sending mobile reminders and helping with carbohydrate calculations, and so covering almost all of the patient and healthcare professionals interests with regards to insulin provision.

Thus we have a vision of the future. A progressive healthcare environment that integrates technology to promote overall wellbeing, rather than the current spot adoption of isolated products and locations.

The healthcare market is not without it’s difficulties however. As pointed out several times during the conference aggressive regulation and the scepticism of professionals are difficult to navigate and take a level of patience and commitment unsuited to those looking for a quick buck. On the other hand high quality, evidence based offerings that reflect understanding of the healthcare and business environment they fit into have industry changing potential.

Mukund Kanoria was reporting on behalf of The Next Silicon Valley in Barcelona. He is with Advinia Healthcare Ltd. 

The role of ‘smart homes’ in the wellbeing of residents

The term ‘smart’ is applied in many different environments, and often involves connected sensors and devices sending lots of data which can then be acted upon for the benefit of the environment or people in that environment. In this article, we look at an example of IoT in a smart home, and how it can effectively help the wellness of residents living in that home.

By Anita Lankinen

Photo: American Society of Interior Designers

Photo: American Society of Interior Designers

In traditional houses inhabitants act as ‘living sensors’ for indoor condition problems. In most cases air quality, humidity level, CO2 concentration and other indoor measurements are analyzed only after complaints from tenants regarding headaches or some respiratory symptoms. However, even mild symptoms may signify the development of severe lifetime sicknesses like asthma.

We now live in a world of smart homes and connected objects. However, true value comes from even smarter means. Whereas the Internet of things (IoT) is at large about simply connecting every thing, more can and should be done when it comes to analyze and control.

The existing ‘smart home’ solutions and wellness

Things, as well as people, are influenced by their environment, and the environment and other conditions change over time. That’s why it is essential to record the entire lifecycle of a building and the people (and things) living in it. On top of all that stored data, smart algorithms will enable automatic awareness of any changes and create predictions for the future. This creates a virtual ‘smart counterpart’ of the entire building. This counterpart is known as spime, a term originally coined by author Bruce Sterling. It is defined as ‘a futuristic object that can be tracked through space and time throughout its lifetime’.

However, spimes are nothing futuristic anymore. They are already out there and in use throughout all kinds of industries – construction industry included. Global IoT operator BaseN has already spime’d houses in The Netherlands in cooperation with construction giant VolkerWessels. Building components of the newly built houses, such as heat pumps and ventilation units, were equipped with sensors. Their lifetime data is gathered from the very beginning and correlated through other conditions inside and outside the building.

Access to this data is provided both to the tenants and the facility management. The building’s energy and water consumption and environmental conditions (CO2 concentration, indoor temperature and humidity level) are managed through the building’s spime. The spime, for example, automatically adjusts ventilation if the level of CO2 concentration in the house is detected to be too high. The tenants are also able to access all the information on air quality through their customer portals. In addition, production measurements of the rooftops’ PV cells are fed to the spime, providing useful performance data to facility management as well.

The fact that the spimes record the full lifetime history of the houses allows tracking changes in energy consumption and environmental patterns over time. This enables optimization of various settings, ensures preventive maintenance in case of suboptimal performance of equipment, and gives full transparency to both the tenants and the service company. BaseN manages the collection, storage, analysis, control and visual presentation of real-time data from device-specific smart meters (e.g. washing machine, laundry dryer, stove, oven) and sensor-equipped building components (e.g. heat pumps, ventilation units).

The future of spime’d houses

There are still improvements which can be done both during a building’s maintenance and construction phase to make the houses ‘smart’. Existing energy and water consumption management systems can be complemented by additional features, thus providing more security to prevent e.g. water leakages in the apartments. This can be done by introducing a ‘home away’ feature, which notifies the tenant when water is consumed at home, while he or she is away. The feature has already been implemented in another project, Adjutantti, the first of its kind low-energy apartment house in Finland.

During construction works quality of building materials might be influenced by various factors: the woods can be partially wet after heavy rains at the construction site and the concrete can be utilized by the workers when it is not at the appropriate level of dryness. However, due to scheduling issues, constructors are often pressured to use the materials when those are not in a perfect state.

Spiming building materials during the construction phase will help solve this challenge. Additionally, sensors kept in the concrete also after the house construction has been finalized, allow for constantly analyzing the moisture levels of a building’s walls, thereby ensuring that the house ‘breathes’ the way it should.

The most important aspect, though, is the effect on the quality of life of the building’s inhabitants. Their home’s spime will always ensure that they live in perfect living conditions automatically adjusting, e.g. temperature and lighting, and will allow for immediate preventive action, e.g. in the case of deterioration of air quality. The home becomes an active enabler of a person’s health, wellbeing and happiness. That is what makes a smart home truly smart.

Anita Lankinen is with BaseN Corporation.

Innovation: not just about ideas in a lab, it’s now open and collaborative


by Nitin Dahad

The term ‘innovation’ has become so common in daily language that it is easy for policymakers to forget what it actually means as it covers so many different aspects of the economic growth agenda.  In the past innovation might have been about ground-breaking new research, technology, or processes developed in a lab where engineers or scientists sat in a well-partitioned division that focused on ‘blue-sky’ thinking.

But now innovation is different. Companies don’t invest in such departments, but instead might acquire innovative ideas or companies. Today we have ‘open innovation’, and it is often more collaborative. The latter was demonstrated well in an experiment last week conducted at the Long Term Care Revolution Live event in London, hosted by a bank in the city of London and organized by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, in conjunction with the Digital Health & Care Institute.

The task set by Roland Harwood of Open 100%Open was to assemble in groups of people who have never met before to create an innovative business idea to solve the long term health needs of a population. Members of each group which had only just assembled and asked to come up with a business idea that could potentially exploit the skills and knowledge of the members of the group – within just under 15 minutes of being introduced to each other.

The challenge was to see if it was possible to implement successful open innovation, based on connecting new people and generating fresh ideas and opportunities in a live group environment. It was of course successful, and a number of excellent business ideas were presented.

This was all part of a UK£4 million government funded disruptive innovation national challenge aimed at radically revolutionizing the current institutional model of long term care in the UK. Such action is needed because it is thought that by 2030 there will be 2 million adults in the UK without adult children to look after them; and with significant government cuts planned to health services, together with pressures on the system, there will be no formal or informal support for them to call upon.

Such challenges and competitions are now commonplace around the world, set by both government agencies and large corporates. In Wales for example, the ‘CoInnovate’ conference taking place next month (June) will do just this. Organized by IQE PLC, General Dynamics UK, Airbus Group, GE Healthcare, the ESTnet (the technology network for Wales) and Welsh Government, it will focus on providing business opportunities across the digital, healthcare and defence and security sectors.

A number of ‘challenges’ will be set by the anchor technology companies, offering innovative ideas presented at the event with the opportunity to be supported or funded to be converted to real opportunities and work with the larger companies.

The technology sector in Wales contributes in excess of UK£7 billion to the economy, has a GVA (gross value added) of UK£92,000 per job and employs around 24,000 people. Economy minister Edwina Hart said, “I am delighted the Welsh Government is supporting this event which encourages open innovation and collaboration which can benefit businesses of all sizes – and ultimately the Welsh economy. The involvement of some of our anchor companies opens up exciting opportunities for smaller enterprises to get actively involved, understand the benefits of collaboration and potentially win new business.”

Chris Meadows, head of open innovation at IQE plc, added, “Innovation and collaboration are at the forefront of IQE’s business. We continually seek to work with new and existing partner organizations to develop and enhance our supply chain and to help develop new technologies and capabilities.”

The Long Term Health Care and Colnnovate events are typical of the initiatives being taken globally to create innovative ideas and generate growth. As Professor Eugene A. Fitzgerald said in an article this week, “ innovation is the alternative that allows big businesses to work with each other, start-up companies, and academia to create truly fundamental innovations to the challenges they face. Open innovation ecosystems allow these parties to pool their strengths, budgets and practices together to invent new solutions to the challenge of creating ground-breaking, inspirational technology.”

He also says, “That’s why you routinely hear of multinational companies buying smaller developers just to get hold of the innovations. Buying proven innovations just makes better business sense than funding the developments of many potential dead ends.”

And this is the key to today’s innovation: it’s about open innovation, collaboration, and creating ecosystems that allow ideas and funders of those ideas to come together.

Technology in healthcare, women’s health, and accelerators – all at Health 2.0 Europe

By Nitin Dahad

The impact of technology on healthcare has been a strong theme in many discussions I have had over the last few weeks. With the Health 2.0 conference taking place this month in Barcelona, it’s timely that market intelligence firm Tractica has released a report indicating 78 million consumers will utilize home health technologies by 2020.

This seems to be a very conservative figure given the growing number of companies that seem to be developing connected devices and apps for monitoring various conditions. According to principal analyst Charul Vyas, “Key factors driving interest in home healthcare technologies include rising healthcare costs, aging populations, and a rise in the number of people living with chronic diseases.”

Tractica Home Health 2014-2020 chartThe report says that the ability to remotely monitor patients with chronic conditions, utilize technology for improved eldercare, and conduct virtual physician consultations (eVisits) is being seen as a way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the overall healthcare system, as well as to improve patient outcomes.  Meanwhile, home health devices and applications are leveraging the ubiquity of residential broadband networking and smartphones to help consumers manage health and wellness on an ongoing basis.

The analyst adds, “However, significant challenges remain for the industry to solve, including regulatory issues, data security and privacy, and technology interoperability and integration issues.”

These are some of the issues we highlighted previously as topics of debate at the 6th Annual Health 2.0 Europe conference, taking place 18-20 May 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.

Technology innovating women’s health care

One of the other important topics being touched on is women’s health – companies like Bayer Healthcare, Lumira and LARAcompanion provide an insight into the market and the mobile technologies innovating women’s health. In particular it looks at market opportunities, gaps in gender based evaluations in clinical and pharma spaces and wellness.

For example, Helen Figge of Lumira talks about their Consult platform which acts as health information exchange by connecting disparate data sources. As with many heath technology solutions, Lumira captures connected device data in real-time, populating the platform with relevant stats and plotting progress over time. The theory is that with continuous updates coming into the platform, care managers will be able to keep tabs on their whole patient population and spot the people that need care quicker.

Other speaker’s in this technology in women’s health session include Juliane Zielonka, co-founder and CEO of LARAcompanion, a mobile health program for overcoming infertility; Jessica Federer, chief digital officer of Bayer Healthcare, one of the world’s largest women’s health advocates; and Harroula Bilali, an expert in fertility and pregnancy, and founding partner of Bilalis Women Wellness Medical Practice, which combines cutting edge medical science with integrative care in assisted reproduction and pregnancy.

Seeding the innovation – accelerators and connected health tools

At the Health 2.0 conference, there is a deep dive into everything from accelerators, to open APIs, to connected health tools. Bayer Grants4Apps, SoftServe and iHealth Labs in particular highlight where innovation is needed and how new partners, collaborators, and entrepreneurs can become involved.

The head of Bayer’s Grants4Apps Digital Health Accelerator, Jesus del Valle, talks about the role of health care accelerators. At the conference, he will speak about the lessons gained from the Grants4Apps Accelerator in Berlin, where Bayer Healthcare provides mentorship, support, and funding for companies developing health IT solutions to better connect and empower patients or health care stakeholders.

SoftServe talks about the future for electronic medical records. The backdrop is that core medical data is already becoming a small percentage of an overall personal health record, and existing EMR platforms are over 20 years old and struggling to keep up due to archaic architectures, millions of lines of code, that are making little differentiation in the workflow of their provider clients, and the resulting health of those patients. The future will be about open API’s and integrated data to drive a more personalized level of precision medicine at the point of care.

For more information on Health 2.0 and registration, click here.

The next ‘Silicon Valley’ is everywhere: the key is to attract the right talent

SiliconValley_mby Nitin Dahad

Everyone wants to build the next Silicon Valley, says Dileep Rao in a Forbes article recently. He is spot on with his analysis. A common question I get asked is ‘where is the next Silicon Valley’ – and it is also one that many business and mainstream media also ask in various articles and commentaries.  All appear to be on a quest to identify the next big tech hub that has the ingredients that can generate the economic impact that Silicon Valley itself does.

The question ‘What is the Next ‘Silicon Valley?’ is also posed in in the New York Times. This is an interesting narrative on locations proclaiming to be the top destination for technology business or the next big Silicon Valley-like tech hub – places such as Chicago, Orlando or South Bend, Ind.  It says however that tech businesses and ‘nerds’ still want to go to Silicon Valley – despite the attraction of many other locations.

This attraction of Silicon Valley seems to be reflected in the numbers. If you look at research from the Brookings Institution, it highlights that among the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, San Jose, California, ranks first in ‘advanced industry’ employment as a share of total employment. ‘Advanced Industries’ is characterized by its deep involvement with technology research and development (R&D) and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) workers; this sector encompasses 50 industries ranging from manufacturing industries such as auto-making and aerospace to energy industries such as oil and gas extraction to high-tech services such as computer software and computer system design, including for health applications.

The institute says advanced industries represent a sizable economic anchor for the US economy and this sector has led post-recession employment recovery. Modest in size, the sector packs a massive economic punch – as such, these industries encompass the country’s best shot at supporting innovative, inclusive, and sustainable growth.

The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) also says that places with strong tech/information growth have survived the recession much better that their counterparts. In particular, counties with a higher number of new tech/information sector jobs from 2007 to 2012 had enjoyed substantially faster growth in both overall private employment and non-tech jobs over the same period.

In their PPI Tech/Info Job Index, which measures the number of new tech/information jobs between 2007 and 2012 as a share of 2007 total private sector employment in that county, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties come in the top three – all are in Northern California, embracing the broader area known as ‘Silicon Valley’. The implication of the index is that policies encouraging tech/info growth are more likely to boost the overall economy.

So the question ‘where is the next Silicon Valley’ is not really about replicating Silicon Valley. It’s more about asking which places are creating the tech jobs and ecosystems that can generate the type of economic impact that Silicon Valley has been able to do via this route – creating the tech jobs of the new economy. We now see many places are building their own local version of Silicon Valley, not necessarily just trying to replicate it.

This takes me back to Dileep Rao’s article – what are the key ingredients to creating a Silicon Valley like ecosystem? I summarize his seven ‘rules’ here:

  1. Attract the world’s best, brightest, and hungriest.
  2. Develop entrepreneurial radicals who will focus on the next hot trend.
  3. Don’t ration success from the top down. Build success from the bottom-up.
  4. Design the infrastructure to build new giants.
  5. Organize funding institutions to feed the growth after ‘Aha’.
  6. It’s the entrepreneurs, stupid.
  7. Beat Silicon Valley.

Overall, it’s about the people and openness – as Rao says, “It is not enough to encourage locals to become brighter. Silicon Valley was not built by the locals, who were mainly in orange groves. Silicon Valley grew because of its ability and openness to attract the world’s best, brightest, and hungriest. Other areas do try to pick their best and then educate them to do great things. But Silicon Valley can do that and more – it can draw them from the distant corners of the world.”

He adds, “In many parts of the world, bright minds are wasted because the rich and the powerful control, as in many Asian, African, and Latin American countries, or bright, young minds join the country’s established organizations rather than pursuing their dream, as in Germany. To grow, areas need to focus on smarts, not skin color; on potential, not breeding; on the motivated, not on the blue-bloods; on practical achievement, not academic brilliance; on open walls, not closed doors; and on law, not corruption. This is the most important rule.”

Many governments, innovation agencies and economic development agencies have recognized these factors, and are indeed creating their own thriving entrepreneur ecosystems focused on nurturing local talent and attracting talent from around the world.  And that means there is not just one next ‘Silicon Valley’, but many such places evolving around the world.

Global FDI declines, but USA still attracts strong investment

by Nitin Dahad

Regional and economic development agencies nowadays are very proactive in the measures they take to create their own Silicon Valley like ecosystems, so that they can attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and boost local economic growth. Almost all agencies are focused on FDI to stimulate job growth, and to enhance their innovation environment with new products and technologies, processes, and management talent.

FDI-investment globe piggy bankWhile global FDI declined by about eight percent in 2014, to an estimated US$1.26 trillion, Europe, China and developing economies saw a rise in FDI inflows, while the USA saw a decline. According to an UNCTAD global investment trends report earlier this year, among the top five FDI recipients in the world, four are developing economies, which saw their FDI inflows reach a new high of more than US$700 billion, four percent higher than 2013, with a global share of 56 percent. At regional level, flows to developing Asia were up, those to Africa remained flat, while FDI to Latin America declined.

FDI flows to developed countries dropped by 14 percent to an estimated US$511 billion, significantly affected by a large divestment in the United States. FDI flows to the European Union (EU) reached an estimated US$267 billion, a 13 percent increase on 2013.

Despite the decline in total investment, the USA is still an economy that foreign companies look to. According to Area Development magazine, the USA economy’s primary location advantages are its open markets and investment climate, considered to be the strongest in the world. It also benefits from vast consumer markets, world-renowned universities and research institutions, a skilled and productive workforce, entrepreneurial culture, and transparent regulatory environment.

Once a company makes the decision to invest in the USA, it says, the location search progresses much like any other site selection project. International companies must identify the most important location factors for their particular businesses, and industries must analyze the differences in land prices, utility rates, tax rates, workforce, and business incentives among different U.S. locations.

It says that state-level economic development agencies pursue a variety of strategies to attract FDI, including targeted marketing and business development campaigns, generous business incentives, and old-fashioned relationship-building through trade missions, operation of permanent offices abroad, and intense networking through their existing international business communities.

In my opinion, not many other countries are as strong in their FDI awareness strategy as the USA economic development agencies. They understand marketing in the true sense of the word – and quite often they develop an integrated campaign rather than just a single tactic campaign. This is why, despite the decline in 2014, I believe the USA will spring back in coming years as a top FDI destination – unless of course other countries get marketing savvy and learn from their American counterparts.

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