Tag Archives: healthcare

I’ve found the best app and it’s not Pokémon

If you see these in the street, watch out for the impending stampede
If you see these in the street, watch out for the impending stampede

There is a trend for financial and retail companies to offer additional benefits at the checkout – whether it’s spreading payments for large purchases, insurance or charity donations. Some banks are offering ‘save the small change’ functionality, rounding the purchase up to the nearest dollar or pound and putting that change into a holding account.

I know a few people who collect small change (or a particular coin). Every day they put it in a jar, then at the end of the year they donate it to charity or buy themselves a gift. This is obviously harder to do with electronic payments at the moment.

With new challenger banking apps appearing on users’ smartphones, retail banks are starting to offer their customers value added services at the point of payment. Continue reading I’ve found the best app and it’s not Pokémon

Garmin Forerunner 235 ‘Smartwatch’ Review (I Love It)

The Garmin Forerunner 235. I wish I had as many hairs on my head as my arms. Nice watch though.
I wish I had as many hairs on my head as on my arms. Nice watch though.

After months of stating that I won’t get a smart watch, I’ve gone and bought one. Sort of. And I’m delighted with it. It’s the Garmin Forerunner 235.

I’ve been preparing to run a marathon since the start of 2016. During training my mile paces (timings) were all over the place. During a half marathon in May, someone suggested I get a GPS based running watch to keep my paces consistent.

After a little research I realised the decent ones are well over £200 and I didn’t want to spend that much. I found a way to get a 50% discount on the specific watch I wanted, the Garmin Forerunner 235, and now I’m hooked – not just on the running features. Continue reading Garmin Forerunner 235 ‘Smartwatch’ Review (I Love It)

How Insurance will use Internet of Things technologies

In October I’m giving a keynote speech at an insurance event and I’ve been asked to speak about new technologies and trends. Separately, one of the readers of this site, Doug, recently emailed me asking whether I had “any insight into the insurance sector, and company’s use of Internet of Things technologies?

Here are some thoughts which I’ve been thinking about for a while.

In its truest form, Internet of Things, or IoT for short, applies to an electronic device which has Internet connectivity capability – i.e. it can send data to, or receive data from services on the Internet. Continue reading How Insurance will use Internet of Things technologies

How education, healthcare and politics are going to be transformed in the new digital age

I’ve been working on a new presentation for Endava’s Future of Digital Payments event in London at the end of June. The talk will link the Government’s work on the Identity Assurance scheme with the architectural changes that retail banks have been implementing to enable mobile banking through APIs.

Imagine a digital identity as trusted as this paper book
Imagine a digital identity as trusted as this paper book

Banks have been relatively slow to implement APIs, but it will open up more opportunities than they would have imagined at the start of these programmes.

This got me thinking about how identity assurance and digital identity could transform other industries.

Continue reading How education, healthcare and politics are going to be transformed in the new digital age

Review of 2013 predictions

How did my 2013 Digital Media predictions from last December turn out?

2013 was due to be another tough year. Still in the depths of the recession, 2013 followed the pick-me-up of the 2012 London Olympics – it was billed as the hangover year. But 2013 proved, especially in the UK, to be a signal of the end of the recession.

Yahoo! stock price in 2013 - don't you just wish you'd bought a few more of these?
Yahoo! stock price in 2013 – don’t you just wish you’d bought a few more of these?

1. Many, many new devices will be launched

A number of UK retailers and European super brands launched their own tablet devices – Argos, Tesco & Deutsche Telekom to name a few.

And at the end of the year we’ve seen the launch of the new XBox One and PlayStation 4.

And continuing the tradition of previous predictions that it will finally be the year of the 3D printer, even Argos think that at some point we’ll be printing stuff out at home.

Prediction rating: 9/10

2. Yahoo! Makes! A! Comeback!

At the start of 2013, Yahoo! stocks were $19.90. I’m writing this article on 17 December, and Yahoo! stocks are $39.51. A double exclamation mark for that!!

The reason for that valuation? According to Comscore, Yahoo! has seen a 21% increase in visitor numbers, and in July had more traffic than Google.

Prediction rating: 10/10

3. Microsoft to return

It’s been a mixed year for Microsoft. On the good news front, Windows 8.1 has helped with the market perception of their latest Operating System. Personally I couldn’t go back from Windows 8, I really like it. XBox One has also helped.

On the not so good news, 2013 has seen a stuttering stock price and the CEO Steve Ballmer resigned.

In neutral news, Microsoft bought Nokia for $7 billion this year – let’s see what happens.

Microsoft is still a fantastic company. 16% growth (year on year) in the first quarter for 2014 to $18.5 billion revenue with a healthy profit margin. A new CEO who can sort out a strategy for the next decade will also sort out the stock price.

Prediction rating: 6/10

 4. Indoor GPS

Indoor GPS hasn’t taken off as expected. Google are busy mapping (and recording Street View) as many shopping malls and larger buildings as they can.

Prediction rating: 2/10 – perhaps a year or two early

 5. Learning to switch off

2013 didn’t quite promote Quiet-modes as much as I’d expected (or hoped). That being said, when I went on holiday in the Summer and told people I wouldn’t have my mobile or laptop with me, they said it was an inspiration, but they wouldn’t be able to follow suit.

Prediction rating: 1/10 – Am I alone??!

6. Context sensitive

Google has become even more context sensitive in 2013, especially on Android devices with the launch of Google Now. 2014 will see new Android releases which push Google Now to the main menu screen.

Unfortunately other websites haven’t followed suit. I’m not sure whether it’s the funding or the want, or the imagination to build a page which could be different for everyone. Either way, we’re not seeing as many context sensitive, personalised experiences as we should.

Prediction rating: 2/10

7. The end of the QR code

Thankfully I haven’t seen many QR codes recently.

The last time I saw one was when I received Google Glass, and it was used to transfer a number of settings from my computer to Glass. So it made a lot of sense. A lot more sense than replacing a human readable, memorable domain name with a QR code – and that’s why I dislike them.

Prediction rating: 9/10 – QR RIP

 8. Healthcare apps

Our company healthcare insurance has launch a smartphone app which tracks how much exercise we all do. It groups everyone from Endava together and shows a leaderboard of who’s done the most exercise – a great piece of gamification.

We’re at the tip of the iceberg. In years to come we won’t visit a doctor for routine appointments, we’ll use sensors on our smartphone to communicate with healthcare professionals.

Prediction rating: 7/10

9. Drones buzzing in the sky

My favourite TED video this year was about robotic (i.e. automated, unpiloted) drones. And this month Amazon announced that by 2015 they’ll be using drones for deliveries, assuming legislation is available.

Drones will change society more than any other technology in the foreseeable future.

Prediction rating: 7/10 – A bit too early, but we’re on the cusp of a an amazing change to society

Summary

That’s a total of 53 out of a possible 90. Not as good as previous years, although I’d tried to be more adventurous than previous years. I’ll release the 2014 predictions in the next couple of weeks.

2013 Digital Media predictions

In 2010, 2011 and 2012, I made some predictions about Digital Media in the following year, and in late December of each year I reviewed and scored them (here’s the results from 20102011 and 2012 Digital Media predictions).

Last year some work colleagues accused me of playing the predictions safe. Interestingly one of the predictions was about the share price of Akamai, yet they didn’t invest in the company despite my prediction about the price increasing…

So here are my 2013 Digital Media predictions:

1. Many, many new devices will be launched

We’re so used to hearing about Apple launching new devices that it’s easy to forget there are other vendors out there. In late 2013 we’ll see the new Xbox and Playstation arrive, and I expect they will be amazing. Remember how revolutionary the Wii controllers were? And then Kinect moved the game (no pun intended) on to show controller-less games. I expect the next consoles from Microsoft and Sony will improve upon Kinect – fasters response times and more playability.

I’ve been promoting 3D printers since 2010 http://blog.bradbox.com/the-real-3d and predicting that every year will be the year it becomes mainstream. In 2013 I really really really expect people will be buying them! You’ll be printing disposable cutlery, kids toys and anything else you can think of – all at home. Sites such as shapeways http://www.shapeways.com/ are already appearing with designs to download and print.

2. Yahoo! Makes! A! Comeback!|

Competition is always healthy, and the dominance of Facebook has been unhealthy in the last couple of years. The top photo sharing library, Instagram, was acquired up by Facebook and its charm of degrading photo quality all but disappeared in six months.

Step forward Marissa Mayer of Google fame (…how the world had underestimated how good a job she made of Google Maps until Apple tried it!). Yahoo!’s share price has increased 30% from $15 when she joined to almost $20. She’s spotted the power of Flickr (which I have always preferred for my personal photos and as a creative commons library for this blog).

I reckon Yahoo!’s share price will be at least $30 by the end of 2013 and we’ll see some quality innovation appearing from the company.

3. Microsoft to return

Messenging tools – Yammer, Skype, MSN Messenger, Lync. Office 2013. Windows 8. Surface. The new Xbox. Bing. Exchange 2013. Sharepoint 2013. Office 365. Skydrive. Azure. We think Facebook is ubiquitous, but it doesn’t come close to Microsoft. There is no other technology company that we use so many of its products across our personal and professional lives.

Anecdotally I’ve spoken to many people who have moved to iMacs in the last 12 months and are either disenchanted (“It still slows down over time like a PC”) or use Microsoft Windows on their iMac anyway!

2013 will be an amazing year for Microsoft in terms of value and brand positioning.

4. Indoor GPS

Shopping malls seem to be growing. We’re so used to using our smartphones as GPS devices in the outdoors, that it seems obvious to start using them for indoor navigation too.

Macy’s have used indoor GPS (http://mashable.com/2012/11/08/macys-indoor-gps/) as part of their app. Expect to see shopping malls and retailers add similar functionality to their apps. It will also be interesting to see if Google/ Bing/ Apple will add indoor navigation to their map products.

5. Learning to switch off

Have you been to a campsite recently? They’re packed. Mud has become fun again, not considered a biohazard any longer. Escaping technological comforts has never been better.

One of the most welcome releases of the iOS 6 in 2012 was ‘Do Not Disturb’. We want to gain control back from mobile and electronic interruptions. When I write documents and presentations, I now switch Outlook off. Interruptions are annoying and lower our productivity. My laptop has alerts popping up from Outlook, Gmail, Tweetdeck, Skype and Dropbox.

Expect to see more ‘Quiet modes’. Windows 8 has brought back full screen experiences rather than multiple windows – we’ll get a lot more work done this way.

6. Context sensitive

Google results have felt relevant to us because if I type in a search term, it will present me with relevant information. If I type in ‘Indian’ it lists local Indian restaurants, followed by Indian motorcycles (because Google knows I’m interested in bikes).

In 2013 we’ll be using websites that will take a number of factors into account – from the weather, to profiles of ‘similar’ customers, our previous interactions, social media feeds, whether we’re on a mobile or desktop and so on. I don’t think wider society is ready for noticeable personalisation, which I feel is a shame, so we’ll see much more subtle changes to user interfaces and results in the next 12 months.

7. The end of the QR code

QR codes annoy me – how can an illegible symbol be better than a human readable web address? The answer is that QR codes were supposed to be a trackable or more complicated link that we lazy humans wouldn’t use if we can read it.

QR codes should have been the first step to one click impulse purchasing, so that a consumer could select a specific product at the bus stop, and pay within seconds. Instead, marketing companies have dumbed them down to illegible web site addresses.

At the end of 2013 I’ll report on the last time I saw a QR code – it will have been several months.

8. Healthcare apps

My GP surgery started a website booking system (that’s completely unusable – I tried registering twice). In 2013 we’ll start using Facetime and other apps to communicate with healthcare professionals and companies.

Healthcare companies will start using social media to help us improve our lifestyle in innovative ways.

9. Drones buzzing in the sky

Robocop had it all wrong with ED209 (http://www.omnicorp.com/). Why would you have a security robot in the future when you can have a flying drone. You can already buy drones with cameras that provide real time video streaming.

In the future, if you’re at home and hear a noise downstairs in the middle of the night, you won’t go downstairs trembling, you’ll send a small drone downstairs to have a look around.

Back to 2013 though, we’ll start seeing security companies using drones to patrol the outside of buildings. There are some interesting social questions that will be raised though – do you own the airspace in your home? If you send a drone to the next door neighbour’s garden, who do you complain to? Can you shoot it down? Will we start having surface to air missile units on our roofs? Is it really science fiction?

 

How to speed up X-rays

Homersimpsonxray1

Regular readers here will know that I enjoy looking at (and dramatically over simplify!) existing social or economic issues that could be solved with better technology, and here’s another one that struck our family this weekend.

Anyone with more than two children close in age will know how they always compete for seats in a car. If you aren’t in this category, just take my word for it. Even Usain Bolt couldn’t run quicker than my kids from my front door to the car when we leave for a family outing.

On Sunday afternoon we all left for a swimming lesson and 30 seconds later, the kids had piled into the car and one of them shut the door on my five year old’s arm. One very loud scream later and I ran to open the car door. No exaggeration – her hand was trapped outside the car and the door was completely closed.

Fifteen minutes later we were in the local A&E department and a short while after that, she’d had her arm x-rayed.

X-rays have changed over the last few years. They are now completely electronic, which makes them almost instant to take and process, and then the doctor examines them on their computer monitor a few minutes later.

The doctor took a look and said that there wasn’t a break, just some bruising. He said that if she is still in pain in the next few days, to take her to our GP.

Today at school she started complaining of some pain in her arm and the school called Mrs H who then took my daughter to the local GP as instructed yesterday. The GP said that he can’t access the X-rays for 7 days. And now my technology solutioning begins…

Disclaimer: I worked with the NHS for four years in my first job. I know that the amount of data they process is huge, and there are very few companies who have a ‘customers’ or ‘user’ base as large as the NHS, so I know there are some limitations, but here goes:

X-rays should be hosted by a Flickr-style web site that all health workers can access securely. The data storage required is immense – but that data is all stored by the separate hospitals at the moment for X-rays! So consolidate it on to a Flickr-style platform. For data throughput comparisons, YouTube currently processes over 600 videos per minutes (over 25 hours of content) and there are over 6,600 Flickr photos uploaded per minute.

If that solution sounds too farfetched (and remember, Flickr was created in 2004), it should at least be possible for a GP to get a digital copy of an X-ray emailed across within 8 working hours from a hospital – not 7 working days.

Once again I offer you the opportunity for me to over-simplify any other social or economic issue and provide a 21st century technology solution!

 

NHS Direct

What_is_nhs_direct

I was disappointed to hear that the government have decided to shut down NHS Direct for a number of reasons.

On a personal note, as a family we have used the service many times. With four young kids we have all sorts of germs and knocks each month, and we’ve always received a good service from NHS Direct.

As a concept I think the service is spot on. When we were on holiday last week, one of us felt a bit under the weather. The local hospital was glad to see tourists, for a few hundred pounds on the first consultation. We had travel insurance, but to lay out the money and the aggravation of going to A&E on hospital just didn’t appear. Whilst looking through the travel insurance documentation I noticed a phone number to speak to some private nurses, free of charge for the policy. After a quick call they gave a satisfactory opinion, some confident reassurance and suggested remedy. We took their advice and 24 hours later the problem had gone, with no inconvenience of having to claim back any expenses later when we returned from holiday.

If you try to imagine how healthcare will operate (no pun intended) in say, 25 years, I think we’ll have a lot more remote healthcare. We will sit at home and have a video call with a doctor based anywhere in the World. As for how the doctor performs his tests (temperature, blood pressure and so on) – these devices are already available with USB connectivity (e.g. this BP monitor or this thermometer patent request), to send your results through immediately.

Maybe NHS Direct is ahead of it’s time. When I speak to Americans, they are totally envious of our NHS, including NHS Direct. The thought of phoning a service that provides medical assurance (I would imagine this covers half the calls – and keeps the people who just want reassurance out of A&E) and advice – all without providing a credit card, is alien to most countries around the World.

I for one, will be sad to see it go.