Friday, 18 February 2011

SINGULARITY - a fascinating theory and what it means for mobile healthcare.

Raymond Kurzweil

I recently met with Don Jones, VP Healthcare at Qualcomm Life Sciences, and Ilkka Vartiainen, CEO EuMHA about our 2011 Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit.

A couple of days previously I had very hurriedly read an article on a theory of Singularity, and quickly lost the thread of the argument in deep preparations for mobile world congress.

Coming back to the meeting with Don and Illka the two came together in a startling fashion. Don Jones is infamous in the region of wireless health connectivity, acting as a hub of information on what's new and bleeding edge in this startup-friendly field of convergence.

One active discussion which stuck with me was the use of automatic symptom diagnostics. Watch out doctors!! Analytics services are available now which build algorithms from data inputs of medical history, med consumption, demographic information and work to delivery an accurate diagnostic. Yes, 1 on 1 a trained doctor may be more accurate but computer vs. many doctors (all with their varied and conflicting diagnosis, based on cultural trends, impacted by personal delivery and clarity of thought of the doctor) the computer can win out and provide better consistent accuracy.

What does this mean for the future of the doctor? Will such services compel doctors to stick to a traditionalist school of thought and reject all progressive digital potential for fear of being sidelined?? The argument is that this type of automatic analytic symptom diagnostics will be invaluable in rural and in developing markets where real doctors are a luxury to come by.

However, now we come back to the theory of Singluarity. In a twist of fate, the article was contained in a free copy of TIME magazine distributed on the same day as this discussion on site at MWC. I now read the article non-stop on the Line 1 journey back to the hotel, realising the link. Raymond Kurzweil (the modern originator of the theorem) is essentially extending Moore's law about the doubling capacity to carry transistors on chips as technology advances. He has tracked the technological ability of computers for every $1,000 of purchasing power, against time. Not only is technological potential massively advancing, but Kurzweil argues that, tracked against these criteria, a process of singularity- when computer power surpasses brainpower equivalent to that of human brains combined - is reached. At this point computers will have the ability and intelligence to become computer scientists unto themselves, advancing their potential still further (as cranes build yet taller cranes).

Sounds the stuff of H G Wells? It would sound ultimately outlandish as to our human linear not exponential time frames and humanist sense of superiority at the top of the food chain we are integrally opposed. Yet, Kurzweil has received the national medal of technology from Bill Clinton, the commendation of Bill Gates (the best person i know at predicting the future of AI') and the Kurzweil-founded University of Singularity has among its investors and advisors Peter Thiel - a former CEO of Paypal and early investor of Facebook.

What does this all mean for mobile healthcare and the current availability of analytical diagnostics? Global biologists believe that the process of singularity may carry us ever further into life-extension through computing - with computers at the helm of human health. With computing process already commerically delivering doctor roles of diagnosis such a prediction begins to look less far-fetched. Perhaps the health profession won't be sidelined, but the ascendancy of humans all together?

And will this be a bad thing for our health?,8599,2048138,00.html

Monday, 7 February 2011

Putting Scottish Health Innovation on the Map – The Scottish Life Science Awards

On Thursday 3rd February I was lucky enough to attend the annual Scottish Life Science Awards at the Edinburgh Conference Centre. The event was hosted by Scottish Enterprise who realise the value of the £3bn annual Scottish life sciences industry to Scottish economy and who are fostering trade and export links to drive Scottish product in this area globally – including to USA, China and Korea.
A bit of context:
The Scottish life sciences sector is worth £3 billion annually and is growing at a rate of 8 per cent per year. Scotland is ranked in the top five regions globally for biotech companies and has emerged as a world leader in many fields.
  • 71 per cent of the life science organisations based in Scotland are focused on human healthcare, including drug discovery and development.
  • Scotland has one of the most sizeable life sciences clusters in Europe, with a significant multinational presence in research, development and manufacturing. 
  • 20 new life science companies started trading in Scotland during 2007, while an increasing number of corporate spin outs demonstrate the maturity of the sector.
  • World-renowned researchers such as Professor Sir Ian Wilmut and Professor Sir Philip Cohen are based in Scotland.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIENT) invited me to attend, having themselves attended the Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit in 2010. Our work overlaps considerably with their own P4 Digital project (realising healthcare which is preventative, participatory, personalised, and predictable), which is gaining ground in Scotland and beyond. Among the 800 strong attendees at the awards ceremony who braved the 100mph recorded winds and whipping rain on the evening were the following dynamic group at the two HIENT tables:
Dyan Berry - HIE - Marketing and Comms Coordinator
Mike Biddle - Technology Strategy Board - Innovation Platform Leader -
Assisted Living
Morven Cameron - HIE  - Head of Research
Neil Campbell - Red Cherry Marketing  - Founder
George Crooks - NHS 24  -  COO
Steven Dodsworth - HIE - Head of Life Sciences
Andrew Fowlie - NHS Grampian  -  General Manager (MCHSCP)
James Gibbs - UHI - Head of Development and Enterprise
John Gobron - Microsoft  - Director, HSG Sales UK
Campbell Grant - Sitekit - Managing Director
Dave Kelly - Albasoft  -  CEO
Moira MacKenzie - Scottish Government  -  Telecare Programme Manager
Irene McAra-McWilliams  - Glasgow School of Art - Head of School of
Nicola McLaughlin - Vodafone - Category Marketing Manager, Public Sector
Elaine Mead - NHS Highland - Chief Operating Officer
Rowan Norrie - True North Innovation - Founder
Alex Paterson - HIE - Chief Executive
Selly Saini  - LifeScan - Early Phase Development   

Nicola Thomas - Vodafone

It was great to see such a diverse set of people in discussion bringing multi-disciplinary approaches to the keen issues in health and how working together may help – from 24 hour online assistance and user-friendly web, to patient behaviour change methodologies, to innovative new medical devices. There was a real buzz and excitement about projects taking off and possible collaborations we may have planned in the next few years. Watch this space on that front.

Nicola Sturgeon, Health and Wellbeing
Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, gave an optimistic speech on the future of health innovation and investment in Scotland and the buoyant spirit was continued by Hugh Griffiths of Bioenvision (now of NuCana Biomedwho set up his pharmaceutical company in Scotland because of the legacy of health innovation and infrastructure which was supportive there (think Penicillin, Genetics and CAT scan major developments) – he launched his anti-leukemia drug on a minimal figure around £20m and within 5 years had sold the business for around £350m, with listing complete on NASDAQ. The drug was able to turn a 5 year old girls' 1 week life expectancy around to remission status in just 5 days. Griffiths called for better facilitation for clinical trials to engage with eager members of the public, and for business incentives to stick with Scotland as home of life science HQs. It was also an honour to see Sir Ian Wilmut (the English embryologist and currently Director of the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, or best known for being leader of the research group that in 1996 first cloned a mammal from an adult somatic cell, a Finnish Dorset lamb named Dolly!)
The genetic scientist behind ‘dolly the sheep’ collect an award for outstanding contribution to the growth of Scottish Life Sciences . Technology, telemedicine and innovation were order of the day – attending the event has certainly confirmed my belief in Scotland, like Ireland, Finland, Boston, West Coast USA as one of the hubs driving health innovation and in particular remote  and self health management.....
Thanks again to HIENT 

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Pre-Emptive Mobile World Congress Activity!

Chris and I attended Openwave’s roundtable this morning. The morning was put on by the lovely folk at Bite Communications to showcase OpenWave's service developments since MWC 2010 and ahead of all the hubbub and chaos of Barcelona. (A marvellous idea if I do say so myself and delivered in the red room at the Covent Garden Hotel.)

The Covent Garden Hotel
Thoroughly wired on Monmouth coffee from the infamous establishment opposite the hotel, I was ready for a morning of industry discussion taking in moments on intelligent data pricing, network traffic optimisation, content and developer vs. operator needs arguments, privacy and personalisation features and the ability of the mobile browser as distributor of APPS and VAS. I won't lie, some of the industry's best analysts brought the discussion to a denouement with talks of Japanese virtual girlfriends, mobile porn searchability, and inadequate marketing personalisation of shampoo adverts for bald men. Some highlights below!!

Openwave Pre-Barca Meeting, Covent Garden Hotel

The event collected about 8 industry analysts around a table for candid discussion. Up showing some slides and demos were John Giere, Senior Vice President, Products and Marketing, and Christian Goswami, Director, Product Management, UK, Openwave.

Background - Video is coming, get your networks ready! 

As we all know, mobile data usage is up, with the most part of this made up increasingly by video. ( Ed update - 02/02/11 - Cisco: Mobile video will make up 66% of data traffic by 2015) The 1/2 yearly growth of video consumption is beyond 100%  - a phenomenal leap. New trends like 3D or HD on mobile will also increase need for data optimisation.  Although operator mobile data revenues are growing as well (Softbank is the first operator to state that over half of its revenues (around 55%) are now from data alone), they are not offsetting traditional revenue losses. In short, the operator nightmare continue: OTT services continue to disintermediate service providers. 

Knowing Your Subscriber, Personalising Your Service:  

The problem cannot be tackled by infrastructure or software alone, but by knowing customers in more detail and acting accordingly. (Great lengths of the roundtable were dedicated to the breadth of knowledge operators 'apparently' have about their subscribers but sit on - too concerned about breaking subscriber trust or lack of knowledge of how to utilise??) As such Openwave have partnered (as per MWC 2010 announcements) with F5 (lovingly named after tornado nomenclature due to the founders interest in such extreme weather patterns) to deliver data feedback across all layers of the network from user -device-network-service.

Managing Traffic - in Mature AND Growth Markets:

Things are getting busy out there
Openwave are developing services for congestion aware optimisation of traffic - apparently with more sophisticated methods of compression technology. 'Favouriting' content- Ie. Popular videos can be identified through analytics, cached, treated for optimisation and then made more manageable - is one way to do this, although optimisation for live content remains more expensive.

This type of service is important when considering the wrangle between content providers who want rich content experience vs. network operators who want to manage bandwidth, and the issue remains not just for mature markets but also for growth markets in urban high usage areas – Nairobi etc. But questions remain about identifying subscriber usage patterns and then feeding this back to the subscriber-  for example, if a consumer has 5 most used URLS, and these can be focused and identified for a discount – will said user be alarmed that Mr. Operator now knows his choice of website preference (whether this is Tesco, Naked 'Ladies', or any other such questionable sport!) Nudge nudge wink wink ;) As with so many things, one guesses the outcry will only become audible if it outways the benefits of the service for the end user. The OTT providers seem to have proved this point with the amount they have chipped away at assumed privacy to date in partnership, with consent, and almost overnight.

Forget Block Tiered Pricing; Welcome to Personalised Pricing  

Openwave have been tracking the rise in tiered data pricing.

In 2010 there were only 12 tiered pricing plans, in 2011 there are 50+ and still counting. Crude data plans based on volume consumption are now more sophisticated, based on,

·         Functionality
·         Time used
·         Traffic category (video, web)

The onus of Openwave’s work in this area =

·         Simplicity
·         Contextualisation
·         User engagement and self care – ie using a gauge icon to know how much data is being used

It will be interesting to register whether this 'how much gas is in the tank' style self-care by subscribers actually limits data consumption by giving a more accurate indication of how pricey it can be? ((All very interesting for our review day on Intelligent data pricing  - if you wish to be involved contact me at As before, will people appreciate discounts if they acknowledge their browser activity specifically? I certainly can recognise the interest in more tailored pricing plans which make sense and deliver an air of clarity.

Mobile Operator App Distribution??

At MWC, Openwave will be announcing AMPLICITY - their venture with Getjar to deliver apps distribution via mobile browser. The service gives operators some way to bring back their own branding of apps and lessen device specific OS' which currently lead the siloed way. Clearly, there are questions of limited distribution, and with an operator by operator approach (starting with Sprint), one wonders, aren't WAC already doing something similar?? But their argument is that working with the giant of mobile app distribution, GetJar, and an SDK for all OS’ the operators will be well placed and taking an active role in VAS over their networks...One might question whether what they are really after is a new way to get back closer to their consumers.

What is the business model?

Usual model  = 60/70% rev to developer and 30/40% aggregator - apart from some oft quoted cases!!

AMPLICITY = with an increased personalised service through optimization and personalisation operator can showcase better metrics (click throughs etc) and therefore claim a bit of this pie so it becomes a 3 way rev share.

Whilst there are other ‘browser as a distributor issues’ = 1. Need connectivity, 2. OK for lite apps, less good for ‘heavy’ apps, this is another example of operators still! trying to be involved in the latest communications revolution.

Indeed, lots was mentioned about Operators Now Trying to Do Something with the Wealth of Data they have on subscribers –with lots of data collection projects happening frantically being prioritised across the network spectrum - (contact us about our own future mobile voice event)...With operators equally delighted about new modes of connectivity and frightful about data congestion, it was an interesting point made by John Delaney that with the influx of tablets, the larger form factor is making them increasingly used in the home so running on wifi home network not cellular.

Judgement: a sophisticated negotiation of MWC hysteria in the relative calm of London

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Healthcare Innovation -some exciting invitations

This first quarter of the year is proving very Scottish. Scottish Government agency HIENT have rather kindly invited me up to their table at the Scottish Annual Life Science Awards next week in Edinburgh. With over 800 people at this black tie event, it will be interesting to see how the impetus of P4 Digital - preventative, predictive, personalised and participatory healthcare - features at this more over-archingly themed event.

The following guests are on the same table as me, and I can't wait to ask them about their thoughts on mobile healthcare as a factor of health provisioning....

Prof. Irene McAra-McWilliam - Glasgow School of Art Head of School of Design
Mike Biddle - Technology Strategy Board – Innovation Platform Leader – Assisted Living
Tim Wing - GE - Clinical Information Systems - Manager Northern Europe
John MacKenzie - GE - Country Manager
Sarah Sanders - Vodafone – Global Commercial Manager
Nicola McLaughlin - Vodafone – Category Marketing Manager – Public Sector
George Crooks - NHS 24 - Chief Operating Officer
Lindsey Moodie - Centre for Health Science – Business Development Manager
Campbell Grant - Sitekit – Managing Director
Elaine Mead - NHS Highland – Chief Operating Officer
Moira Mackenzie - Joint Improvement Team, Scottish Government - Telecare Programme Manager
David Kelly - Albasoft - CEO
Selly Saini - LifeScan - Early Phase Development
Alex Paterson - HIE - Chief Executive Andrew Fowlie - NHS Grampian, Moray Community Health & Social Care Partnership - General Manager Steven Dodsworth - HIE - Head of Life Sciences
Dyan Berry - HIE - Marketing and Comms Coordinator

I'll be back up to Edinburgh for a hen do in early March, and then back up to Fort William in the 'longest-ever-Easter-holidays-plus-THE-WEDDING-bankholiday' in April when I do a Hebridean island hop on the tandem. That, married with all the haggis which has been going around lately has set the 1Q11 up nicely with a Scottish feel.

On the 1st March I am heading to Manchester for the launch of the Innovation and Research Workstreams of the European mHealth Alliance (EuMHA). The members of EuMHA include healthcare providers, research institutes, industry and alliances whose aim is to support and promote the wider adoption of healthcare and wellbeing (including sports and fitness) products, services, applications and innovation across Europe

The event will be chaired jointly by Professor Chris Taylor, University of Manchester (leading the Research Workstream) and David McCarron, Intel Corporation (leading the Innovation workstream) and is invite only.
Guests from key industry, academic,healthcare providers,and policy-making organisations in the mobile eco-system in Europe are invited to join the event which will provide an opportunity to help shape the mHealth agenda for Europe, to meet some of the key actors in mHealth in Europe and to work together with EuMHA members on developing plans for research and innovation activity. I'm looking forward to working with the attendees and hearing ideas on how to move mobile healthcare forward...

Mobile Healthcare News - Prices and Positivity!

Good news! We are significantly re-launching our mobile healthcare industry summit with new more inclusive pricing and a focus on positive commercial activity. Ie. What's really happening now in mobile healthcare? We will bring these case studies forward and then follow up with discussions around commercial activity and implementation so that partners can work on future collaboration. The incentive though is less on talk and more on action as it's time to roll up our sleeves and get going - and with the event moved to the heart of EU regulation, we hope to bring you a couple of commissioners to elaborate on changes needed to make health innovation possible and incentivised.


  • New delegate fee:  of €599
  • Dates:
    20-23rd September 2011, Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Brussels
  • Purpose: Bringing Positive Commercial Case Studies in Mobile Healthcare Forward

Announcing Our All New Event Features and Content for 2011 – Bringing You The Positive Movements in Mobile Healthcare in Mature Markets
·         New! Changed pricing for 2011 – lower delegate fee to ensure total ecosystem attendance and discussion
·         New!  Endorsed by, and co-located with, the European mHealth Alliance annual meet to connect you with the hub of global mobile healthcare business  
·         New! Focused and exclusive workshop on cracking mobile healthcare commercialisation, with reduced entry fee to register
·         New! Dedicated event content focus on the positive commercial mobile healthcare case studies and business practices which are taking place NOW!
·         New! Venue destination of Brussels, bringing you direct to the heart of European regulatory and business decision making.
·         New! 2011 agenda setting keynotes from international health insurers, patient groups, and EU Commission regulators at the highest level
·         New! Expanded exhibition floor with demos of live services and devices, plus experts on-hand to discuss integration, day-to-day operation, and roll-out

I am really excited about evolving the event further to support the real commercial activity of mobile health!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Alice Macklin's Software and Services Run Down 26/01/11

 Guest Editorship - Alice Macklin, Senior Conference Researcher, Software and Services
managed services, mobile financial services, global messaging, mobile UX and more....
 1.       THE FINAL FRONTIER Google’s going into space! The Surrey Space Centre has decided to test Android in the most severe environment they know and, if it passes the test, they’re going to put it in charge of a satellite. That’s pretty cool.
2.       BIG BROTHER
Geofencing is apparently taking off in the States in quite a big way. A friendly event Chairman sent me
this last week – T-Mobile’s latest location-based offering. The technology is very impressive, but if I’m honest I remain unconvinced. At the Smart Devices & User Experience event last November Nick Healey at Slash Design talked about the ‘creepy side of the personalisation line’ – is T-Mobile’s FamilyMap edging onto this ground? I’m certainly not comfortable with the idea of even my nearest and dearest knowing where I am at all times

I came across
this whilst doing some research for our Global Messaging & VAS event in June. Clearly powered by witchcraft, it seems like a pretty awesome piece of technology.

eCommerce is very much on people’s minds at the moment, and with that comes the issue of security. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that mobile finance is just as secure as doing it online, if not more so simply because the medium makes consumers slightly nervous. It was pointed out by an article on
SmartMoney, though, that
paying by phone ‘nixes federal protections that allow you to dispute inaccurate credit card charges’. This is the first time I’ve heard that point raised – how much of a concern should it be?

MVNO Trends from Guest Editor

Our anonymous guest editor 'Ronnie' puts down his trends within the MVNO market....

1- Tekelec buying Blueslice to become an MVNE signalling the appealing proposition of working directly for MVNOs not just 'telecoms'
2- Top Billing companies like Orga Systems showing more and more interest in the growing number of MVNO’s globally
3- Big vendors like ZTE – back in action and focusing again on this market that they had temporarily shelved
4- The overall trend of traditional MVNO’s becoming MVNE’s, providing consultation services to big groups like retail conglomorates to help them deploy MVNO’s successfully
5- The massive MVNO trend  we are witnessing – everyone wants to be an MVNO it seems, Radio stations , ISP’s, retail companies, does the future hold a GUCCI or PRADA MVNO?

Handbags at dawn.

'How many minutes would you like with that exclusive luxury item?'