Woman with Coronavirus Tracking

The UK Considers A Coronavirus Tracking App

In the early stages of the pandemic, the task of contact tracing played an important role in tackling the spread of the Coronavirus. Contact tracing was quite simply, tracking down all the people an infected person had had contact with during the time that they are considered infectious. These people would normally be asked to self-isolate for two weeks as well as being given advice and any care needed. As COVID-19 very rapidly developed to an overwhelming level, this process became harder and harder to enact in many countries. The interview process undertaken to trace contacts became too slow. According to the World Health Organisation, this was an intervention previously seen to effectively control the spread of Ebola.

In the UK, whilst country-wide testing is struggling to take swing and Health officials are urging the UK government to do more to increase the number of tests undertaken per day, (as of April 2nd ‘Around 13,000 tests are available each day against a target of 25,000’ according to the BBC), the UK’s healthcare service; The National Health Service (NHS) is discussing the use and introduction of a smartphone contact tracing app. Which would be developed by the healthcare’s digital offshoot NHSX.

Although, the ability to contact trace was flooded by the sheer volume of cases, it is still an effective process to get ahead of the coronavirus spread. In a video, a spokesperson talking to the BBC indicated that the contact tracing process would ‘reduce from a week, to an instantaneous notification’ ‘…maintaining long-term control of the epidemic.’

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The study into such an app was published in the Journal of Science and was researched by the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute and Nuffield Department of Medicine, whose abstract stated: ‘We conclude that viral spread is too fast to be contained by manual contact tracing, but could be controlled if this process was faster, more efficient and happened at scale. A contact-tracing App which builds a memory of proximity contacts and immediately notifies contacts of positive cases can achieve epidemic control if used by enough people. By targeting recommendations to only those at risk, epidemics could be contained without need for mass quarantines (‘lock-downs’) that are harmful to society.’

The proposed app would record peoples GPS data as they go about their daily lives, supplemented by QR scanning and Bluetooth data. Should a person become ill, they would use the app to request a home test, if the test returns positive, then an instantaneous notification would be sent to others who have been in contact with the infected persons. Those contacted would then be told to self-isolate for fourteen days. Public spaces or workplaces that the person has been in contact with could also be notified and instructed to decontaminate.

The notification would be anonymous and according to a spokesperson from the BBC the GPS data would be lower than the usage taken from navigation apps. The app may also be encouraged to provide information for coronavirus health services and request food and medicine deliveries.

One of the paper’s lead authors, Professor Christophe Fraser, stated to the BBC: ‘”The constrictions that we’re currently under place [many people are] under severe strain… Therefore if you have the ability with a bit more information and the use of an app to relax a lockdown, that could provide very substantial and direct benefits. Also I think a substantial number of lives can be saved.”’

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The Guardian estimated that ‘Around 60% of the adult population would need to sign up and engage with the app by registering their symptoms or positive test results for it to be effective. Their proximity to other users would be logged, and they would follow advice given in alerts to self-isolate – even in cases where they were not aware of having been in contact with someone infected.’ Further, the app could be available within weeks.

For those without smartphones, Senior researcher on the project Professor David Bosnall stated to The Guardian: “That’s where this concept of herd protection came from… You can protect the vulnerable people in society who may not have smartphones, and protect children. If enough adults across the population engage with the system and trust the system telling them they should isolate, you’re protecting all those individuals who don’t have a device.”

Such an app has already been imposed in China and although apparently not enforced for everyone, is enforced for those who are intending to leave the house and enables them to navigate their daily lives.

There are, of course, talks around the ethics of imposing such an app. At the moment the consensus seems to be that the app should be voluntary, however, this could change should the situation become direr. At the moment it is understood that the users would be encouraged to sign up in a collective effort to get the pandemic under control. Ethicists have raised the point of needing to see clear ‘stop-rules’ on data usage after the situation clears up. However, the use of such technology, many academics are urging would be a critical tool in alleviating the situation.

Mercedes Benz

Mercedes F1 Engineers Create New CPAP Breathing Device in Under 100 Hours To Help in Battle Against Coronavirus

With many countries desperately seeking large quantities of ventilators to prepare for the surge in cases requiring intensive care treatment, Mercedes F1 engineers have been busy working with University College London (UCL) engineers and medical experts to create a brand new breathing aid which can be used to help treat patients suffering from COVID-19 before they reach the stage of needing full ventilation.

The device, called a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), is hoped to help reduce the number of patients who progress to needing full ventilation by improving oxygen levels at an earlier stage. CPAP machines work by pushing air and oxygen into the patient’s mouth and nose at a continuous rate, thereby keeping the airways open and boost the levels of oxygen within the lungs and the body. Providing this kind of treatment during the development of COVID-19 in a patient can help to reduce the severity of breathing difficulties and allow more patients to be treated alongside those needing a ventilator to help them breathe.

Other CPAP devices have been used in both China and Italy to help treat coronavirus patients and the statistics suggest that this intervention has helped to reduce the number of patients needing ventilators by half. Given that the U.K. has a shortage of ventilators at present, this could provide a much needed lifeline to help the National Healthcare Service (NHS) to stay within capacity during the peak of the outbreak. It will mean that only the very seriously ill will need full ventilation, and will allow these complex and limited medical machines to be available for those who need it most.

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Time is of the essence in getting these devices to the front line which is why the new CPAP device can be quickly mass produced. Due to it being re=engineered from an existing machine, the entire project took less than 100 hours to complete. In further good news, it has also been approved for use by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. The first 100 units will be used in clinical trials at UCLH after which a process of rapid production and rollout will begin to ensure that hospitals across the country receive stocks of this valuable device.

New medical devices are being produced and trialled all the time, but the average project length from concept through to clinical trial is several years. The team behind the new CPAP device literally worked day and night to speed up this process into just a few days. Whilst this was naturally accelerated due to being modelled on an existing machine, this device was completely disassembled and analyzed before a computer simulation was used to create the new CPAP device in a way which could be produced on an unprecedented scale.

Once the clinical trials are completed. It is expected that Mercedes could produce around 1,000 devices daily, with the likelihood that other F1 teams could produce similar numbers. As the entire F1 championship has been halted due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the teams have the time and resources to redivert their attention to helping the U.K. to tackle the biggest health threat to human life in over 100 years.

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In addition to the Mercedes CPAP device, a number of other businesses have pledged support to the fight against coronavirus. The government is currently working with a collective of organizations including EADSF), Ford (F) and BAE Systems (BAESF) to help ramp up production of ventilators. These are currently in production and will need to receive a final audit before ramping up wide scale production. A number of F1 teams are also involved in this exciting project and include McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull Racing, Renault Sport Racing and Williams.

A further project has been announced by Dyson, who have revealed its own designs for a new ventilator. If approved, they have the capacity to produce around 10,000 units for use in the U.K. and have pledged to make a further 5,000 for use in other countries.

The U.K. government has come under criticism for not pre-empting the need for ventilators earlier and for finding itself at the back of the queue with other countries all vying for these high sought after and limited machines. However, the government has emphasised that the country has an extremely advanced design and manufacturing industry and that the sheer number of companies coming forward to help boost production of the machines is going to be extremely beneficial in the fight against this invisible killer. Whilst it is still not known how long it will be before the U.K. will start to see infection and death rates stabilize, what is clear is that many businesses are willing to put all of their knowledge, manpower and resources behind helping the NHS to provide the best possible care to as many affected people as possible.


The 5G Future

As 5G starts on its rising journey, rolling out across countries around the world. What could it mean for the future and is it more than the next generation of mobile networking?

It is likely that you have already heard of 5G, the next instalment in an ever-improving world of connectivity. Tech Radar defined 5G as: ‘Combining cutting-edge network technology and the latest high-specced [sic] devices, 5G should offer connections that are multitudes faster than current hookups, with average download speeds of around 1GBps expected to soon be the norm. The networks are expected to supercharge Internet of Things technology, providing the infrastructure needed to carry huge amounts of data that allows for a smarter and more connected world.’ To put the predicted speeds of 5G into context, currently the fastest 4G networks provide an average of approximately 45Mbps (megabits per second). 5G has the potential to go even faster at 10 to 20 times speedier than current 4G networking and predicted to reach a rate of 10GBps.

Expected to support up to one million devices per square kilometre, already mobile service providers across the US, such as Verizon, Sprint, T-mobile and AT&T have invested in 5G and are establishing connections in many cities. For the individual, 5G would naturally provide a more reliable form of mobile connectivity and convenience delivering: ‘Faster download and upload speeds, smoother streaming of online content, higher-quality voice and video calls, more reliable mobile connections’ and a ‘Greater number of connected IoT devices.’ All of which seem like a given in this day and age, so why are these seemingly organic improvements in mobile networking gaining so much attention?

Stronger and more reliable connections in mobile networking will have a knock-on affect with other developing technologies. Advanced and futuristic technologies from self-driving cars and smart cities to virtual reality gaming and drones will all be better implemented with the establishment of 5G. Thus, the developments in technologies that 5G will enhance is where the network capabilities really become exciting.

In an article from the BBC, Ian Fogg from OpenSignal, a mobile data analytics company stated: ‘Whatever we do now with our smartphones we’ll be able to do faster and better. Think of smart glasses featuring augmented reality, mobile virtual reality, much higher quality video, the internet of things making cities smarter. But what’s really exciting is all the new services that will be built that we can’t foresee.’

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According to Forbes the improvement in networking will have a profound effect on businesses, technologies and services across the spectrum: ‘Not only will 5G be instrumental for many industries, including retail, entertainment, automotive, manufacturing, and logistics, but it will also help speed up tech advancements. These advancements will enable connected cars and autonomous driving; smart cities with connected logistics, transport, and infrastructure; enhancement in connected healthcare from robotics to blockchain use cases to wearable telemetry; industrial internet of things and smart factories; and the more extended use of augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality.’

Some areas that will be enhanced by 5G are:

Driverless Cars
The concept and development of self-driving cars has been a much anticipated and exciting prospect for a long time. Testing and rigorous developments to ensure this technology can be safely rolled out is well underway but relies on a multitude of factors. The impact of 5G in this area is prominent as stronger and dependable mobile connections will allow cars to essentially communicate and quickly and effectively process masses of data from other vehicles. Cars can analyse road conditions, risks up ahead and prevent collisions among much else all via vehicle to vehicle communications. Thus, making these cars safer and more reliable.

Smart Cities and the Internet of Things
Smart cities will essentially utilise a vastly connected network of sensors and the ‘internet of things (IOT) in order to vastly increase operational efficiency. 5G will be a connecting force in allowing these sensors to communicate. Utility companies can track usage and collect data, surveillance cameras will become more reliable. Warning sensors can send direct messages to companies when problems occur, such as streetlight failures and so forth. Even parking spot sensors will be able to communicate exact locations of available spaces to drivers.

The Internet of things ‘refers to smart, web-enabled devices that have more of a fixed functionality, as compared to general purpose smartphones’ as defined in SmartCitiesWorld and will have a widespread effect on cities, businesses and the home. In the home, just a few examples include thermostats, door locks, kitchen appliances that can be controlled via a smartphone.

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Remote control
According to Digital Trends: ‘Since 5G has remarkably low latency, remote control of heavy machinery will become a reality. While the primary aim is to reduce risk in hazardous environments, it will also allow technicians with specialized skills to control machinery from anywhere in the world.

For both security, business and pleasure, drones have seen a significant increase in popularity. By tapping into 5G network the capabilities of drones will drastically improve. They would be able to transmit high definition footage in real time, utilise AI more effectively to complete complex tasks and become more precise in tracking, control and landings, according to Business Insider.

Health care
Healthcare could be fundamentally improved with 5G. As Digital Trends outlines ‘Expect to see improvements in telemedicine, remote recovery, and physical therapy via AR, precision surgery, and even remote surgery in the coming years.’

Healthcare developments with 5G could mean that patients are able to benefit from remote monitoring. Healthcare professionals can receive real-time data that will improve patient care. It can improve AI technologies for the diagnosis and treatment of patients, speed up MRI and imaging data transmission and enable remote surgery that will allow patients to be treated by highly-skilled doctors that would not normally be geographically available to them.

Tech Team

9 Things to Know About How Technology and Data Help Your Investment Decisions

Investment decision makers are voracious consumers of data – and today they consume it at greater speed and volume, and with greater efficiency, than ever before. But the momentum of technological advancements behind the improved use of data is unceasing. New tools and capabilities seem to constantly become available, helping to level the playing field between the largest and smallest firms and institutions.

In many cases, asset owners and allocators look to what might be called strategic data partners such as Northern Trust, that have the necessary combination of resources and expertise to help clients better capture their data and make use of it to drive performance. In a recent interview with II, Barb O’Malley, Senior Vice President, Head of Client Solutions Consulting, Northern Trust, shared her insights on what asset owners and managers should keep in mind as they try to keep up in the Age of Data.

Don’t ignore quick wins. There are still benefits to be gained from tools that have been around for a while, such as robotic process automation (RPA). Recently, through RPA, Northern Trust has been able to reduce by 2 million the false positives for one of its reconciliation processes. In other words, when it comes to leveraging technology, it isn’t always about the latest and greatest. “Don’t stop doing what you’re already doing,” says O’Malley.

Don’t act small. O’Malley says she often encounters the belief on the part of smaller shops that they can’t afford to keep up with big, enterprise-level technology. “But today there are more tools available that are targeted to smaller and mid-tier clients, particularly in the data management space,” she says. “It’s worth keeping up with what’s available, even if you begin your search on the internet – there are definitely strong capabilities out there for smaller shops.”

You don’t need massive infrastructure. If you’re an asset manager who has been unwilling to embrace the cloud, you may be leaving a lot of computing power on the table. “A huge amount of infrastructure isn’t necessary,” says O’Malley. “We’re seeing more desktop-type tools that are quite powerful. There are some capabilities that asset managers and owners may be able to access in the cloud that weren’t available to them even a few years ago.”

You’re not alone if you’re struggling to keep up. Asset owners are increasingly moving asset allocation responsibilities in-house, and in the process are discovering they either don’t have the necessary skill sets on their teams, or the appropriate technology – or lack both. For asset managers, the challenge centers around identifying a more robust data management solution. “Data analytics has become more important to an asset manager than perhaps they at first realized – or maybe even realize now,” says O’Malley. “And some of them are struggling because they built somewhat inflexible solutions based on the choices of vendors that they had at the time.”

According to O’Malley, this can lead to a “blindered” view of what insights emerge from data for asset owners and managers. “There are two coexisting views on technology – what’s needed to run the day-to-day business; and what’s needed to gain more insights into data around client behavior, various securities, and portfolio management,” says O’Malley. “Many of our clients feel as if these two needs fundamentally conflict – but they don’t. What does happen, however, is that they often limit their data consumption to only answer one set of questions – which makes it hard to gain a more holistic view. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

Team data scientists with the investment pros. With very few exceptions, investment professionals are not data scientists. But pairing up investment and data experts can be a game changer. And even if hiring a data scientist isn’t in the budget for some investment shops, their knowledge can be accessed through service and technology partners such as Northern Trust.

“Data scientists are really good at looking at the data and not being impaired by preconceived notions of what that data is going to say,” says O’Malley. “They can sometimes help surface insights that the investment professional hasn’t seen. And then the investment expert helps the data scientist either interpret the results or tweak them. When you take a pure data scientist and pair them with someone with strong investment acumen, you tend to get the best possible outcome.”

Powerful tools can help create trust. Perhaps the main driver of the need for transparency in investing has been asset owners becoming more involved in allocation. Certainly, in cases where those capabilities are brought in-house by an institution, there is a desire to see what’s happening anywhere in the process at any given moment. That demand is driving innovation around dashboarding at Northern Trust.

“Our clients want to understand our success in meeting data deliverables,” says O’Malley. “We will start to roll out a number of dashboards that track our success in meeting their expectations. We’ll also provide KPIs that will show trends over time and how we’re performing day-to-day – how we’re settling trades, how the cash is being processed, and so on. For example, they might see there is a trend with the timing of third-party data. With all the relevant information easily at hand, we can discuss with our client the component of the trading process that may not be working – and that kind of collaboration, plus the metrics to back up that we are delivering as promised, helps create trust.”

There’s a difference between real time and right time. Real time access to endless data flows isn’t necessarily a benefit to investment decision makers if the data and analytics provider doesn’t know the purpose for which the data is being used, and thus cannot optimize its delivery.


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Womens Empowerment

Houston, Texas Named Among The Top Cities For Women In Technology

Houston fell two places in SmartAsset’s latest ranking of the best U.S. cities for women in technology but remains in the top 10.

SmartAsset’s sixth annual study, released February 6, puts Houston at No. 6 among the top cities for women in tech. That’s down from the No. 4 spot in SmartAsset’s 2019 study. However, Houston still holds the No. 1 ranking among Texas cities.

“Only one of five most-populated U.S. cities — Houston — makes it into our top 15 cities for women working in the tech industry,” says SmartAsset, a personal finance website.

In all, SmartAsset analyzed 59 of the largest U.S. cities to find the best places for women in tech to work and live. The website judged each city on four factors:

In Houston, average earnings for women in tech represented 99 percent of men’s earnings in 2018, SmartAsset found. That amounts to a difference of $451. Houston also boasts the eighth highest average amount of earnings for women in tech after deducting costs for housing ($64,464), according to SmartAsset.

Furthermore, the study shows women hold down 25.8 percent of tech jobs in Houston, compared with the 59-city average of 26.1 percent.

Houston’s showing in the SmartAsset study bolsters the region’s amped-up efforts to evolve into a tech hub.

In April 2019, the Wall Street Journal noted those efforts were jump-started after Amazon rejected Houston as a candidate for the e-commerce giant’s hotly pursued second headquarters. These initiatives include attracting startups and venture capital, and ramping up programs aimed at accelerating innovation.

“We already knew we were not in the top tier of what has been happening globally as far as innovation,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told the Wall Street Journal. “But Amazon passing us over was a real wake-up call that we could not be walking towards building this new ecosystem. We had to sprint.”

To find the best cities for women in tech, SmartAsset looked at data for cities that had at least 200,000 residents in 2018. The website then removed cities that lacked reliable data, leaving a pool of 59 cities.

Houston has long been known as a melting pot with almost 1 in 4 Houstonians being foreign born and no ethnic majority, but a recent study has shown that this diversity translates to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics industry.

SmartAsset studied the demographics within STEM employment in 35 technology hubs in the United States. The company factored in racial, ethnic, and gender diversity using Census Bureau’s 2017 one-year American Community Survey data and the Shannon index.

As a result of the research, Houston was named the No. 6 market for diversity among the tech hubs considered. Fifty percent of Houston’s STEM workforce is not white, and of that, 21 percent are Asian, 15 percent are hispanic, and 14 percent are black.

Less exciting, Houston has some room for improvement when it comes to gender diversity, the study found. Only 27 percent of Houston’s STEM workforce are women, and that’s more of a middle-of-the-pack ranking compared.


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Coronavirus Pills & Syringe

Wuhan Coronavirus Concerns Prove How Much Apple Relies On China

Apple’s reliance on China is once again in the spotlight, this time because of the Wuhan coronavirus — an outbreak that has temporarily frozen the company’s retail operations in the country and rattled its supply chain in a matter of days.

The virus, and the uncertainty about how it may affect Apple’s supply chain, have reiterated the iPhone maker’s reliance on China. It also comes just after the tech giant dodged 15% tariffs on Chinese imports that would have impacted the iPhone and other important products.

The virus prompted Apple to temporarily close all of its stores and corporate offices in China until February 9 “out of an abundance of caution.” But the bigger concern appears to be around how this might impact Apple’s supply chain, which is largely based in mainland China and Taiwan.

During Apple’s fiscal first-quarter earnings call last Tuesday, Apple said it was factoring any impact from closures and production slowdowns caused by the virus into its fiscal second-quarter revenue guidance, which it’s pegged at landing between $63 billion and $67 billion. But Ming-Chi Kuo, the TF International Securities analyst that frequently reports on Apple’s supply chain, recently cut his projections for iPhone shipments in the first calendar quarter of 2020 by 10% because of the coronavirus.

“I’m going to be really surprised if Apple doesn’t end up reporting reduced sales and production,” said Frank Gillett, vice president and principal analyst at market research firm Forrester. “The supply chain of these high value consumer electronics products is so tight and efficient that disruptions are felt quickly, and there’s limited ability to catch up once you get in the hole.”

However, some analysts have said that if Apple’s supply chain is able to return to regular operations by mid-February, the potential ramifications may be minimal. A new report from Bloomberg suggests that may very well be the case, as it says Apple’s key suppliers, including its major iPhone assembler Foxconn, will return to full-scale production as soon as February 10.

Dan Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, said that as of February 3, the impact seemed “containable,” saying that 1% to 2% of iPhone’s that would have been sold in the March quarter may shift to the June quarter. But if Apple’s suppliers were to remain closed until late February or early March, roughly one million iPhone’s could be pushed to the June quarter.

“I think it’s a very quantifiable to a small impact that’s already factored into Apple’s guidance, unless this outbreak continues into later February or early March,” Ives told Business Insider.

Tom Forte, a senior research analyst for D.A. Davidson, also said that if the situation were resolved by mid-February, Apple should be able to fully recover. But any further obstacles beyond that point could be troublesome for Apple.

“If this remains an issue through the month’s end or even worse into March itself, it has the potential to be even more disruptive than the original outlook suggested,” Forte said to Business Insider.

While production slowdowns driven by the virus outbreak may be manageable, Gillett says there’s a chance it could impact near-term product launches, like the low-cost iPhone that’s rumored to be in production. That product, which is said to be a successor to 2016’s iPhone SE, was expected to go into production in February for a March launch date, according to Bloomberg.

It’s not the first time in recent months that concerns have been raised about how Apple’s reliance on China could impact its hardware business. Apple narrowly avoided a 15% tariff on Chinese imports that would have impacted flagship products like the iPhone after the United States settled a partial trade deal with China in early December. The tariffs could have increased iPhone prices by between $120 and $150, Ives previously told Business Insider.

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Top 10 Technology Trends to Watch in 2020 and Beyond

AI is one of the important technology trends for 2020. In 2019, the global spending on AI was $35.8bn. However, it’s projected to hit $46bn in the year 2020. Oracle says, by 2020, about 78% of brands will have implemented AI. AI is seen as a savior in redefining conventional business operations.

Apart from refining business processes, AI is also used to:

One of the most underrated technologies, AR/VR could see a revival in their implementation this year. It is estimated that 32% of companies would incorporate this technology to enhance their product experience in the next 3 years. With virtual try-on jewelry and fashion apparel concepts already hitting the market, we could say that the booming of IoT will also help boost its market penetration. From retail and real estate to manufacturing and training, we could see the use of AR/VR in diverse formats.

With billions of users connecting to the internet from their phones, it makes complete sense for businesses to go mobile-first. Arriving as a boon for such businesses to make their online transition seamless is the concept of PWA. The hybrid tech that bridged the gap between native apps and websites increased page views by 134%. What’s more, it also lowered bounce rates, increased engagement rates, reduced development costs, and increased delivery time. Some of the most popular websites like Trivago, Tinder, AliExpress have implemented PWA and this is the right time for your business to do it too.

The rise of advanced concepts and technologies in software development paved the way for newer and more efficient programming languages as well. STL model forecasts that Python could be lead or be overtaken by Java in 2020. Model also suggests that Java and JavaScript will have the same traffic-flow in high income countries in 2020.

While there are places where 4G technology is yet to reach, countries like the US and China have already implanted 5G networks into their infrastructures. The implementation across countries is so rapid and dynamic. Gartner predicts that worldwide revenue from 5G networks is anticipated to hit $4.2bn in 2020. CCS Insight forecasted that there would be over 340mn 5G connections by 2021 With the estimated reach of 5G, aspects around the network like privacy regulations, transparency in terms of data collection and usage, security and more will also be worked on.

The amount of data generated today acts as one of the most perfect avenues for companies to make crucial business decisions. Thankfully, companies are seeming to understand the inevitability of business intelligence for their ventures. Data analytics is offering tons of insights and patterns on customer and employee behavior. This helps companies to make a lot of crucial changes to their workflows and go-to-market strategies.

In the coming year, this application is only anticipated to surge further. Some of the below-mentioned aspects will be trending this year as companies explore these to better suit their operations and strategies.

Still considered a growing market, edge computing is expected to witness explosive growth in 2020. With a projected growth rate of 50%, this industry will experience more takers from telecom companies, software platform providers, data centers, public cloud providers, content delivery agencies/networks, and more.

To quickly understand the power of Big Data, realize that Netflix saved close to $1bn by using Big Data for customer retention. Companies have also increased their profits by 8-10% with its implementation. Some of the aspects where Big Data is applied include

The number of devices connecting to the internet is phenomenally increasing by the day. It is expected that over 29 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2022, out of which over 18 billion would be IoT devices. Apart from the consumer-specific applications of IoT in terms of gadgets and home automation systems, IoT will also witness a widespread application

If you’re a retail shop owner, now would be the best time to use IoT to customize your store visits and push sales.

Still a buzzword for a lot of companies, blockchain technology can work wonders for your business by

One of the key trends when it comes to blockchain is that over 77% of the financial institutions will adopt this technology to work on the above stated purposes. With more companies understanding what blockchain can do for their businesses, this industry is also expected to hit a global revenue of $3.9bn by the year end.


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Artificial Intelligence

How Technology Is Changing Health Care in India

Health care in India faces several challenges including inadequate access, low insurance penetration and a growing chronic disease burden. At the same time, traditional business models have found it hard to show attractive returns on investment, except for a few large providers. Technology infusion — along with expanded infrastructure and efficiencies from process improvements — could help improve health care accessibility and affordability, according to experts who spoke about emerging trends in that industry at the 2020 Wharton India Economic Forum, held this month in Mumbai.

Despite its shortcomings, India’s health care sector has a lot going for it on several fronts. A government-led push to get health care providers to embrace electronic medical records is enabling artificial intelligence (AI) to extract insights from patient data to deliver better treatment. The availability of telecom bandwidth is making medical expertise reach underserved rural markets through telemedicine and tele-consulting programs, delivered over mobile phones.

The Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative is encouraging domestic manufacture of medical devices and helping lower the prices patients pay for products such as stents and implants, which in the past were imported. At the same time, in India the policy environment and regulators need to accommodate technological interventions such as the growth of online pharmacies with the requisite controls in place, according to the panelists. Health care innovation in India could serve as a global model for a shift from treating the sick to preventive care and wellness, given the size of its underserved populations, they said.

Health care has the potential to lead to economic growth and to provide employment, but it also is a crucial sector in terms of “protecting the health and the wealth of the nation,” said Sangita Reddy, joint managing director of Apollo Hospitals, a chain of health care facilities, and president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industries.

Health care offers the opportunity to find ways to make medical services “more understandable, affordable and accessible,” said Gaurav Agarwal, co-founder and chief technology officer at 1 mg, an online pharmacy and digital health care platform. The three-year-old firm, based in Gurugram in India’s northwestern state of Haryana, has already seen 85 million customer visits annually to its platform, which allows patients to not just buy medicines but also make bookings for lab tests or doctor consultations.

India’s health care industry is becoming more and more attractive for investors, with technology-led innovations helping penetrate second- and third-tier markets, said Puncham Mukim, managing director at Everstone Capital Advisors in Mumbai. The firm has investments across health care investment categories including hospitals and medical device makers, and aims to invest between $400 million and $500 million over the next two years, he said.

In laying out India’s health care challenges, Reddy noted that across the entire supply chain from the general medical practitioners to tertiary care hospitals and government-run facilities, “everybody is working on incremental access.” At the same time, she said the country has “high quality health care,” and that the private sector provides more than 76% of such care. She described that scenario as “islands of excellence in an ocean of inadequacy.”

“Care is shifting from the hospital to the clinic, from the clinic to the home and from the home to a 24/7, ubiquitous access to care, driven by the mobile phone.” –Sangita Reddy

A significant portion of the country’s population is underserved in health care, Reddy said. India has a doctor-to-patient ratio of 1:10,189, some 10 times lower than the 1:1,000 recommended by the World Health Organization, according to a report by The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization. The country’s doctor-to-patient ratio must see an increase with a doubling of the number of doctors; India needs three times as many nurses and five times the paramedics it now has, she said.

While these challenges are daunting, they provide “a tremendous opportunity to disrupt traditional health care models,” Reddy continued. She called for a shift from what has traditionally been “sick care” to wellness, and said that provides opportunities “to flip the health care paradigm and focus on prevention.” A two-pronged approach, “which is to grow the [health care] infrastructure, improve the methodology, the efficiency and the way we do things; and reduce the burden of disease” will address the supply-side constraints, she said. “If we do these things together, we might not just help solve India’s health care problems, but we will show a model for the world.”

Agarwal noted that India has a chronic disease burden or non-communicable diseases burden of almost 20% of its population, where nearly 200 million people have some chronic disease. Of that, just diabetes and hypertension afflict some 100 million people, and that patient population is growing by 13% a year, he said. To make matters worse, the rate of patient adherence to prescribed treatments is abysmally low, he added.

According to a paper by the All India Institute for Medical Sciences, patient non-adherence to medication ranges from 24% for cardiac patients to between 50%-80% for hypertension patients. The reasons include complex medication regimes, exhausted medication supplies and adverse drug reactions, it noted.

Agarwal saw technology as the imperative to address some of the inadequacies, and listed a few of those. “Unlike the west, which has evolved into this massive care-driven health care ecosystem, India has a consumer-led health care ecosystem,” he said. “If you go to any hospital, you see patients walking around with their files. Insurance penetration in India is at 15%. There’s zero outpatient insurance, which means that when you go see a doctor for your day-to-day needs, there is no insurance available whatsoever. So from a cost improvement perspective, the payer as the patient is incredibly motivated to figure out how to reduce his or her disease cost burden on a monthly basis.”

At the same time, in India, the patient owns the health data, which Agarwal saw as “extremely fascinating” – it happened to be the germ of the idea behind founding his online pharmacy 1 mg. “In the U.S., my health care data was digital, but nobody had any access to that data,” he said, recalling his decade-long stint as an engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area. “But in India, we own our data and we are actually fairly okay with people having access to that data.” Such a data-rich country could provide the opportunity to do pioneering work on disease progression models and the like, and share them with the rest of the world, he added. “Health care will become consumer centric. India will drive that revolution.”

In September 2018, India launched its National Health Protection Mission called “Ayushman Bharat Yojana” with the aim of providing 100 million poor and vulnerable families (approximately 500 million beneficiaries) health care insurance coverage up to Rs. 500,000 each ($7,150 approximately) for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. “From a large swathe of population that was hitherto untreated and undiagnosed, Ayushman Bharat [provides] large swathes of the population the opportunity to get diagnosed,” said Mukim.

Mukim noted, however, that sufficient capacity does not exist in terms of primary and secondary health care even in Tier 1 markets, or those with a population of 1,000,000 or more, which typically are large metropolises like Mumbai or Chennai (Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets are defined by progressively smaller populations). Most of the existing health care facilities are in those markets, and they attract most of the new investments in capacity as well, he added. Some pockets are coming up to speed with the need, though. Hyderabad and Chennai, for instance, are no longer “under-bedded,” he noted.

A major hurdle to expanding access to health care is a mismatch between the capital costs of building hospitals and the ability for those to generate sufficient returns for investors, said Mukim. Further, approvals and permits to build hospitals consume “a lot of time,” he added. The cost of setting up a hospital is not vastly different across markets, whether it is Tier 1, 2 or 3, he noted. But patients’ ability to pay gets progressively lower from urban to semi-urban and rural markets “because it’s all out-of-pocket” in the absence of insurance, he pointed out. “There has to be some help on that [front] to reduce cost of putting up capacity.”

“Around 20% of consultations on 1 Mg are actually done by an AI doctor. They’re just as accurate as a panel of six doctors.” –Gaurav Agarwal

The app helps bring an “efficiency layer across the spectrum” where, for instance, housekeeping staff could turn around rooms faster and the admissions desk knows which rooms are available at the press of a button, said Reddy. Electronic health records help its doctors “manage and move data” related to patients. The next layer is in establishing care protocols for hospital processes, she said. For example, such protocols allow “the newest doctor in Apollo to operate at the efficiency of someone with 20 years experience,” she explained.


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Opioid Crisis: Can Emerging ‘Cyborg’ Technology Help Stop It?

Tech these days is often accused of encouraging forms of addiction, but emerging “cyborg” technology may offer an answer for treating the opioid epidemic. Embedding microchips in the brains of addicts could help to, essentially, rewire them.

Gerod Buckhalter is an opioid addict. He’s among millions of people in America affected by what has become a national plague that kills hundreds each day. He hopes, though, that the computer chip in his brain can break him from addiction’s hold.

His dependence took hold after he dislocated his shoulder when he was 15. Dose after dose of the Percocet he was prescribed for pain post-surgery eventually graduated to heroin.

Although it wasn’t what he expected, a group at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute did care.

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Tech Team

How Nonprofits Are Using Technology to Power Relief Work

From podcasters to Twitter personalities, these influencers from across the web bring the nonprofit technology conversation and community right to your fingertips.

Keara Dowd is a web editor for BizTech, joining the magazine after honing her journalism skills in local news. When not working, you can usually find her cheering on D.C.’s sports team, training for half marathons, or checking out the newest restaurants.

Those are important, and technology has helped in these respects, giving nonprofits new ways to elicit fundraising and engage those who want to get involved. But, of course, success also requires delivering on the mission that a nonprofit is created to provide. Emerging technologies can be crucial not only in funding the mission, but also in executing it.

Nonprofits often go to regions where other organizations don’t, such as war zones or areas ravaged by natural disasters. Teams dig through rubble to find survivors or bring supplies to those who are trapped. In these dangerous conditions, technology can be invaluable in helping to train responders, reach victims and know where to focus relief efforts.

AR and VR systems are more than just fun party activities — they’re also great tools for nonprofits when training responders to go into areas that are unstable or dangerous.

Getting safe, hands-on situational experience used to be difficult. Now, VR makes it possible to give volunteers and first responders the feel for a high-stakes situation without putting them in danger. That preparedness can do more than just help organizations develop their game plan going into a disaster zone — it can also save lives.

AR can also provide support for missions that wasn’t available before. The technology can lay critical, real-time information on top of drone footage, allowing workers to see where potential problems might arise in a response plan. This up-to-date data is invaluable as crews work to bring supplies to those who need them.

Just as it can be hard to get to certain areas in the wake of a disaster, it can also be hard to get to people. Earthquakes, tornados and other weather events can leave people trapped in buildings, in their homes or even underground. As search missions drag on, drones can reach places that people can’t. Video footage drones gather can be used to find people who can’t find a way out of the rubble or are too injured to move.

Not only can drones help find survivors, but they can bring them aid as well. Sometimes a space will be too small, or a situation will be too dangerous, for a responder to get to a trapped person right away. The drone can drop off food, water and medical supplies to hold survivors until they can be extracted.

The explosion of data analytics has touched every single industry, and nonprofits are no different. The sector has been using data to optimize donations, but analytics can also be applied to fieldwork. Using data to feed artificial intelligence and machine learning can help nonprofits predict where needs may be, directing assistance as efficiently as possible.

Bloomberg reports that a number of startups have tried to tackle disaster relief with AI and machine learning, including technology to help identify some of the most vulnerable citizens in a catastrophe. Larger companies are also weighing in; for example, Microsoft has donated tens of millions of dollars to expand the use of AI in disaster relief. Technology isn’t only helping nonprofits fund their missions — it’s helping to complete them too.


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