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Yet another amazing panel last night on Smart Medical Devices. We had an engaging audience and more importantly, panelists with amazing insights into opportunities in the area. Unfortunately there is no video but here are some introductory slides and also some key takeaways for anyone that is interested in the space (thanks to Anupendra Sharma, Panel Moderator, for compiling these together).

Takeaways

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[Update: Read the summarized takeaways from this panel]

After the great response to the last event on Digital Homes (attended by over 80 peope), the Semiconductor and Electronic Devices (SED) SIG partners with the Life Sciences SIG to bring this panel on Medical Devices.

With the size of semiconductor devices shrinking and their compute power increasing, a number of new devices and applications are being enabled in the medical and health-care markets. From new ingestible smart pills to portable monitoring gadgets (some of which are being integrated directly into Mobile devices)  to smart beds and scanning equipment, medical devices are becoming smarter and changing the health-care landscape rapidly.

Intuitive Automata Robot

Bluetooth Enabled Glucose Meter microChips Reservoir Array

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It was rather disappointing when recently Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in India, a prominent education standards body, banned the use of mobile phones in schools. The board feels that mobile phones are a major source of distraction in the classrooms and they are worried more about the misuse of cellphone cameras. Agreed that India may be slightly behind in thinking out-of-the-box and embracing technology but even the US has not been much ahead in leveraging the new technologies that are available today.

Instead of banning the use of these technologies, Governments and Institutions should figure out ways to use them to their benefit especially when every child is addicted and no matter what you do spend thousands of hours using them.

Every technology has its pros and cons but what matters is creating an ecosystem and policy that channel the technology into constructive and creative forms. Although OLPC and the Intel Classmate PCs are striving hard to get into the classrooms, one thing that already exists with most children is the mobile phone. So why not take advantage of it?

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“Imagine the scenario where there are no more cables running into and inside your home except the utility power line. All the electronic/electrical equipment that you use from phones (mobile and landline) to  Televisions to computers to even electrical utilities like refrigerators, HVAC (cooling and heating systems), washing machines and dishwashers are wireless enabled. These devices can not only talk to each other but can  also be controlled by you through a web-based enterprise software remotely thus enabling you to stream your movies/music, monitor power consumption by each of those devices and decide when and how they should be used.  Even your electrical utility company can collectively monitor all homes in the grid and optimize the power supply during peak hours by either charging you more or controlling the power to your power hungry device. If you have elderly people at home, smart portable gadgets attached to them will transmit their health statistics that can be monitored both by you and their doctors continuously prompting immediate response when needed.”

Smart Grid

Can all these applications and more may become a reality when 4G is rolled out in the next 2 – 5 years?

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Ah, finally figured I should steal a few minutes from my schedule to discuss how my panel on “Virtual Organizations” went at the MIT CIO Conference. You can read a review about the panel and the conference in general on Dr. Irving Wladawsky’s blog but here is my take on it. Some of you must have read my previous blog post titled “From machines to humans – How virtual are we getting?“, a preview post for the panel where I talked about the role of  Virtual Organizations, how its role is expanding to connect everything from supply chains to end-customers and the myriad opportunities that it can enable if deployed properly.

While that is all very relevant, as I sat through the panel at the CIO conference, I realized why this topic is so encompassing from every angle, why it is so complex and why it requires a deep strategic analysis by CIOs. Simply speaking we can broadly analyze this topic from technology, business and cultural perspectives.

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Thanks to the green initiatives and cost-cuttings the latest buzz word in the high tech echelons today is virtualization – from machines to teams to supply chain to consumers… all are getting virtually connected in a huge complex matrix. While virtual servers abstract the hardware resources and share it efficiently to give a perception of a powerful dedicated machine to the end-user, virtual teams have to abstract location, vertical functional groups and leverage available employee resources efficiently to provide a single unified face to their end-users (who might be other internal groups/divisions, external customers, or the supply chain). However some of the biggest challenges in making this matrix work efficiently have not only been technological but also cultural in many ways especially when it comes to managing virtual teams.

virtual worldPicture Credit -www.cs4fn.org

From technology point of view although there have been several innovations (VPNs, Remote Terminals, Webex) that made virtual teams and collaboration possible, new challenges are cropping up each day. As more and more data from corporations is being made accessible throughout the globe to many teams, and intranet boundaries merge with the extranets, security is becoming a key aspect. Moreover, with widespread adoption of mobile devices into corporate networks, corporations face new challenges in integrating and managing multiple platforms and devices in their networks. Companies such as Cisco, Avaya, Lucent and others are investing big bucks into tackling these problems through unified communications (bringing all data – voice, video, data into a single pipe), device agnostic access solutions also known in some cases as endpoint virtualization (technologies that abstract the devices at end-user) and instant anywhere access solutions (giving sales and marketing teams the edge in their negotiations when they need it). Additionally, the challenges are not only limited to virtualizing corporations internally but now extend into supply chains and end consumers, bringing collaboration across the entire spectrum.

While technology is great to solve problems, its adoption and success totally depends on overcoming cultural barriers. How many of you have had managers who prefer that you show up in the office and do your work when you can do the same work from home (virtually) and be equally productive (show the same or better results)? Isn’t it just a cultural thing… I need to see you, otherwise I know you are not working!

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