There can be no question that 2012 was a bumper year for healthcare IT. The sheer volume and size of investments was enormous. Fast-forward a few months and the pace doesn’t seem to be slowing. In February alone, there were over 30 deals closed for a total of $107.95 million invested. This represents twice the deal volume of the same time last year.
Examining information from InterWest Partners, there’s clearly one big driver for this spending and that’s Big Data/Analytics. As you may expect, the healthcare industry has enormous hopes for this area and is more than willing to invest. In fact, one of the hot startups of the moment is xG Health Solutions and this is backed by industry stalwart Geisinger Health System. Read more
Talk about Smart Cities seems to be a hot topic at many of the conferences I have attended in the past year. What is driving this interest? Is it technology? Economic issues? Energy Concerns? Other? From what I have seen it is a little bit of all – but it has definitely gained momentum since the publication of the United Nations’ State of the World Population 2011 report, which stated that the global population is expected to grow from 7 billion in 2011 to 9.3 billion by 2050 and as high as 15 billion by 2100.
Along with this expected rise in population is the continued migration from rural areas to urban areas and the creation of huge population centers referred to as “urban agglomerations”, but perhaps better known as “mega-cities”. According to the same report, 50 percent of the worlds’ population currently lives in urban areas and within 35 years this will grow to 67 percent, putting unprecedented demand on infrastructure, energy consumption and services. As such, innovation in urban design, technologies, and services.cities need to become smarter in order to remain sustainable. Read more
There are many stories in business lore of companies failing because they tried to protect their legacy business against a new technology they could have implemented themselves. Probably the most emblematic example – and the one that will be used as a case study in business schools for many years to come – is Kodak. Kodak’s R&D invented and prototyped a digital camera back in 1975. The R&D guys didn’t know what to do with it, and the management only saw the risk to their film business and couldn’t conceptualize how users would relate to it (which, to be fair, wasn’t all that easy in pre-PC, pre-Internet days). My favorite part of that story is the comment in the technical description of the project:
“The camera described in this report represents a first attempt demonstrating a photographic system which may, with improvements in technology, substantially impact the way pictures will be taken in the future.” Read more
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on the coming era of the Industrial Internet. This is a fascinating topic with profound implications for manufacturing, the network and employment. It’s the latter that I’ve been thinking about this morning, specifically, how does an even more automated and connected manufacturing process impact on the size of our global workforce.
I read an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review recently that suggested manufacturing jobs will continue to diminish as machines become increasingly intelligent and able to communicate on a mass scale. Figures seem to confirm this. Between 1995 and 2002, 22 million manufacturing jobs were lost on a global scale. 16 million of these jobs were in China. What’s amazing is that industrial output during this period soared by 30%. Read more
It was a late summer’s afternoon in San Francisco and I’d just finished a long day of talking technology at Dreamforce 12 when I was introduced to the term the ‘Industrial Internet.’ I was listening to guys from GE discuss how they were connecting their jet engines to Chatter. How they were using this social media tool to monitor, test and maintain millions of dollars of engineering investment. How they were embedding their technology with Internet devices that ensured direct communication.
Sure, I’ve read a lot about the Internet of Things and even blogged about it, but there was something about this discussion that made me sit up and take note. Perhaps it was the engineers’ enthusiasm or perhaps it was seeing the technology demonstrated but I was hooked. I started to wonder how other companies could apply this technology, not only to foster more social means of communication but to make their technology more interactive. What happens when you bring your manufacturing process online? What happens when you embrace the Industrial Internet? Read more