Reaffirming Bitcoins’ Strength for Long Term Investment ūüíį

bitcoin

A new study indicates that Bitcoin (BTC) holders make a profit after an average of 1,335 days ‚Äď which equates to roughly three years and eight months. The data was released earlier by Bitcoin maximalists, and the cycle lengths are shown roughly correlate to the various reward halving events.

The chart (shown above) essentially considers the amount of time between different peaks and how long it would take an investor to profit if they bought at the previous cycle’s peak. Refer to the chart above.

This means that a 100% definite profit would have taken a maximum of 1,335 days, which relates to the bull market run that occurred late in 2013 when the Bitcoin price surged to $1,150. If an investor bought at that price, the peak of that cycle, then it would have meant it took until early 2017 before the Bitcoin price finally broke that level again.

Seeing as this chart is looking at the market extremes, missing the peak of that rally would have resulted in a drastically reduced wait for a profit. Holding Bitcoin for 317 days would have given a 75% chance of profit. You’d have a 60% chance of profit if Bitcoin was held for 35 days, and the likelihood that you were up over any single day was 50%.

If that sounds like a long time, comparable data for the stock market is exponentially longer. To contrast, an investor would have needed to hold their position for 23 years to achieve a sure profit on the S&P 500. This makes it clear that not only is Bitcoin safe, long term storage of wealth, but it is a reliable vehicle for your wealth if you are looking to turn a profit quickly.

It’s also notable that the analysis looked purely at the chance of profit and not the scale of that profit. When Bitcoin is on a bull run, the profits there dwarf those achievable on the stock market indices. A real-world example from this year is the Greyscale Bitcoin Investment Trust, which outperformed everything else so far in 2019 with an appreciation of almost 300% to date.

In addition to Bitcoin, Gold has also been an extremely strong performer this year and is presently a hot topic among traders. Bullish signs continue this week and leading investors have been speaking out on the merits of the precious metal. Mark Mobius, the founding partner of Mobius Capital Partners, appeared on CNBC earlier this week and recommended that investors hold 10% of their portfolios in physical gold.

The latest price targets have the Gold price reaching the $1,600 mark before the end of the year. As global trade policy uncertainty continues, Gold looks a solid bet to keep building on its bullish momentum.

INVESTORS UNNERVED AT MORE WARNING SIGNALS IN STOCK MARKET

Earlier this week, a powerful warning signal revealed itself as the stock market got turned upside down.

Value stocks, or those with low multiples and stable fundamentals, significantly outperformed their growth counterparts. This type of shift is unnerving to investors because ‚Äúmomentum stocks‚ÄĚ, or those defined by their large growth expectations relative to the broader market, have outperformed value names in recent years. Rotation away from these stocks could result in a downturn for the broader market.

Over the past 5 years, momentum stocks have blown away their value counterparts. Most of the top-performing S&P 500 stocks this year are growth names. Seven of the 10 best-performing stocks in the benchmark ‚ÄĒ including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Advanced Micro Devices and MarketAxess Holdings ‚ÄĒ have a much higher valuation relative to the broader index, FactSet data shows.

Monday’s session was the complete opposite of the year’s trend, however. This, coupled with geopolitical trade uncertainty, casts a dark forecast over the markets for the coming months.

LEADING INVESTOR SAYS ‚ÄėGOLD IS THE WAY TO GO‚Äô

Mark Mobius, the founding partner of Mobius Capital Partners, appeared on CNBC earlier this week and recommended that investors hold 10% of their portfolios in physical gold.

‚ÄúPhysical gold is the way to go, in my view, because of the incredible increase in money supply,‚ÄĚ said Mobius.

‚ÄúAll the central banks are trying to get interest rates down, they are pumping money into the system. Then, you have all of the cryptocurrencies coming in, so nobody really knows how much currency is out there,‚ÄĚ he told CNBC‚Äôs ‚ÄúStreet Signs‚ÄĚ on Friday.

Mobius said that investors should place at least 10% of their portfolios in physical gold, with the rest invested in dividend-yielding equities. That’s especially true if the dollar gets weaker.

‚ÄúPeople are going to finally realize that you got to have gold because all the currencies will be losing value,‚ÄĚ he added.

Gold can retain its value much better than other forms of currency and is traditionally a safe haven during market volatility. A weaker dollar tends to boost the price of gold as global trade in the yellow metal is denominated in U.S. dollars.

‚ÄúAt the end of the day, gold is a means of exchange. It‚Äôs a stable currency in some way,‚ÄĚ said Mobius.

Now is the time to take advantage of the rising price of gold and protect yourself from stock market volatility. Indicators are showing that these bullish trends will continue in the gold markets, giving you an excellent opportunity for immediate growth and providing protection for your assets against future economic downturns. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Act now and reap the benefits.

Fashion Builds Trust with Blockchain

fashion BC

The gig economy and millennial are placing experience over just customer service and rewards over loyalty. The expectations are steep rising when it comes to the Apparel and Footwear as the industry leaders are elevating to overall fashion management. Combined with richer experience expectations, consumers are demanding more awareness with granular traceability and sustainability attempting to drive deeper to know more about apparels they buy, including the story behind each garment and how and where they are manufactured. It is high time for fashion brands to prove their trustworthiness necessitating complete transparency across the value chain on ethical sourcing and sustainability. It is more important in current times where many apparel companies lack ethical supply chains, and ~10% of global emissions are produced by the fashion industry alone.

The blockchain beyond cryptocurrencies offers a decentralized structure that provides immutability, transparency, and security making data trustworthy and scalability.  Blockchain technology has the potential to enable creating a fair, safe and more transparent fashion industry.  In this blog post, I will try to articulate how blockchain can bring added value to transforming business model and culture of the apparel industry from a supply chain that prizes consumption to a demand chain that takes pride in sustainability.

By leveraging Blockchain, fashion companies can offer greater transparency in supply chains creating new incentives for companies to change the way they do business and showcase their organizations. As shown in the diagram above, Blockchain helps create a peer-to-peer and decentralized network that connects all stakeholders in the value chain (design houses, farmers, raw material suppliers, manufacturers, transporters, distributors, retail outlets, banks, consumers and other parties of the complete supply chain). Using a decentralized system, all communication between these stakeholders will be direct and will not pass through a specific central entity. Due to its decentralized nature, the blockchain platform will not have any single point of failure and will not rely on any single entity.

The blockchain has demonstrated fashion supply chain transformation improving track-and-trace and inventory management thus far. By a further confluence of Blockchain, 3D printing and AI/ML technologies, the fashion industry may very well see much more dramatic improvements. Blockchain technology empowering fashion business with uniform real-time access to updated product information supplied by brands, a universal pathway for retailers to immediately report back to suppliers on aspects like stock levels and customer feedback, and has potential to add further on to this new building block structure.

Summarizing below how Blockchain technology further augments fashion value chain capabilities that help to deliver better outcomes.

Fashion Value Chain Capability Building with Blockchain:

Blockchain technology can provide consumers visibility into the entire fashion lifecycle of a garment, including materials and vendors used, the labor sources, and even the production, shipping and warehouse locations involved. Everyone from the farmer to the textile mill to the garment factory can communicate directly with the brand that buys from them. As well, consumers can interact directly with the brand/design house for co-creation or customization of the garments, influencing pricing and even co-investing in the concept. I can all out the following to articulate how Blockchain is augmenting fashion industry capabilities,

  • Create new levels of trust among Suppliers, Brands, and Customers
  • Design better PRODUCT, Offer improved SERVICE and Tell a unique STORY
  • Transform Apparel companies to Fashion Conglomerates

Delivering Better Outcomes with Fashion Blockchain:

Global companies like Patagonia and Everlane have been successfully betting on sustainability and supply chain transparency as a distinct selling proposition enabling customers to identify their suppliers. How Blockchain is delivering better fashion outcomes is summarized below.

  1. Enabling sustainability and circular economy: Blockchain is boosting fair trade practices offering consumers’ increasingly demanding transparency and allowing them to know where the fashion product is coming from.
  2. Better Traceability and Transparency: Blockchain enables fashion companies to communicate with the customers the complete product story (DNA) for each and every fashion garment. This includes comprehensive details on all stages of product life cycle starting from design inspiration, raw materials, manufacturing and distribution to the stores and also providing visibility of all stakeholders involved in the value chain to create traceability and transparency in true sense.
  3. Improved Experience & Goodwill: Blockchain applications allow customers to scan the tag and discover the history of every garment and thus help in improving the customer buying experience. Blockchain applications also can help fashion companies who license their trademarks or designs in tracking the sales and working out the royalty payments. As well, it enables design houses to document process steps and thus having the organic evidence of ownership on the designs.
  4. Brand Authenticity:  Fashion products can be verified by both retailers and consumers since branded garments pass through the blockchain steps and hence can be tracked. This could help to reduce the counterfeiting and diverting out of authentic products. Every time a fashion item moves from one place to other, its tag or code gets scanned thus recording its location with the time stamp. Consumers would be able to scan the item and trace its journey from raw material stage to their home and would be able to ascertain if the product is real or a counterfeit. Blockchain applications can help provide protection against the counterfeiting.

Fashion Blockchain Use Cases:

Blockchain is creating enough traction in the Fashion industry and successful use cases are increasing day by day. Here are few use cases of interest,

  • VeChain solution to tackle the fraud and ensure anti-counterfeiting of fashion products.¬† It provides a company‚Äôs product with a QR code or smart chip with its own unique ID. The company embeds the code, or chip, in its products, scans it, and stores it on the blockchain. The company can then track the product along with each phase of its life cycle: from its creation to the consumer. The blockchain is tamper proof. Consumers will know when they purchase that they are purchasing the original, authentic product.
  • Fashion Coin (FSHN)¬†is a peer-2-peer version of electronic cash for Generation Z. Based on creativity, game theory and steganography+cryptography, Fashion Coin provides seamless and effortless online payments ¬†– with maximum speed and limitless scale.
  • LUKSO is an open blockchain ecosystem specifically created for the fashion and lifestyle industry, providing a decentralized innovation and trust infrastructure for fashion brands, start-ups, and customers. The LUKSO architecture encourages its users to design and deploy an infinite number of innovative features for the modern fashion system: it opens up digital wardrobes and sharing economies, secures IP rights and authenticity, enables omnichannel communications and novel ways of funding collections.
  • faizod is currently paving the way in this area, working together with a logistics company to pioneer a prototype of such a Blockchain-based tracking system. The prototype pairs Blockchain with radio frequency identification (RFID), which uses radio waves to transmit information to a reader.
  • Provenance is increasing the transparency in the fashion supply chain by tracking the journey of raw material through the supply chain, this collaboration between fashion designer Martine Jarlgaard and Provenance highlights the role of blockchain technology in increasing transparency and substantiating claims in the fashion¬†industry.

Given all the advantages, blockchain clearly seems to be the future for fashion, however, to speed up the application, a single and comprehensive blockchain standard adopted by the fashion industry has to come in fast.

Life Reimagined with Seamless Travel Experience

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Reimagining life in every aspect and bouncing ideas that create better experiences is the motto of this blog page. As per the AARP research in 2018, 57% of leisure travelers like to spend time with family and friends, 49% want to relax and rejuvenate, and 47% try to get away from routine stressed life. But the real-life experience of travelers is just the opposite of these expectations. Solutions that offer seamless travel experiences is the need of the day for better leisure outcomes. The ideal travel experience of current generation passengers would include:

  • Real-time journey information delivered to their personal devices
  • Biometric identification to facilitate their travel processes
  • Automation of more airport processes
  • Wait times of less than 10 minutes at security/immigration
  • Bags tracked throughout their journey
  • A human touch when things go wrong

What if a passenger arriving at security and immigration checkpoints has been previously vetted at check-in allowing a seamless, contactless process where the passenger simply needs to look at a smart camera to be cleared and allowed passage? Offering universal travel pass integrating cross-border security checks, hotel check-ins and entire travel life cycle tied with digital identity should be the new mantra of the travel industry.

Such universal travel passes will create a newfound demand for travel consultants to be more integrated with various service providers, making it a lucrative profession. Each traveler will be assigned a passenger record name/record locator so that all the services they opt for will be availed and kept secure, and the travel consultants will be the integral component of providing this.

Seamless universal travel experience is a great value to the travelers. And such a seamless travel experience is becoming a reality with new digital technologies. These technologies can enable travel agencies to transform into ‚Äėdigital travel agents‚Äô, enabling the booking process to become a trip planning experience, where agents will be able to provide more content, information and booking details. The congruence of technologies like IoT, Cloud, AI, Voice-Enabled Devices, Blockchain, and 5G has the potential to offer better experiences to travelers. As tourism continues to grow and route availability continues to shrink, airports are turning to seamless travel initiatives to help passengers stay on the move and increase their satisfaction.

The dominant technologies enabling seamless universal travel experience include,

  • Internet of Things: IoT can create a seamless trip where travelers are connected to their travel agents at every stage. IoT has the ability to connect customers with travel consultation throughout the entire lifecycle of the travel experience. For agents, a global or universal passenger record can allow travel consulting to change according to any requests from the customer. As for travelers, agents can provide a universal ‚Äėtravel pass‚Äô that can be used for a trip, without separate boarding passes, hotel check-in, bus passes, and even theme park tickets. This universal travel pass would also handle multiple currencies, where travelers won‚Äôt need to worry about exchanging currencies when traveling between different countries.
  • Cloud – Improves the collaboration with travelers for a more personal experience transforming the offline model of the travel agent to have access to all cloud-based bookings regardless of location
  • AI and voice-enabled devices – AI has the potential to transform the inevitable hassles and inconvenience of airport travel into delightful passenger experiences. AI could enable travelers can leave their home with one single biometric identifier ‚Äď and board a plane or cruise, check into their hotel, and hire a car with that unique identifier. Acuity Market Intelligence forecasts¬†that the total number of airport biometric touchpoints – increasingly AI-enhanced facial recognition – at check-in, bag drop, security, and boarding gates will increase at a 27% CAGR from 2019 – 2022. Voice will be the future of booking travel. Travel agents are then able to take advantage of this and sell high value and high engagement products via voice
  • Blockchain – Blockchain technology could develop a ticket-booking solution that integrates multiple agencies – long-distance, regional,¬† and local agents, including Uber/Lyft car- or any other car-sharing firms.¬†With a blockchain-based solution, travelers can book their travel with agents participating in the network with just a few clicks on a single website, without the need to switch across multiple sites and providers. The blockchain ledger can then record single customer purchase and even accurately can split the payment among the providers.
  • 5G network high speeds – 5G will give agents a better way to connect with travelers during their trips. If the traveler has a 5G connection, that allows the agent to be able to have a better video call with the traveler, without physically being there with them, assisting them along the way. 5G combining with VR/AR technologies offers a more engaging and immersive booking experience

Travel & Tourism sector should embrace the change creating a mass personalization contextualized to the travelers and leveraging ecosystem working with all stakeholders involved to maximize value leveraging biometrics and universal digital identity for truly seamless passenger experience.

Future of Financial Services Workforce

UntitledFinTech disruptors have been finding a way in by focusing on a particular innovative technology or process in everything from mobile payments to insurance. A forte of technologies “AI-ML-DL-NLP-CV” is fueling the FinTech innovations. The large financial services companies can’t be complacent as FinTechs have been attacking some of the most profitable elements of the value chain and as well as areas which were historically subsidized.

Let us refresh our memory on these AI technologies and their relevance to the financial services industry.

  • AI makes machines to learn from experience and perform human-like tasks – AI offers robotic & intelligent process automation (RPA/IPA) of financial processes
  • ML is a specific subset of AI that trains a machine on how to learn – ML is enabling algorithmic trading lead to better predictability and decisions around credit and consumer lending, thereby lowering risk to the bank or financial institution
  • DL is s a type of¬†ML that trains a computer to perform human-like tasks, such as identifying images – leverage big data (customer demographics, consumption records, etc.) to parameterize a DL model that can simulate the likely response to new product/service configurations (e.g. new credit card with cash rewards, moderate interest, zero interest on balance transfers, etc.)
  • NLP is a branch of¬†AI that helps computers understand, interpret and manipulate human language – NLP is shaping the future of banking with voice assistants and ubiquitous computing.
  • CV s a field of¬†AI that trains computers to interpret and better understand the visual world –¬† CV is transforming financial services by using appealing visuals and new solutions for a new world¬†where seeing is believing

These new-age FinTech developments are leading to a continuous transformation of the financial services workforce. The changing landscape and evolving financial services resource pyramid is presented in the diagram above. I would like to highlight a few trends reshaping the talent of financial services on this blog post.

  • AI automating business-as-usual activities of financial services: Robots and AI already started addressing key pressure points, reduce costs and mitigate risks. Building capabilities to target a specific combination of capabilities such as social and emotional intelligence, natural language processing, logical reasoning, identification of patterns and self-supervised learning, physical sensors, mobility, navigation and more are in swing. The goal is to look far beyond replacing the bank teller. There are whole categories of work that had not been seen as cost effective to automate. However, with lightweight software ‚Äėbots‚Äô, workers are freed up to focus on higher value activities.
  • Changing patterns with Human vs Machines foray:¬†Are financial services firms moving to re-shoring of work with talented machines? The answer seems to be, Yes. In the last two decades, many financial firms have ‚Äėoffshored‚Äô repetitive tasks to lower-cost locations such as India, China, and Poland. However, relative costs for labor in those regions have started to rise. Combine this with improvements in robotics and AI capabilities and machines are becoming credible substitutes for many human workers. As the capabilities continue to improve and technology continues to drive down the cost of machines, these forces will combine to spur re-shoring, as more tasks can now be performed at a competitive cost on-shore. Even functions that seem dependent on human input, such as product design, fraud prevention, and underwriting, will be affected. At the same time, the need for software engineering talent will continue to expand
  • It is not just automation, Technology is picking high-end work: ML is enabling next-generation algorithmic trading systems are moving from descriptive and predictive to prescriptive analysis, improving their ability to anticipate and respond to emerging trends. And while algorithm trading programs were once limited to hedge funds and institutional investors, private investors can now get access to them too. AI soon automate a considerable amount of underwriting, especially in mature markets where data is readily available. Even in situations where AI does not completely replace an underwriter, greater automation would allow humans to concentrate on assessing and pricing risks in the less data-rich emerging markets. It would also free up underwriters to provide more risk management, product development advice and other higher value support for clients.
  • While building machines, the real focus is on accessing the necessary talent and skills to execute strategies and win markets: Financial services firms lack the internal knowledge and expertise need to implement a customer-centric approach. For example, a mainframe programmer who maintains a core banking platform may not have the skills or interests to learn to code AI applications. Many senior IT executives, non-IT staff-members, and even technical personnel do not have the skills needed to build and operate an effective digital channel offering. Financial institutions are starting to realize they will need talent with very different skills. This might mean finding more industrial engineers for robotics work, or retraining underwriters to do higher value work once AI is used to automate certain existing functions. But the issue runs deeper than developing a different competency model. First, firms to understand what is already working and what needs to be done differently. This might involve changes across the human capital strategy through revitalized recruitment, learning and development, partnering and cultural initiatives.
  • The contingent workforce is creating the talent-exchange mindset: financial firms need to address is the growing preference for flexibility and entrepreneurship among many in the labor force. In the United States, the US Chamber of Commerce has found that 27% of the labor force is currently self-employed, and some believe that this ‚Äėcontingent workforce‚Äô could rise to 40% or more within several years. Practically, for this reason alone, financial institutions will need to adopt a ‚Äėtalent exchange‚Äô mindset, leveraging part-time and/or self-employed individuals in a creative manner. This may range from bidding out specific tasks or work to expanding the use of seasonal or temporary workers. Of course, this will introduce challenges around culture and quality, and this will introduce new opportunities as well. For example, we might see employers using online platforms to manage confidentiality and legal risks in creative ways.

Artificial Intelligence capabilities impacting the financial industry and thereby attitudes toward work continue to change, some of the attributes that have benefitted institutions in the past such as big firm and stable employment are slowly losing their appeal. Refreshing financial firm’s approach to recruiting, learning and development, and culture may offer an effective way to address issues that FinTech has brought into the open market.

Welcome your ideas in further spotting future trends in financial services workforce.

 

Internet of Medical Things (IMoT)

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Many healthcare firms and consumers have latched onto the Internet¬†of¬†Medical¬†Things (IMoT) by way of¬†wearables, such as FitBits and Garmin¬†watches, referred to as ‚ÄúFitTech.‚ÄĚ With over 2/3 of¬†medical devices¬†estimated to be connected over the next 3 years, IMoT is going to have a significant impact in¬†Healthcare¬†operational and¬†financial¬†processes. Let us examine the impact of IMoT on¬†healthcare¬†payers,¬†health¬†providers, and consumers.

A) IMoT and Payers: 

i) Underwriting: The first process comes to mind is Underwriting. By equipping consumers with IoT-enabled medical devices underwriters can better understand what an individual’s health looks like daily, rather than at long historical intervals. With this wealth of information at the helm for an individual, underwriters gain access to health data from periods of time that used to be non-existent in health records and claims. IMoT can enable underwriting for

  • improved bottom-line of the¬†payer¬†by better understanding what each individual new member will¬†cost¬†them
  • increased wallet share by preventing lower-risk members from being improperly marked as high-risk based on one-off¬†health¬†encounters
  • Optimized underwriters‚Äô time spent on¬†due diligence, especially avoiding unnecessary full¬†medical¬†underwriting¬†(FMU.)

ii) Preventive Care:¬†Preventative care is a perfect application of IoMT. Biometric¬†sensors¬†and other devices can collect real-time¬†data¬†from¬†health¬†plan members, help point to higher-risk¬†metrics¬†or¬†lifestyle¬†choices, and notify payers to get the correct members enrolled in¬†prevention¬†programs. Oe successful¬†use case¬†is Beam¬†Dental. The Beam Brush tracks an individual’s tooth brushing habits (such as the¬†dental¬†habits of employees under their employer‚Äôs¬†insurance¬†plan) and allows their good habits to drive down the¬†cost¬†of¬†dental insurance¬†for their group. By activating members to take¬†control¬†of their¬†health¬†before chronic or¬†acute¬†health¬†issues arise, payers will see success in loss¬†prevention¬†as well as a happier (and healthier!) member base.

iii) Claims and billing efficiencies: IoT can aid in cumbersome tasks that waste administrative hours by leveraging AI led solutions, such as determining whether a claim should be accepted or rejected for minor claims or processing payments. By freeing up administrative time from these tasks that can be automated, payers can invest more in programming for their members to drive focus towards prevention leading to savings in administrative costs and savings in claims payments from healthier members.

B) IMoT and Providers:

IMoT has the potential to facilitate remote patient care to optimizing hospital operations to streamlining data management, healthcare providers can leverage the lucrative potential of IoT. These use cases are elaborated below.

i) Improved hospital operations: IMoT can be introduced and ramped up to optimize a hospital’s daily functions and cut unnecessary costs. Tracking medical assets within a facility is a good use case. Every year, millions of dollars bleed from hospitals from lost or stolen equipment. By attaching sensors (e.g., RFID or Bluetooth) to equipment, hospital staff can track the exact locations at any point in time, allowing for better oversight. This can solve the problem of lost equipment, reduce theft, and even track overall use of equipment. The life of medical equipment varies greatly based on the frequency of use. By tracking movement over the life of a piece of equipment, hospital administration can get a better idea of when to replace or schedule maintenance to avoid periods of time where equipment is unusable.

A second IMoT use case is in intake or discharge processes. With IoT, unobtrusive sensors can be placed in patient wristbands and staff badges better to track how quickly patients flow through different areas of the hospital (such as pre-op rooms to the operating room) or how efficiently staff attends to a given patient. This can remove backup from current bottlenecks in flow at the hospital, including but not limited to Emergency Department wait times, intake, discharge, and shift changes.

ii) Interoperability and Data Monetization: IMoT at a basic level improves existing systems for providers. For example, biometric devices and sensors are often system-agnostic and can connect through APIs to multitudes of EHR systems. If a patient has doctors in multiple health systems, their disparate EHRs (and therefore doctors and care plans) can be updated accordingly. The IMoT combined with AI/ML and NLP can nurture the massive loads of HC data. By relying on IoT-enabled technologies, providers will no longer deal with unusable, unstructured data but rather well-organized and insightful data systems. The world of well-managed data in hospitals and health systems opens up with the adoption of forward-thinking technology. Doctors can better tailor care plans to patients’ specific needs based on historical data of like patients and avoid oversight of potential complications such as contraindications.

iii) Expanding remote care¬†revenue¬†streams:¬†IoMT eases the¬†implementation¬†of remote¬†patient care. With IMoT doctors can help patients¬†purchase¬†and set up remote equipment to measure¬†biometrics, provide care, and talk face-to-face over the¬†internet¬†i.e.¬†telemedicine. Doctors then are able to receive the¬†data¬†they need to adequately modify¬†care plans without requiring a¬†patient¬†to walk into the¬†office¬†as well as have more frequent¬†communication¬†and therefore a better understanding of a¬†patient‚Äôs day-to-day¬†health¬†status. IoMT not only allows for better continuous care but also boosts¬†patient satisfaction¬†and¬†engagement. Patients that spend more face time with their providers tend to have better relationships and therefore better¬†patient satisfaction‚ÄĒa critical component of¬†healthcare¬†with more and more models shifting to value-based¬†reimbursement¬†from¬†health¬†payers.

IMoT implementation roadmap:

While the Internet of Medical Things has the potential to fuel HC growth, IMoT implementation sought to be a rocky path. But approaching IMOT implementations with a pragmatic approach leads to a better navigation path. Let us evaluate some basics steps of IMoT roadmap.

  • Identifying¬†Healthcare¬†organization¬†business¬†goals to build IMoR¬†ecosystem
  • Develop a viable and convincing¬†business¬†case to roll-out IMoT
  • Next coming up with a clear¬†vision¬†and goals to realize with connecting¬†medical devices
  • Big-Bang approach may lead to burn-out, and hence identify pilots or PoCs od IMoT success areas
  • Take an iterative approach to reiterate the¬†ideation¬†process¬†and move forward with an¬†implementation¬†initiative

Sounds generic! That is the stepping stone for IMoT implementation. Imagine that healthcare companies manufacture more than half a million different types of medical devices, including wearable external medical devices like insulin pumps, blood glucose monitors, etc, implanted medical devices Рimplantable cardioverter defibrillator devices, and stationary medical devices Рscanning machines, etc. to name a few. Most patient interactions with the HC system involve the use of medical equipment and devices. IMoT brings these interactions to life. Hence taking an incremental approach is the only way forward.

The true¬†implementation¬†of IMoT involves, “developing an in-depth understanding of end users”, “defining¬†funding,¬†business¬†and¬†operating models”, “clearly understand device¬†interoperability¬†requirements”, “embed¬†security¬†at the core”, “ensuring¬†regulatory¬†compliance”, “more importantly attract talent and build¬†digital¬†capabilities”, “improve the¬†adoption¬†of¬†medical¬†technology¬†at scale and with¬†trust”, and finally “create an¬†ecosystem¬†of seamless¬†partnerships”.

IMoT Solution Providers:

Colleagues on this forum have highlighted many advantages of IMoT like cutting emergency room wait times, remote health monitoring, ensuring critical equipment availability, improved drug management, optimized staffing and workflow, better diagnoses, better outcomes with fewer false alarms, etc. As IMoT value proposition is gaining more traction, many solution providers are offering products and solution to tap this value.

With an estimated market value for IMoT technologies >$150 billion in over next 3 to 4 years, Philips, Siemens, GE Healthcare and Medtronic are currently leading IoMT technology investments, with Philips primarily dealing with cardiac monitoring, remote patient communication devices and sensor-related products, and GE and Medtronic instead focusing on cloud-based technologies in existing monitoring devices, implants, and cardiac pacemakers.. Listing below few examples.

  • IMoT and Telehealth: Health Net Connect offers various remote patient monitoring packages that monitor conditions like CHF, COPD, diabetes, and hypertension with devices like BP/BG monitors, Handheld ECGs, pulse oximeters and spirometers. Not only is this technology leading to reduced costs as patients handle everything in-house, but by eliminating the need to visit health professionals and vice versa, it‚Äôs also improving their overall patient experience.
  • IMoT and Drug Management: Proteus Discover is a health company that measures medication treatment effectiveness and helps physicians improve clinical outcomes and patients reach health goals through sensor-embedded pills like the one mentioned above. Once the ingestible sensor-containing pill reaches the stomach, it sends a signal to patch the patient is wearing, which monitors each time a pill is taken, as well as their general rest and activity patterns. another example is, Abilify MyCite approved by the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration
  • IMoT and Medical Device Monitoring: e-Alert from Philips are also ensuring that critical hardware is always accessible, and if something like a breakdown does happen, staff members will be immediately alerted.
  • Siemens¬†IoT solutions for the medical device industry are powered by combining big data with digital twins, a virtual representation of actual devices, moving in tandem across the lifecycle and connected by digital threads. By connecting virtual development and production planning environments with real support and lifecycle production data, Siemens equipping med-tech organizations with the transparency and advanced analytic tools required to gain a competitive edge using big data.
  • eVisit is a telemedicine platform that enables doctors to conduct examinations and prescribe remedies for their patients by remote.
  • Amiko.IO focuses on providing products for respiratory disease management, complete with an AI-powered platform.
  • InfoBionic‚Äôs MoMe Kardia provides remote monitoring of cardiac arrhythmia.
Challenges implementing Healthcare IoT / IMoT:

HC firms have to overcome a few key challenges ranging from data security to legacy infrastructure that may hinder health care IoT initiatives. Alongside these evident challenges, IMoT should address the following areas for widespread adoption.

  1. Health data explosion and sensitivities: HC is one the largest sector contributing to massive data creation. HC organizations to use IMoT technology effectively have to address growing data storage needs. As well HC has to be exceptionally careful to treat patient data from IoT devices according to federal and state regulations. The flood of data created by the IoT gadgets and devices used in the HC industry could also cause unforeseen problems if organizations are not equipped to handle it properly and verify its quality.
  2. Lack of¬†EHR¬†system¬†integration.¬†While the¬†data¬†that is collected from IMoT devices can include a patient’s¬†vital signs, physical activity that information does not typically¬†travel¬†to an¬†EHR¬†system and, in most cases, is not centralized or made easily available to providers. This limits the information’s value since it is not always presented to the provider in a¬†clinical¬†context.
  3. An increase of available attack surfaces with IoT devices: IMoT devices explosion in health care present concerning vulnerabilities as device use rises, so does the number of ways hackers could infiltrate the system and mine for the most valuable data. Hackers could potentially learn about how a connected medical device operates by getting into the system and reading its error logs. The knowledge the hackers gain could facilitate breaking into a hospital network or making devices publish incorrect readings that influence patient care. It is high time for vendors, providers, and manufacturers’ to collaborate to reduce patient risks by closing the gaps that can form between the layers of an IMoT system by reinforcing standards and normalizing secure protocols. It’s not possible to know all the cybersecurity risks health organizations may face. Nonetheless, facilities planning to implement IoT technology must take care to increase awareness of existing threats and understand how to protect networks and gadgets from hackers’ efforts.
  4. IMoT¬†data¬†in silos due to interoperability¬†challenges:¬†Patients are likely to collect different sets of¬†data¬†when using different¬†medical devices¬†depending on each device’s purpose and, in some cases, the ordering physician.¬†IMoT¬†data¬†alone may not be as meaningful if it is not within the context of a full¬†health¬†record.¬†With the lack of wider¬†adoption¬†of adequate¬†interoperability,¬†data¬†from different IMoT devices may remain locked in each individual system and lose its potential value to the¬†rest¬†of a patient’s care team.
  5. Data security causes concerns in the IMoT implementations: From the time that the data is collected at the device level to the point that it is transmitted over to its final destination, securing that information is critical and is required under HIPAA. But with the lack of common security standards and practices, many health IT professionals have concerns about the risks associated with IMoT device tampering and data breaches.
  6. Plan for ecosystem needs to be successful: According to a recent Cisco survey, ~60% of projects encounter trouble at the PoC stage or shortly thereafter. The study suggested that utilizing external partnerships (e.g. platforms) was a crucial factor for those organizations that achieved successful implementations. When it comes to the starting small and prioritizing projects that align with their most prominent business objectives or patient needs is key to the success.
  7. Overcoming legacy infrastructure challenges: Outdated infrastructure is a known fact in HC. Even though retrofitting can breathe new life into aging infrastructure, truly taking advantage of IoT is tricky if a facility’s infrastructure is outdated. Hence using IMoT in ways that make sense for the needs, budgets, and infrastructures of HC organization and having robust plan to ramping up resources to fill the gaps is the key to the success of IMoT implementations.
  8. Stringent high availability and near-zero tolerance for failure: One of the common use of IMoT technology in HC is to apply it to patient monitoring systems. While it is handy to take that approach, unlike other IT systems (ex: websites), these devices typically cannot go through planned periods of downtime. Hence, updates have to occur seamlessly as people use the monitoring devices. For the hospitals to depend on IMoT-enabled supply cabinets to track resources reducing inventory management issues, IMoT devices devices are to be audited correctly eliminating human errors.

AI in Healthcare

AI
Healthcare fueled by AI/ML/DL:
AI Use Cases in Healthcare:
Roadmap to Implement AI in HC
Commoditizing AI/ML in Healthcare:
AI/ML Impacts on HC. AI and machine learning are already delivering value in HC. The following are high impact areas.

The Changing Role of Retail Workforce

I was visiting Lush – a fresh handmade cosmetics store along with Lush_app.jpgmy daughter and felt that the shopping experience compared with the past is changing in a noticeable way, in particular when it comes to interactions with the store workforce. I came to know that Lush employees typically go through extensive training to ensure they have the tools and knowledge to deliver this kind of service. At Lush the digital technology offers a replacement to the information usually found on packaging ‚Äď the Lush Lens app uses machine learning to recognize products, meaning customers can simply scan ‚Äėnaked‚Äô products to discover key information about them. Hence the retail workforce is upskilling to add value beyond the digital offerings.

This blog post is a result of the experience above. Global Retail and e-commerce leaders reimagining their business models in digital evolution and which is further changing workplace practices. I can say from my vantage point that digital, social and environmental developments are shifting the needs of the retail workforce. It is evident that device and sensor proliferation is aiding retailers to experiment intelligent and connected methods to innovate new business models to try new markets, offer new services and create rich & compelling customer experiences. The new-age developments listed below reflects the continuous transformation of the retail workforce

  1. Knowledgeable workforce offering personalized shopping experience: In a world where just about any product or service is instantly available online, shoppers visit a physical location is driven by specific needs. It means recognizing that shoppers would make the trip because they need something more than what they find in the digital world: face-to-face contact, empathy, and deep expertise. Whether they want to figure out how to hook up a smart home, what dress to wear to a formal dinner, or what to pack for that dream wilderness vacation, they want to talk to someone who can offer them more knowledge and personal understanding that they can find with a quick online search.
  2. Fitment of the retail workforce in experience economy: Stores just can’t be product-fulfillment centers. In both the physical and virtual worlds, product fulfillment is fast becoming the domain of AI and robotics, with retailers, consumer products companies and e-commerce platforms racing to develop the best systems to anticipate consumer needs and deliver products to meet them. What technology cannot fulfill, however, are human needs that remain unmet today and will continue to evolve in the future. One thing I’ve learned through my work is that as technological connections grow, so does the human need for meaningful connections. This need is what’s driving the experience economy. Whether in restaurants, travel groups, shared workspaces, yoga studios or spin classes, people are actively seeking intimate connection with other people and finding it in spaces and communities like these.
  3. Uplifting workforce skills is the need of the day: Process improvement, speed, and efficiency are at the core of successful online businesses. With online infiltrating over to brick-and-mortar sales it’s a mismatch in areas such as supply chain, inventory management, trend identification, competitive pricing analysis, etc.; for example, the ability to automate 99% of pricing decisions, not only offers a real-time advantage, but it also eliminates hours and hours of manual work per week. Hence the use and mastery of algorithms is a key tool of the buyer in successful online companies, a skill that is not as prevalent in brick and mortar;

With the advent of modern technologies bringing e-commerce intelligent systems that make running a retail store more efficient, my experiences with retailers progressed on leveraging in-store data. Having the right retail workforce management solution can take care of tedious administrative tasks across the board, while simultaneously collecting data to instantly improve in-store operations. With this schedule, store managers can be confident knowing that the most knowledgeable and high performing sales assistants are on the shop floor during times of high customer traffic, enhancing the shopping experience and resulting in more sales.

As retailers continue to evolve in experience economy continuum, it’s the value that a capable retail associate can add Рthe expertise, social sensitivity, and problem-solving skills Рthat will differentiate the good stores from the bad, the stores that will endure from those destined to fade from the scene.