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Month: August 2020

31 Aug 2020
The Next Boom: In The Fast-Emerging Digital Economy, Company Size Is Irrelevant

The Next Boom: In The Fast-Emerging Digital Economy, Company Size Is Irrelevant

This is the latest installment of my ongoing series of discussions with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and corporate leaders on what to expect as the world recovers in the post-Covid era in terms of technology and innovation.

Over the past few months, small businesses have been taking a beating, while larger cash-rich and technology-laden organizations were able to weather the storm. However, as the storm clouds emerge and the new business day begins, we may see things tilt dramatically in favor of smaller enterprises.

Technology is making this so. Previously, only those with resources or the right connections could get started during tough times. Think about the cheap, or even free, and abundant online resources now available to entrepreneurs and innovators, compared to the financial crisis of 2008-2009. “A big difference between 2008 and now is that it’s much easier to start a company because of major technology advancements compared to 10 or 15 years ago,” says Yancey Spruill, CEO of DigitalOcean. “Between six to eight million businesses are started each year, and a majority of them are building their businesses on the cloud. The widespread availability of tech infrastructure like cloud computing has lowered barriers of entry for entrepreneurs, regardless of their background or expertise. Technologies supporting remote work also make it easier for these founders to acquire talent outside their immediate geographic areas.”

In the post-Covid, re-emerging economy that we’ll see in the coming years, we’ll see a much more level playing field, thanks, to an accelerated pace of digitization. “A new era of inclusion, collaboration and innovation is about to begin, and online platforms will help lead the charge,” says David Carmell, attorney, entrepreneur, and CEO of DealRockit. “Superior digital experience will become the new normal, which then opens access and opportunity to more people and businesses than ever before. Small business will drive this new age of customer experience and financial inclusion, enabling individuals, businesses, and enterprises alike to interact and transact in unprecedented ways.”

In addition, entrepreneur or innovator location no longer matters “because everyone is working remotely,” says Mark Gorenberg, founder and managing director at Zetta Venture Partners. “Companies can be built anywhere and the worker base can be distributed. This is leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs beyond the main tech centers.”

For example, Gorenberg continues, “our most recent investment was for a company headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, Ensodata, a leading company in waveform AI to improve sleep disorders. We are seeing tremendous opportunities in Europe and other locations beyond the normal tech centers of Northern California, Boston and New York City. So, while the trend to distributed teams with online collaboration tools was already happening, this recession has further accelerated that trend. Location almost doesn’t matter.”

Don’t feel as if you have to be a high-tech software company, either — the opportunities to advance in the digital economy extends to all types of business. “We tend to think that the businesses that are going to fare the best are those squarely in the tech, software-enabled, space,” says Ajei Gopal, CEO of Ansys. “But manufacturing companies are just as nimble, and we see a huge opportunity for the post-Covid era to accelerate their adoption of digitization technology. Take product development, for example. Digitization has modernized and accelerated the product development process. Few products are sketched by hand on a drafting table today. Instead, the development cycle – from ideation to design and analysis to manufacturing to operations – occurs virtually. In fact, in the early phases of the modern development lifecycle, the product itself is entirely digital.”

Many entrepreneurs and professionals — laid off, or starting side projects — are likely to start new businesses at this time. Or, larger companies recognizing they need to recast their business models are being spurred to explore and experiment with new opportunities. “The pandemic has exposed areas of opportunity in education, streaming, gaming and work from home applications, and accelerated enterprise digital transformation by years,” says Spruill.

“Often, the most high-quality people are available as established companies put new product development on hold and open up more future white space for entrepreneurs to fill,” says Gorenberg

Entrepreneurs — as well as internal corporate innovation movers — “should pay close attention to digital platforms,’ Carmell prescribes. “They are the key to the future. In the race to deliver the best customer experiences, companies will increasingly turn to platforms to accelerate interactions and transactions, giving super-participation powers to users. Platforms create deeper partnerships and collaborations, allowing businesses to offer free products and services with far-reaching capabilities and benefits to clients, prospects, and business/referral partners.”

That leads to a “fast track to growth, a better map for navigating change, improved customer experiences, and broader financial inclusion,’ Carmell says.

“Start with the ecosystem in front of you,” Carmell advises. “This means your teams, prospects, clients, referral partners and others that make up your company’s constituency. It is imperative to create a virtuous cycle where everyone wins, demonstrating how much more your business can and will do.”

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2020/08/30/the-next-boom-in-the-fast-emerging-digital-economy-company-size-is-irrelevant/#7d5d3faa3216

30 Aug 2020
Regulated Blockchain: A New Dawn in Technological Advancement

Regulated Blockchain: A New Dawn in Technological Advancement

There is no doubting the fact that there are massive potentials for blockchain technology to transform the world. This has been shown in every field of human endeavor.

Blockchain technology has been deployed in the medical industry, engineering, and most importantly in the financial industry. But one thing stood out, governments and a lot of investors were at best, wary of the wholesome adoption of the technology.

The reason being adduced by everybody is that blockchain is not regulated. For blockchain to be widely accepted, there will be a need for some level of assimilation with the traditional way of doing things.

Blockchain as technology came up with a true peer-to-peer borderless transfer of value and innovative ways to raise capital or invest in promising projects, but then, there are two sides to a coin. One major use the blockchain was first deployed for, was the cryptocurrency, which a lot of people have variously used as a primary exchange of value for illicit activities, you can’t also wish away the fact that many investors have been scammed off their resources through shady ICOs.

It was sweet music to the ears when Zurab Ashvil, founder and CEO of L3COS came up with the idea of the world’s first regulated blockchain-based operating system. “Without a single universal platform for governments, businesses and individuals worldwide, there is no practical solution for addressing the underlying blockchain problems that we are facing today,” Ashvil says.

With a three-layer transformation, that will enable the government to win voter trust, save money, and go green; businesses to minimize fines, globalize, and reduce operating costs; while the society will enhance democracy, ease international travels, and simplify taxes; a regulated blockchain is a gateway to our technological advancement.

What a regulated blockchain portends is that the impact the negative statements from government officials and the media along with regulatory uncertainties have been having on entrepreneurs, investors, the market, and the industry at large, will be a thing of the past.


One area where we have started seeing the positive impact and transformation in technology is the case of the digital currency. The internet was the precursor of cashless policy and internet banking all of which greatly reduced the stress people had to go through to conduct businesses.

The Chinese Government vehemently opposed cryptocurrency because it was decentralized but it’s of great relief to see that the People Bank of China (PBOC) is at the forefront of legitimizing digital currency.

As a part of a pilot program, PBOC introduced a homegrown digital currency across four cities, this is a huge leap towards actualizing the first electronic payment system by a major central bank. The Bank of England (BoE) is also toeing the footsteps of China but at a review stage as of July 2020.

Andrew Bailey, the Governor of BoE was reported to have said, “I think in a few years, we will be heading toward some sort of digital currency.”

In the U.S. too, concerted efforts are being made towards digital currency with U.S. investment bank JP Morgan being the first bank to create a digital token to help settle payments between clients in its wholesale payments business. This does not undermine the fact that the United States Federal Reserve has not made a categorical statement as to the position of the country on CBDC.

“We are supportive of crypto-currencies as long as they are properly controlled and regulated,” says Umar Farooq, JP Morgan’s head of Digital Treasury Services and Blockchain. It is on record that the bank has always maintained that the blockchain technology is of immense benefit, their only problem all along has been the inability to regulate it.

If you had expected to see a wholesome deployment of the blockchain technology even if for non-financial-related fields before now, you did not assume wrongly. What has obtained before the emergence of regulated blockchain technology is a situation where investors are treading with caution.

They are skeptical and rightly so at putting their resources into a venture that may come crashing any time as a result of the position of government officials and policymakers. The adoption of regulated blockchains like L3COS and others that will come up swiftly to compete will be based on the fact that it can automate a wide range of operations and cut bureaucratic procedures.

The automation is achieved using smart contracts. The system removes intermediaries between end clients (businesses and consumers) and central banks.

Aside from regulation, which is the primary source of concern to almost everybody that can assert an opinion about blockchain technology, one other area that has created a lot of misgivings is the environmental impact of business transactions. You can now afford to reduce the use of paper to an unprecedented minimum, thereby contributing significantly to the green world.

Cutting costs is very vital for the sustenance of your business especially when these costs arise from illegal activities you must have randomly or unwittingly done. This will become a thing of the past as the system will automatically do a compliance check for you any time you attempt an operation.

What this boils down to is that your operation will be blocked if it seems to be going against promulgated rules and regulations. Thus, the system ensures you don’t fall prey to “potholes” and saves you from getting involved in illegalities while running your business.

A regulated blockchain ensures that transactions are supervised by regulatory bodies. The fear institutions have all along harbored, can now be laid to rest.

Ordinarily, with unregulated blockchains, institutions face the risk of financial loss and also the risk of further repercussions due to the misuse of the responsibility entrusted to you. There are also financial penalties to be paid as well as reputational damage to be taken into consideration.

Now that the world has no lack of regulated blockchains, it is a very good opportunity for any government or organization that wants to lead the global blockchain marketplace to act quickly. In a short time, leaders must have emerged and the others will just have to follow suit.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/354812

29 Aug 2020
Dubai is using technology to serve people

Dubai is using technology to serve people

We did not want to opt for ready-made solutions. Instead we built and designed every part of the ecosystem over the course of three years

The term ‘smart cities’ evokes thoughts of digitally advanced metropolises, with images of futuristic modes of living, as one would imagine the 21st century to look like. Smart cities are frequently viewed as government bodies and science experts using mysterious technologies titled with phrases such as ‘Internet of Things,’ ‘predictive modelling,’ and ‘artificial intelligence’, all now part of the modern-day vocabulary thanks to the rapid increase of technological developments taking place around the world.

The reality, however, is much different. The application of technology is not the guiding imperative for those of us designing these capitals of the future, but rather their relevance to everyday life. The purpose and value of smart cities can only be fully realised if the technologies they employ are successful in reaching people, connecting with them, and impacting their lives in a meaningful manner.

It may come as a surprise to learn that as officials in charge of building tomorrow’s smart cities, the biggest challenge we face is not one of employing technology, but rather implementing it in a way that both adds value to people’s lives and benefits the government and private sector institutions responsible for providing technology-based services. While technology is readily available and easily accessible, realising its full worth in everyday life requires innovation – this is something we are now focused on mastering.This takes me back to 2016, when I was appointed CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment, and given the honour of building Dubai’s data ecosystem. The moment I was given this task I felt overwhelmed by the enormous challenge of creating something that has never been built before anywhere in the world. I was mandated with the responsibility of establishing an ecosystem that would serve as a global benchmark; no small feat. What made my mandate feel particularly onerous was that advanced countries were – and still are – exploring and finding their way with data.

My portfolio involved my dedicated team and I creating a completely new and unprecedented data experience – one that would be the most comprehensive and ambitious in the world. With a main aim of our work being to stamp Dubai’s authority as a leading pioneer of smart city architecture, we did not want to opt for ready-made solutions. Instead we built and designed every part of the ecosystem over the course of three years.

But what exactly is data? Put simply, it is information collected from activities carried out by people, the government, private sector entities, and the tools and devices they use. This includes, for example, information on government transactions, water and electricity consumption, housing, education, health. and so on.

This is the fundamental of data. From now on in this weekly column, I will be sharing with you insights and learnings in this area through a series of articles titled ‘Data Moments.’ Through these I will introduce you to an array of technology- and data-related terms and explain how they relate to your lives as individuals or businesses.

You may have heard the expression that ‘data is the new oil.’ Global studies and research confirm that those who succeed in achieving and analysing a wealth of data will govern the new economy. I hope sharing my learnings through Data Moments will contribute in some small way to helping achieve this success, and I would be delighted if you would join me on my journey.

Source: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/editorials-columns/dubai-is-using-technology-to-serve-people

27 Aug 2020
Drivers Of Value Creation In Digital Economy

Drivers Of Value Creation In Digital Economy

India’s goal to become $1 Trillion Digital economy by the year 2025 is gaining high visibility due to the current pandemic situation and its impact on the ecosystem. The investments in digital technologies is going to change the demand curve and generate businesses exponentially in near future.

The digital economy is mainly comprised of three essential parts- the infrastructure, how the business is conducted, and the selling of goods through online mechanism.

Industry 4.0 is also helping in making the processes more flexible, efficient and effective to produce high-quality goods at reduced costs by leveraging these digital technologies, thereby, enabling the growth of the digital economy. In the Indian context, the manufacturing sector needs a push through incentivization and reforms to increase the GVA which was estimated at US$ 397.14 billion in FY20PE (Financial Year 2020 Provisional Estimate by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation). Moreover, this will also help the government in achieving its overarching aim to create 100 million new jobs in the manufacturing sector by 2022.

Since digital data is becoming an increasingly valuable economic resource, it is very important to understand how to rapidly create value from it. The drivers of value creation in the digital economy consist of two vital elements which are as follows:

  1. Digital Platforms– As per Geoffrey Parker, “platform is a business based on enabling value-creating interactions between external producers and consumers. The platform provides an open, participative infrastructure for these interactions and sets governance conditions for them”. Digital platforms offer these mechanisms online and can be both intermediaries and infrastructures. The intermediaries connect different groups of people.
    For example, Facebook or any other social media channel connects users, advertisers, developers, companies and others, and Uber or any other online taxi hiring medium connects riders and drivers. Many platforms also serve as infrastructures. For example, users can develop profile pages on Facebook, and software developers can build apps for Apple’s App Store. The growth of digital platforms as a result of technological developments is strongly linked to their increasing capacity to collect and analyze digital data.

The two significant types of platforms- Transaction platforms, which are sometimes alluded as two/multi-sided platforms, offer an infrastructure, typically an online resource, that supports exchanges between several different parties. They have become a core business model for major digital corporations like Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook and eBay.

Another type is the Innovation Platforms which are sometimes alluded to as Engineering or technology platforms. These platforms provide ways for sharing common designs and for interactions across a sector. Related examples include operating systems (e.g. Android or Linux) and technology standards including solutions, configuration and utilization standards.

Digital platforms can facilitate value-creating interactions between the different sides of the platform, as producers and consumers of different goods and services. But essentially, their effective functioning relies on digital data, and the main source of their value creation emerges from leveraging those data in intelligent ways.

2. Data and Digital Intelligence- Data-related activities are no longer mere side activities in the production of goods and services; instead, they have become an essential feature of the production process and a key aspect of economic activity. The following aspects discuss the complex dimensions of digital data as an economic resource, with implications for trade and development.

  • Complex nature of data– The origin of the digital economy lies in the extraordinary amounts of detailed machine-readable information available about almost everything. The development and policy implications of data collection and use depend greatly on the type of data involved.  Data can be classified according to different criteria, for example:
  • Personal or non-personal data
    • Private and public data
    • Data for commercial purposes or governmental purposes
    • Data used by companies, including corporate data, human resources data, technical data and merchant data
    • Immediate and historic data
    • Sensitive and non-sensitive data
    • B2BB2C, government to consumer (G2C) for paying taxes etc. or consumer to consumer (C2C) data such as online auctioning.
  • Economic value of data- It is the quantification of the relationships and patterns around customers, products, services, operations and markets that drive operational, management and strategic predictions.
  • Data Value chain– An entirely new value chain has evolved around firms that support the production of insights from data, including data acquisition (to provide new sources of data), data storage and warehousing, data modelling and analysis, and data visualization. At the lower levels of the “data value chain”, information content is limited, and therefore, the scope for value generation is also low. Value increases as the information and knowledge content rises.
Image Source: Digital Economy Report 2019- Value Creation and Capture: Implications for Developing Countries (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development)

The outcome of this value chain is “digital intelligence” that can inform firms in their decision-making and innovation efforts. In addition, the data can be used to improve the algorithms used for automated decision-making in the development of products, processes or services.

Since digital data is becoming an increasingly valuable economic resource, it is very important to understand how to rapidly create value from it. The drivers of value creation in the digital economy consist of two vital elements which are as follows:

  1. Digital Platforms– As per Geoffrey Parker, “platform is a business based on enabling value-creating interactions between external producers and consumers. The platform provides an open, participative infrastructure for these interactions and sets governance conditions for them”. Digital platforms offer these mechanisms online and can be both intermediaries and infrastructures. The intermediaries connect different groups of people.
    For example, Facebook or any other social media channel connects users, advertisers, developers, companies and others, and Uber or any other online taxi hiring medium connects riders and drivers. Many platforms also serve as infrastructures. For example, users can develop profile pages on Facebook, and software developers can build apps for Apple’s App Store. The growth of digital platforms as a result of technological developments is strongly linked to their increasing capacity to collect and analyze digital data.

The two significant types of platforms- Transaction platforms, which are sometimes alluded as two/multi-sided platforms, offer an infrastructure, typically an online resource, that supports exchanges between several different parties. They have become a core business model for major digital corporations like Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook and eBay.

Another type is the Innovation Platforms which are sometimes alluded to as Engineering or technology platforms. These platforms provide ways for sharing common designs and for interactions across a sector. Related examples include operating systems (e.g. Android or Linux) and technology standards including solutions, configuration and utilization standards.

Digital platforms can facilitate value-creating interactions between the different sides of the platform, as producers and consumers of different goods and services. But essentially, their effective functioning relies on digital data, and the main source of their value creation emerges from leveraging those data in intelligent ways.

2. Data and Digital Intelligence- Data-related activities are no longer mere side activities in the production of goods and services; instead, they have become an essential feature of the production process and a key aspect of economic activity. The following aspects discuss the complex dimensions of digital data as an economic resource, with implications for trade and development.

  • Complex nature of data– The origin of the digital economy lies in the extraordinary amounts of detailed machine-readable information available about almost everything. The development and policy implications of data collection and use depend greatly on the type of data involved.  Data can be classified according to different criteria, for example:
  • Personal or non-personal data
    • Private and public data
    • Data for commercial purposes or governmental purposes
    • Data used by companies, including corporate data, human resources data, technical data and merchant data
    • Immediate and historic data
    • Sensitive and non-sensitive data
    • B2BB2C, government to consumer (G2C) for paying taxes etc. or consumer to consumer (C2C) data such as online auctioning.
  • Economic value of data- It is the quantification of the relationships and patterns around customers, products, services, operations and markets that drive operational, management and strategic predictions.
  • Data Value chain– An entirely new value chain has evolved around firms that support the production of insights from data, including data acquisition (to provide new sources of data), data storage and warehousing, data modelling and analysis, and data visualization. At the lower levels of the “data value chain”, information content is limited, and therefore, the scope for value generation is also low. Value increases as the information and knowledge content rises.
Image Source: Digital Economy Report 2019- Value Creation and Capture: Implications for Developing Countries (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development)

The outcome of this value chain is “digital intelligence” that can inform firms in their decision-making and innovation efforts. In addition, the data can be used to improve the algorithms used for automated decision-making in the development of products, processes or services.

Source: https://analyticsindiamag.com/drivers-of-value-creation-in-digital-economy/

26 Aug 2020
Exponential Growth: What Research Into Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies Tells Us About LawExponential Growth: What Research Into Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies Tells Us About Law Practice Disruption Practice Disruption

Exponential Growth: What Research Into Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies Tells Us About Law Practice Disruption

An analysis of nearly 300 academic works on Bitcoin, blockchain, and related technologies demonstrate an exponential interest in the area and help to pinpoint precisely what practice areas are already being impacted by the technology and which are likely to come next.

It’s been 10 years since a pseudonymous coder called Satoshi Nakamoto unveiled Bitcoin, a decentralized digital network that primarily functions to maintain the integrity of a native cryptocurrency also called bitcoin by tracking transactions made to a digital ledger called a blockchain. In the decade since its invention, Bitcoin has been both praised as the next iteration of money and peer-to-peer communication and criticized as being an asset far too volatile to become mainstream. Just this month, the Office of Comptroller of the Currency gave national banks the go-ahead to take custody of cryptocurrencies for its customers, the U.S. Postal Service filed a patent to track mail-in ballots on a blockchain, and the Federal Reserve announced it was exploring creating its own digital dollar utilizing using blockchain technologies. Despite its critics, Satoshi’s invention and the wider industry and technologies it inspired appear to be here to stay.

Source: https://www.law.com/legaltechnews/2020/08/25/exponential-growth-what-research-into-blockchain-and-cryptocurrencies-tells-us-about-law-practice-disruption/?slreturn=20200726043712

25 Aug 2020
DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY IN MEDICADISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY IN MEDICAL EDUCATIONL EDUCATION

DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY IN MEDICAL EDUCATION

It’s no surprise that nearly every aspect of our lives – including our jobs – revolves around or is significantly impacted by technological advancements of the last half-century. The healthcare industry, including medical education, has been immensely impacted by modern disruptive technologies. According to McKinsey, more than $80 billion has been invested into health tech since 2015.

Not only has the field of medicine itself changed and advanced, but how future physicians are trained is also evolving as the demand for innovation continues to increase. We see this especially now, as the global Covid-19 pandemic is highlighting the limits of healthcare systems worldwide and the need for well-trained physicians in all corners of the globe.

Digital Technologies Were Disrupting Medical Education Well Before the Outbreak of Covid-19
Dr. Peter Horneffer, MD is a long-time proponent of using disruptive technologies to scale the educational capacity of medical institutions in an effort to address the growing global shortage of physicians. Dr. Horneffer is also the Director of Medical Education Programs for Lecturio, a digital medical education resource which uses learning science-based tools to educate medical students worldwide and whose core mission includes addressing this growing physician shortage.

We caught up with Dr. Horneffer to discuss some of the recent developments in online medical education and how he envisions the future of this industry in post-covid times.

This interview is edited for clarity and length. 

Kate Hiller: You have a lot of experience both as a medical professional and as a medical educator. How do you see some of these new education technologies changing the field of medical education? 

Dr. Peter Horneffer: We know that traditional ways of learning, i.e. reading manuscripts or textbooks, or sitting in lectures, yields a relatively low retention rate.

I think we are at the dawn of an era in which the educational process will leverage technology to become much more efficient, and also much more available.

You don’t need to travel necessarily to a center of learning to benefit from professors who not only have a good understanding of the material but are gifted in how to convey it. You can transfer that knowledge you know via the internet and distribute it widely. Not only will students be able to learn more effectively, but we can distribute that information much more broadly, you can make it available to a much wider audience and recruit students who might not have had the opportunity to learn effectively.

KH: Theory and foundational sciences are a major part of any medical curriculum. But what about clinicals? 

PH: In all my experiences in online medical education, I have always felt that medical school can never be a solely online proposition because interpersonal skills are fundamental to what you need to learn to be a successful physician.

Integrating a computer simulation software such as Body Interact allows for interaction within the simulated tests. So this will have benefits even in the post-COVID-19 era when you do interview patients and work through clinical scenarios, because it’s an exercise that can be practiced in an online modality. I think the answer is that there are a lot of computer-based modalities that will help hone the process. Medical education will adapt and I think students will return to the bedside sooner than they think.

A doctor works in front of computers.
National Cancer Institute, Unsplash.

KH: What role do online educational platforms play for students then, especially in the midst of the current pandemic?

PH: Educational platforms have a huge role to play for students, and not just during the pandemic. Specifically during this time of social distancing, the abilities of educational platforms to provide oversight can be invaluable – monitoring assignments, performance, and even offering guidance for students and faculty. Furthermore, with travel restricted, platforms with pre-recorded content can be used to fill the void during the pandemic.

KH: Do you see any of the COVID-19-required technological shifts being implemented in medical schools right now as part of the future of medical education? 

PH: I’m hopeful that it will not only catch on, but that it will predominate. If you look at the results of the learning studies or learning science, there is a clear advantage of having students prepare in advance. My hope and expectation is that as teachers or educators are pushed out of their comfort zones, they realize that not only are they making do to accommodate the requirements of social distancing, but in fact they can work toward a more effective and reliable methodology, which I am optimistic will be the future educational process. I’m hopeful that one of the silver linings of COVID-19 is that it will be a catalyst for new health educators to understand not only is this a convenient way to provide continuity, but ultimately a superior way to provide education.

While Digital Technology Holds Huge Potential, It Will Never Fully Replace Traditional Instruction

But what disruptive technologies specifically exist and currently impact the transmission of medical education? There is no way to directly transition from a classroom-focused model to a digital-first model of teaching – it just doesn’t work the same. Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) have been around for decades now, but rather than following this strategy of pumping information online in video form, more recent technologies allow for active participation rather than just passive interaction. Augmented reality can “put” medical students and residents in an operating room and provide them with a more comprehensive “view” of the patient or the patient’s data. Data collected through the Visual Human Project or a 3D anatomy model helps students to get up close and personal with the human body, no cadaver necessary. Going back to foundational science, online platforms provide Qbank questions, video lectures, retention questions, and more to help students learn from wherever they are.

There are many other techniques and technologies available that medical students and educators use to perfect their craft. As medical care also advances and evolves, so will medical education. What we’re seeing now is a general shift toward the digital that will ultimately lead to more comprehensive, extensive, and superior medical education around the world.

Source: https://news.elearninginside.com/disruptive-technology-in-medical-education/

24 Aug 2020

Scientists Built a Tiny Treadmill for Microscopic Water Creatures

A team of Stanford researchers have created a tiny “hydrodynamic treadmill,” essentially an endless loop of water, to closely observe the behavior of marine microorganisms.

“This is a completely new way of studying life in the ocean,” Deepak Krishnamurthy, Stanford mechanical engineering PhD student, and first author of the paper published in Nature Methods on Monday, said in a statement.

“It opens scientific possibilities we had only dreamed of until now,” Stanford bioengineering professor and research lead Manu Prakash added.

The idea is to study how the organisms behave in a virtually endless stretch of water — which is impossible to do by looking at a small dish with a microscope.

“How do we get closer to the native behavior of a microscopic object, and give it the freedom that it deserves because the ocean is so large a space and extremely vertically oriented?” Prakash asked in the statement.

“We haven’t had the opportunity to observe this life in its own habitat… or the last 200 years, we’ve been doing microscopy with confinement,” Prakash explained to TechCrunch. “You’d have to have a kilometer-long tube if you wanted to track an organism over a kilometer.”

As the tiny critters make their way through the loop of water, a camera keeps track of their movement while the treadmill itself moves to keep them in frame.

So far, the team has deployed one of the instruments at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey, one in Puerto Rico, and one on board a research ship off the coast of Hawaii.

“It’s fair to say that every time we have put an organism into this instrument, we have discovered something new,” Prakash told TechCrunch. For instance, they observed how the tiny microorganisms are affected by gravity. “They’re all aware of gravity, and they all care about gravity.”

They observed how a variety of sea creatures frequently changed their swimming motion, occasionally hovering in place. They also observed how single-celled organisms behaved while swimming vertically.

The team even discovered how a microorganism with no swimming appendages in Puerto Rico was able to bob up and down.

“It’s as if someone told you a stone could float and then sink and then float again,” Krishnamurthy said in the statement.

Source: https://futurism.com/tiny-treadmill-microscopic-creatures

22 Aug 2020

The inestimable value of quantum technology: ‘Enormous impact on the economy’

The first quantum network in the Netherlands is to be released around the end of the year. A quantum link will be established between two Dutch cities, connecting and entangling two quantum nodes.

The first quantum network in the Netherlands will be released around the turn of the year. A so-called quantum link (Q-link) will be established between the Dutch cities of Delft and The Hague, which will enable two quantum systems to be linked and entangled. If this network works, further scaling up to other cities in the Dutch Randstad region will be considered. Dutch scientists and companies are working hard on the development of quantum technology in the form of quantum networks and computers. But what use will this new technology be to us? And how will it change our lives?

The Netherlands aims to become the Silicon Valley of quantum technology, as indicated in the Dutch Government’s National Agenda for Quantum Technology document. Along with several others, QuTech, which is a long-term collaboration between the Dutch Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), is conducting research into the potential of Quantum Computing and Quantum Internet. It is also looking into practical applications that involve the participation of companies such as the Dutch telecom giant KPN and the American multinational Cisco Systems.

NATIONAL AGENDA QUANTUM TECHNOLOGIES
This agenda sets out the Dutch course to be taken in terms of the development of quantum technology. The Netherlands wants to be and remain at the forefront, which is precisely why it is focusing on it: “Groundbreaking research, high-quality education, state-of-art facilities and accelerated programs to speed up the introduction of the technology to the market should attract talent and companies and lead to a vibrant quantum ecosystem that has a European and indeed even a global function,” as stated in the document.

Enormous economic impact
The range of applications seems to be limitless. “The quantum computer makes calculations in a completely different way than the computers we are currently familiar with,” says Ingrid Romijn, program manager at QuTech. “A quantum computer can, for example, calculate the various states of large molecules extremely quickly. This enables researchers to simulate the interaction between substances and cells much more accurately. This enables medicinal drugs to be developed specifically for any given individual who has a particular disease. In addition, quantum technology can contribute to advances in batteries and solar cells. It can also clarify and solve logistical problems much more swiftly,” Romijn explains. The quantum computer can, therefore, have a major impact on the healthcare, energy and logistics sectors, to name but a few. “But that’s not all. Every sector can benefit from a computer with more computational power. Consequently, the economic impact is bound to be enormous.”

QUTECH
QuTech is a research institute run by the University of Technology Delft and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). Its mission is to design scalable prototypes of a quantum computer and an inherently safe quantum network based on the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics. In order to achieve these goals, they bring scientists, engineers and industry together into an inspiring environment to work towards building the quantum future.

It is not yet clear exactly how significant this impact will be. Not all the capabilities of a quantum computer have been figured out by researchers and companies as yet. René Pluis, the cybersecurity leader of the digital acceleration program for the Netherlands at Cisco Systems: “This is more often the case once fundamental research is put into actual practice.” He compares it to the technological revolution of the 1950s. “That’s when electronic appliances and transistors became the norm. Appliances are able to function in more compact, lighter, and cheaper versions. We are completely used to that now,” he says.

CISCO SYSTEMS
Cisco provides the equipment needed for network connections, security, and (tele)communication. This has been its most important task for more than 35 years. Apart from that, they want to be able to connect people in every possible way. Innovative advances, including quantum technology, play an important role in this respect.

“In those days, the transistor radio was invented, but we had no idea at the time that we could also create an MRI scanner based on that same technology. The same holds true for the laser. At first, it was a massive machine. Now it’s tucked away in small appliances like a CD player. We don’t know yet what we can do with quantum technology in the future, so we have to use it and figure it out.”

The two key principles
Quantum technology works on the basis of two principles: entanglement and superposition. These two characteristics make the technology stand out from all others. Quantum technology does not look at bits, but instead, it deals with qubits. The currently used bits are always a 0 or a 1. A qubit can also be a 0 and a 1 at the same time. The way qubits work is based on principles of quantum mechanics, one of the most precise theories in the world. Thanks to major breakthroughs over the past decade, it is now clear that these principles can be applied in new cutting-edge technologies. “By having the quantum computer perform computations using qubits, in principle, several computations can be performed at the same time. Since quantum computers can perform multiple operations all at once, they have the potential to solve problems that are practically unsolvable for conventional computers,” Pluis asserts.

The second characteristic of qubits that makes quantum technology possible is entanglement. This means that two quantum systems, for example, electrons or photons, are connected with each other without actually ever being physically connected. If one quantum system changes, the other one will also sense that, even if they are thousands of kilometers away from each other. “This also sounds almost magical, but it has been proven to work,” Pluis goes on to say: “As a consequence of this entanglement, there is a link between the states of the two systems from a distance. It is as if they are one system, so to speak.”

Romijn adds. ” This allows you to synchronize things much faster when two quantum systems are remotely entangled,” she says. This could, for one thing, result in more accurate positionings and localizations and could be incorporated into astronomy. Pluis: “The more accurately atomic clocks are tuned up with each other, the finer satellites and telescopes can be tuned.”

Improved security
An entangled connection also provides a higher level of security. “You then have a quantum link to someone else. If someone tries to access or eavesdrop on an entangled connection, the entanglement disappears and it is immediately clear that someone was attempting to read the data,” Romijn explains. According to Romijn, one of the first applications of quantum computers and networks will be to secure confidential information, e.g. that of the government or the military. “For instance, we are working with a Dutch bank to examine the scope for security,” she says.

Not only does the quantum computer offer new forms of security, but it also poses security risks. The current security provided by encryption, a cipher sequence generated by multiplying large prime numbers, is no longer as secure when a quantum computer comes into play. “It is very difficult for a standard computer to reduce this type of cipher sequence down to those two prime numbers. This is why data is secure. But because a quantum computer performs these kinds of calculations far more quickly, it can easily crack these kinds of codes,” explains Pluis, who works at Cisco.

“The quantum computer’ is still a few years down the road. But if someone were to save files now in order to decrypt them sometime in the future, that might pose a problem. Not all documents will still be relevant in a number of years, but government documents often still will be,”, he notes. That is why a new type of security is needed for important – classified – documents. “An encryption system is currently being developed on the basis of quantum network technology that no longer relies on the huge computational power of quantum computers,” Pluis states.

Good or evil
Data security is one of the many applications of quantum technology. As such, the new technology has two faces. On the one hand, it can crack today’s security systems, with all the ensuing implications. On the other hand, it can provide new and more sophisticated forms of security. Romijn: “What if the technology falls into the hands of criminals? The government, among others, is quite concerned about that.” According to the program manager at QuTech, this is a recurring question that always arises where technological developments are concerned. “When the laser was invented, people were also afraid that criminals would make weapons out of it. Now it appears that good things are done with it in the main,” she comments.

“The technology is not good or evil. We have to make sure that it is put to good use.” There is a lot of emphasis on the ethical side of things within the National Agenda Quantum Technology document. “We want to focus on social impact and actually involve society in the development process. Not only technicians but also philosophers and lawyers, for instance”. Romijn thinks that this is a way for Europe to distinguish itself from China and America, which are also actively involved in the development of quantum technology. “Whereas for China and America it is mainly the technological and economic aspects that play a leading role, Europe has also introduced a third element into the discussion: impact and ethics. This element is often essential when it comes to gaining public acceptance for new technology and the regulations surrounding them.”

Cooperation as a guiding principle
Apart from the competition to be the first to realize a fully functional quantum computer, in Romijn’s view it is also imperative that countries and companies work together. “For example, researchers all have their own expertise, but so do companies and even countries. We can subsequently arrive at the most optimal result by working together,” she states. This is why a few months ago, TNO, TU Delft, QuTech, and the municipality of Delft jointly set up the Quantum Delft ecosystem. “Labs run by large companies and start-ups are being brought together here. Everyone is working on their own technology or a component of the computer or network. Because everyone is working on the same campus, people get to meet each other more easily and in turn, more new initiatives spring up from that contact. This enables the development to speed up even more,” Romijn points out.

Jacqueline Schardijn, a business developer in the field of quantum technology for the regional development corporation Innovation Quarter adds: “There is already a wonderful ecosystem set up around Quantum Delft, where start-ups are working with scientists on quantum issues and associated technologies. It is useful for the business community to know who they can turn to when they want to focus on Quantum Technology. They want to stay informed about the possibilities and impossibilities of quantum technology. Like how to run simulations on quantum platforms such as Inspire. The Cronos Group, QuTech, and Innovation Quarter are all working on this; raising awareness about the business side. We are delighted to welcome the business community to the wonderful world of quantum technology.”

Pluis: “It is no longer a matter of whether quantum technology is going to change the world, it is a matter of when that is going to happen. What we now know about the possibilities of this technology is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Only time will tell what the impact of this technology will be.”

Source: https://innovationorigins.com/the-inestimable-value-of-quantum-technology-enormous-impact-on-the-economy/

20 Aug 2020

Smithers identifies 20 disruptive technologies to drive innovation in the world tire market to 2040

A new report from Smithers identifies the top 20 technologies – from new materials to smart driving concepts – that will transform the global tire industry across the next two decades.

The Future of Disruptive Technologies in the Tire Industry to 2040 is derived from an exclusive survey of technical experts, business leaders, and opinion formers in the global tire industry. Multiple potentially disruptive innovations were identified for tire design and raw materials; as well as key enabling technologies – such as improved sensor platforms and virtual design modelling – that the tire industry can leverage to meeting the future demands of OEMs, regulators, and drivers.

The top seven tire-specific disruptive technologies identified by Smithers’ in-depth survey are:

Advance smart tires – The adoption of enhanced sensor platforms will push the envelope for safety in driving; as well as providing critical maintenance and performance data for fleet managers
Basic smart tires – Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMSs) will increasingly be improved and integrated into vehicles so that low pressure is not just detected, but corrected automatically
Innovative elastomer synthesis methods – Synthesis and commercialization of synthetic elastomers has been a foundation of improved tire performance since the 1930s. This evolution will continue, but may be disrupted by a new grades such as Bridgestone’s gadolinium-catalyzed polyisoprene, which the company claims can have equivalent or better performance than natural rubber
New carbon black manufacturing technology – There is an emphasis on cutting the environmental footprint of carbon black grades used in tires. The most disruptive potential trend for this vital material is converting sustainably sourced wood biomass into carbon black
Non-pneumatic tires (NPTs) – Multiple tire companies have devoted R&D to this concept with Michelin scheduled to introduce these for GM vehicles in 2024
Self-healing polymers – Still at the R&D phase, this class of smart materials are polymers that can respond to damage by “healing” themselves. For example a recent Harvard University study describes a self-healing elastomer that has the fracture toughness of natural rubber and can self-heal to 30% of its original strength in 12 hours at room temperature
Substitution of materials of high concern – Chemicals that play a critical role in tire performance, such as cobalt salts and PPD-based antiozonants, are coming under increased regulatory pressure in many jurisdictions. Simultaneously there is rising concern over pollution caused by tire wear particles. This is creating a challenge to find less harmful alternatives that do not compromise key tire performance properties.
These will be refined and adopted over the next 20 years and Smithers’ scorecards for each of the 20 technologies profiled include detailed scores for their disruptive potential in 2020, 2030, and 2040. Analysis for this report tracks how these will meet the two core future demands for improved safety and improved sustainability, as new mobility concepts enter the market.

The tire industry is traditionally conservative, and this research is especially timely as the tire industry responds to an unprecedented downturn in H1 2020, and leading tire manufacturers reappraise their R&D priorities to return to profitability in a global economy radically reshaped by the Covid-19 pandemic.

To fully contextualize the evolution of the disruptive technologies and their route to market The Future of Disruptive Technologies in the Tire Industry to 2040 includes export forecast scenarios of how the tire industry will look in 2040, including consideration of key long-term trends.

These combine to give essential strategic insight for companies at every stage of the tire value chain, from raw material producers to tire manufacturers and OEMs.

The Future of Disruptive Technologies in the Tire Industry to 2040 is available for purchase now for $6,500 (£4,750, €5,250).

Source: https://tiresandparts.net/news/smithers-identifies-20-disruptive-technologies-to-drive-innovation-in-the-world-tire-market-to-2040/

19 Aug 2020

How The Pandemic Has Shaped The Future Of Technology

The novel coronavirus has changed our way of life in many unexpected ways. Physical distancing, quarantine and the need for social interaction have boosted technology adoption in many sectors.

Today, the lockdowns have been lifted or relaxed in many countries, but the remnants of the pandemic are here to stay. The virus has pushed us to overcome barriers with technology. Below are some of the turns in technological advancements that affect our daily lives, work lives and education.

Technology In Our Homes

When the pandemic hit, almost every industry faltered. A few that have seen an increase in demand include healthcare, food, media and entertainment. As people have been spending most of their time at home, the gaming industry has also witnessed a huge uptick. 

According to Admix, a platform that allows gamers to monetize their content, gameplay was expected to increase 20% during the lockdown. What’s more, Travis Scott held a concert on Fortnite, and Lady Gaga had one on Roblox, gathering millions of people — a testimony that gaming platforms are reaching new heights.

This trend is particularly true for younger generations. “Only 9 percent of younger generations named Facebook as their favorite social platform,” Samuel Huber, the CEO of Admix pointed out. “Instead, they spend more time interacting with 3D content such as games, whether it is to play or to communicate … Fortnite has become the MSN messenger of the new generation.”

The increased use of 3D content is felt everywhere. Virtual reality (VR) has seen increased use as companies have tried to fill the void of our social distance with VR meetings. This is a trend that might stay because some people prefer to work from home, whether it’s to be safe or because it makes them more productive.

Technology At Work

While companies or governmental bodies have been short on staff, customer and client demands have been at an all-time high. Call centers are particularly under pressure because people need support or want to learn about their loans or financial status. As a result, many tried chatbots for the first time.

While chatbots, or virtual assistants, can respond to queries most of the time, they are no replacement for humans. “At the end of the day when it gets complicated and you need assistance from a human being, you’ll go to a customer service representative anyway,” shared Raj Koneru, CEO of Kore.ai, a conversational AI company that develops virtual assistants. But that is exactly where chatbots help: Most customer queries are simple questions. Virtual assistants handle the bulk of those queries, allowing the staff to focus on more difficult tasks.

There are other benefits as well, one being the fact that VAs never rest and respond almost immediately, which is a huge convenience for people who would otherwise need to stay in a queue for hours.

Coronavirus has also brought new requirements, such as the increased need for worker safety — we need to reopen, but not at the cost of human lives. Businesses try to keep their doors open with less-crowded office spaces, regular sanitization and social distancing. One of the exciting ways technology has helped in this regard is with artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision.

Some contact tracing apps rely on Bluetooth technology to determine when they are in the proximity of another person, but that method is flawed. Computer vision does not rely on such devices; it functions as an always-present eye that can detect issues and alert people. Atollogy, a company that uses computer vision to optimize work efficiency and detect safety violations, made it so that its technology monitored for social distancing. With the aid of AI, the company system was able to tell if people were too close together or if a certain location was too crowded.

Atollogy is just one example of how companies are using their resources to combat the pandemic. Of course, it had to go an extra mile and add distance tracking to its algorithms, but this is a trend we should expect to see more of as we adapt to the new normal.

Technology In Training And Education

Another significant effect of Covid-19 is on our education, which has affected corporate training and education as well as children and schools. The need is similar everywhere: to stay away from crowds but continue to learn.

As mentioned earlier, the adoption of VR has increased, but its most notable effect is on education — people are better at remembering an interactive experience than something they read. VR offers an immersive experience that allows people to focus on training. When it comes to children and schools, VR offers a distraction-free environment where kids are safe from negative judgment by their peers.

There is one catch, though — VR requires a headset, and not everyone has one. One way to deal with this problem was demonstrated by education technology provider Veative Labs, which offers hundreds of STEM modules in VR. It made its content available over Web XR. The new platform enabled everyone with only a browser to consume its content. While it isn’t a fully immersive experience like you have with a headset, it is a great way to get content to those in need and enable students to keep learning from home.

Covid-19 has brought a lot of problems upon us, which we’ve tried to solve with technology. In some ways, the virus has also been an eye-opener. We’ve been forced to try new things, and now that we have, we may never go back to our old ways again.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2020/08/18/how-the-pandemic-has-shaped-the-future-of-technology/#670b03c75fb7