By now, we should all be aware of the impact wearable technology has had on physical fitness.
The SoundBite uses bone conduction and wireless sound processing technology to help people with conductive hearing loss regain the ability to hear by transmitting audio waves through their mouth. That’s right, an unobtrusive microphone sits in the patient’s deaf ear, while a custom-made transmitter sends signals from the patient’s molars.
The mouthpiece enables wearers to hear by creating vibrations that are felt in the cochleae of both ears, bypassing the outer and middle ear altogether. While bone conduction isn’t a new method for treating the hearing impaired, the SoundBite is the first option that doesn’t involve surgery, making it a less costly and safer alternative.
Argus II Retinal Prosthesis
Moving from the ears to the eyes, the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis gives limited sight to the visually impaired. Although the Argus II doesn’t address all causes of blindness or restore full sight to patients, the device can slow down the effects of degenerative eye diseases.
The Argus II works through a pair of glasses with a built-in camera that transmits external data to a device implanted in user’s optic nerve. Again, the Argus II doesn’t give the wearer 20/20 vision, but it does give them the ability to see shapes and detect their surroundings far better than a walking stick.
Proteus Digital Health
As far as internal medicine is concerned,Proteus Digital Health received FDA approval last year for its digital pill, which helps track how patients respond to medication. The system consists of an ingestible sensor, a patch worn on the body and an app installed on a smartphone or tablet.
According to an article in GigaOm, when the patient swallows the sensor along with medication, the magnesium and copper in the sensor react with the acid in the patient’s stomach to create a small electrical charge, allowing the sensor to communicate with the patch and app. The patient can track and log his medication and share the information with healthcare providers.
BodyGuardian Remote Monitoring System
The BodyGuardian Remote Monitoring System (RMS) from Preventice is a wearable body sensor that allows physicians to remotely monitor a patient’s physiological data. A small sensor is attached to the patient’s chest to track heart rate, respiration rate and activity level, giving physicians and healthcare providers access to patient information with just a few clicks.
With many of these devices only in their first iteration, it’s exciting to think about what the future has in store. The SoundBite may shrink down to the size of a pesky broccoli floret stuck in your teeth. The Argus II could be the world’s most advanced contact lens. Protus pills could aid in cancer detection. And the BodyGuardian could keep track of your vital signs while adhering to the skin like a temporary tattoo. Who knows? The only thing we can say for sure is that mobile health is proving to be a real lifesaver.
Article published by CJ Castillo. It originally appeared on The Push and has been republished with permission.
Most employees are disengaged and not passionate about the work they do. This is costing companies a ton of money in lost productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. It’s also harmful to employees, because they’re more stressed out than ever.
The thing that bothers me the most about it, is that it’s all so easy to fix. I can’t figure out why managers aren’t more proactive about this. Besides the human element of caring for our employees, it’s costing them money, so they should care more about fixing it. Something as simple as saying thank you to your employees can have a huge effect on their engagement, not to mention it’s good for your level of happiness.
The infographic that we put together has some pretty shocking statistics in it, but there are a few common themes. Employees feel overworked, overwhelmed, and they don’t like what they do. Companies are noticing it, with 75% of them saying they can’t attract the right talent, and 83% of them feeling that their employer brand isn’t compelling. Companies that want to fix this need to be smart, and patient. This doesn’t happen overnight, but like I mentioned, it’s easy to do. Being patient might be the hardest thing for companies, and I understand how frustrating it can be not to see results right away, but it’s important that you invest in this, because the ROI of employee engagement is huge.
Here are 4 simple (and free) things you can do to get that passion back into employees. These are all based on research from Deloitte.
1. Encourage side projects
Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload. Let them explore their own passions and interests, and work on side projects. Ideally, they wouldn’t have to be related to the company, but if you’re worried about them wasting time, you can set that boundary that it has to be related to the company. What this does, is give them autonomy, and let them improve on their skills (mastery), two of the biggest motivators for work.
Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload.
2. Encourage workers to engage with customers
At Wistia, a video hosting company, they make everyone in the company do customer support during their onboarding, and they often rotate people into customer support. When I asked Chris, their CEO, why they do this, he mentioned to me that it’s so every single person in the company understands how their customers are using their product. What pains they’re having, what they like about it, it gets everyone on the same page. It keeps all employees in the loop, and can really motivate you to work when you’re talking directly with customers.
3. Encourage workers to work cross-functionally
Both Apple and Google have created common areas in their offices, specifically and strategically located, so that different workers that don’t normally interact with each other can have a chance to chat.
This isn’t a coincidence. It’s meant for that collaborative learning, and building those relationships with your colleagues.
4. Encourage networking in their industry
This is similar to number 2 on the list, but it’s important for employees to grow and learn more about what they do. It helps them build that passion for their industry. It’s important to go to networking events, and encourage your employees to participate in these things. Websites like Eventbrite or Meetup have lots of great resources, and most of the events on there are free.
What do you do to increase employee engagement? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
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This infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe, the employee survey tool that helps companies improve their corporate wellness, and have a better organizational culture.
Supply chain fraud – whether perpetrated by suppliers, subcontractors, employees, or some combination of those – can take many forms. Among the most common are:
Inflated bills or expense accounts
Bribery and corruption
Phantom vendor accounts or invoices
Grey markets (counterfeit or knockoff products)
Failure to meet specifications (resulting in substandard or dangerous goods)
Perhaps the most damaging sources of supply chain fraud are internal, especially collusion between an employee and a supplier. Such partnerships help fraudsters evade independent checks and other controls, enabling them to steal larger amounts. The median loss from fraud committed
by a single thief was US$80,000, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).
Costs increase along with the number of perpetrators involved. Fraud involving two thieves had a median loss of US$200,000; fraud involving three people had a median loss of US$355,000; and fraud with four or more had a median loss of more than US$500,000, according to ACFE.
Build a culture to fight fraud
The most effective method to fight internal supply chain theft is to create a culture dedicated to fighting it. Here are a few ways to do it:
Make sure the board and C-level executives understand the critical nature of the supply chain and the risk of fraud throughout the procurement lifecycle.
Market the organization’s supply chain policies internally and among contractors.
Institute policies that prohibit conflicts of interest, and cross-check employee and supplier data to uncover potential conflicts.
Define the rules for accepting gifts from suppliers and insist that all gifts be documented.
Require two employees to sign off on any proposed changes to suppliers.
Watch for staff defections to suppliers, and pay close attention to any supplier that has recently poached an employee.
Today the Internet of Things is revamping technology.
Smart devices speak to each other and work together to provide the end user with a better product experience.
Coinciding with this change in technology is a change in people. We’ve transitioned from a world of people who love processed foods and french fries to people who eat kale chips and Greek yogurt…and actually like it.
People are taking ownership of their well-being, and preventative care is at the forefront of focus for both physicians and patients. Fitness trackers alert wearers of the exact number of calories burned from walking a certain number of steps. Mobile apps calculate our perfect nutritional balance. And even while we sleep, people are realizing that it’s important to monitor vitals.
According to research conducted at Harvard University, proper sleep patterns bolster healthy side effects such as improved immune function, a faster metabolism, preserved memory, and reduced stress and depression.
Conversely, the Harvard study determined that lack of sleep can negatively affect judgement, mood, and the ability retain information, as well as increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even premature death.
Through the Internet of Things, researchers can now explore sleep patterns without the usual sleep labs and movement-restricting electrode wires. And with connected devices, individuals can now easily monitor and positively influence their own health.
EarlySense, a startup credited with the creation of continuous patient monitoring solutions focused on early detection of patient deterioration, mid-sleep falls, and pressure ulcers, began with a mission to prevent premature and preventable deaths.
Without constant monitoring, patients with unexpected clinical deterioration may be accidentally neglected, and their conditions can easily escalate into emergency situations.
Motivated by many instances of patients who died from preventable post-elective surgery complications, EarlySense founders created a product that constantly monitors patients when hospital nurses can’t, alerting the main nurse station when a patient leaves his or her bed and could potentially fall, or when a patient’s vital signs drop or rise unexpectedly.
Now EarlySense technology has expanded outside of the hospital realm. The EarlySense wellness sensor, a device connected via the Internet of Things, mobile solutions, and supported by SAP HANA Cloud Platform, monitors all vital signs while a person sleeps. The device is completely wireless and lies subtly underneath one’s mattress. The sensor collects all mechanical vibrations that the patient’s body emits while sleeping, continuously monitoring heart and respiratory rates.
Watch this short video to learn more about how the EarlySense wellness sensor works:
The result is faster diagnoses with better treatments and outcomes. Sleep issues can be identified and addressed; individuals can use the data collected to make adjustments in diet or exercise habits; and those on heavy pain medications can monitor the way their bodies react to the medication. In addition, physicians can use the data collected from the sensor to identify patient health problems before they escalate into an emergency situation.
Connected care is opening the door for a new way to practice health. Through connected care apps that link people with their doctors, fitness trackers that measure daily activity, and sensors like the EarlySense wellness sensor, today’s technology enables people and physicians to work together to prevent sickness and accidents before they occur. Technology is forever changing the way we live, and in turn we are living longer, healthier lives.
To learn how SAP HANA Cloud Platform can affect your business, visit It&Me.
Imagine that your home security system lets you know when your kids get home from school. As they’re grabbing an afternoon snack, your kitchen takes inventory and sends a shopping list to your local supermarket. There, robots prepare the goods and pack them for home delivery into an autonomous vehicle – or a drone. Meanwhile, your smart watch, connected to a system that senses and analyzes real-time health indicators, alerts you to a suggested dinner menu it just created based on your family’s nutritional needs and ingredients available in your pantry. If you signal your approval, it offers to warm the oven before you get home from work.
This scenario isn’t as futuristic as you might think. In fact, what Gartner calls “the device mesh” is the logical evolution of the Internet of Things. All around us and always on, it will be both ubiquitous and subtle — ambient intelligence.
We’ll do truly different things, instead of just doing things differently. Today’s processes and problems are only a small subset of the many, many scenarios possible when practically everything is instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent.
We’re also going to need to come up with new ways of interacting with the technology and the infrastructure that supports it. Instead of typing on a keyboard or swiping a touchscreen, we’ll be surrounded by various interfaces that capture input automatically, almost incidentally. It will be a fundamental paradigm shift in the way we think of “computing,” and possibly whether we think about computing at all.
The Internet of not-things
The foundation will be a digital infrastructure that responds to its surroundings and the people in it, whether that means ubiquitous communications, ubiquitous entertainment, or ubiquitous opportunities for commerce. This infrastructure will be so seamless that rather than interacting with discrete objects, people will simply interact with their environment through deliberate voice and gesture — or cues like respiration and body temperature that will trigger the environment to respond.
Once such an infrastructure is in place, the possibilities for innovation explode. The power of Moore’s Law is now amplified by Metcalfe’s Law, which says that a network’s value is equal to the square of the number of participants in it. All these Internet-connected “things” — the sensors, devices, actuators, drones, vehicles, products, etc. — will be able to react automatically, seeing, analyzing, and combining to create value in as yet unimaginable ways. The individual “things” themselves will meld into a background of ambient connectedness and responsiveness.
The path is clearly marked
Think of the trends we’ve seen emerge in recent years:
Sensors and actuators, including implantables and wearables, that let us capture more data and impressions from more objects in more places, and that affect the environment around them.
Ubiquitous computing and hyperconnectivity, which exponentially increase the flow of data between people and devices and among devices themselves.
Nanotechnology and nanomaterials, which let us build ever more complex devices at microscopic scale.
Artificial intelligence, in which algorithms become increasingly capable of making decisions based on past performance and desired results.
Blockchain technology, which makes all kinds of digital transactions secure, verifiable, and potentially automatic.
As these emerging technologies become more powerful and sophisticated, they will increasingly overlap. For example, the distinctions between drones, autonomous vehicles, and robotics are already blurring. This convergence, which multiplies the strengths of each technology, makes ambient intelligence not just desirable but inevitable.
Early signposts on the way
We’re edging into the territory of ambient intelligence today. Increasingly complex sensors, systems architectures, and software can gather, store, manage, and analyze vastly more data in far less time with much greater sophistication.
Home automation is accelerating, allowing people to program lighting, air conditioning, audio and video, security systems, appliances, and other complex devices and then let them run more or less independently. Drones, robots, and autonomous vehicles can gather, generate, and navigate by data from locations human beings can’t or don’t access. Entire urban areas like Barcelona and Singapore are aiming to become “smart cities,” with initiatives already underway to automate the management of services like parking, trash collection, and traffic lights.
Our homes, vehicles, and communities may not be entirely self-maintaining yet, but it’s possible to set parameters within which significant systems operate more or less on their own. Eventually, these systems will become proficient enough at pattern matching that they’ll be able to learn from each other. That’s when we’ll hit the knee of the exponential growth curve.
Where are we heading?
Experts predict that, by 2022, 1 trillion networked sensors will be embedded in the world around us, with up to 45 trillion in 20 years. With this many sources of data for all manner of purposes, systems will be able to arrive at fast, accurate decisions about nearly everything. And they’ll be able to act on those things at the slightest prompting, or with little to no action on your part at all.
Ambient intelligence could transform cities through dynamic routing and signage for both drivers and pedestrians. It could manage mass transit for optimal efficiency based on real-time conditions. It could monitor environmental conditions and mitigate potential hotspots proactively, predict the need for government services and make sure those services are delivered efficiently, spot opportunities to streamline the supply chain and put them into effect automatically.
Nanotechnology in your clothing could send environmental data to your smart phone, or charge it from electricity generated as you walk. But why carry a phone when any glass surface, from your bathroom mirror to your kitchen window, could become an interactive interface for checking your calendar, answering email, watching videos, and anything else we do today on our phones and tablets? For that matter, why carry a phone when ambient connectivity will let us simply speak to each other across a distance without devices?
How to get there
In Tech Trends 2015, Deloitte Consulting outlines four capabilities required for ambient computing:
Integrating information flow between varying types of devices from a wide range of global manufacturers with proprietary data and technologies
Performing analytics and management of the physical objects and low-level events to detect signals and predict impact
Orchestrating those signals and objects to fulfill complex events or end-to-end business processes
Securing and monitoring the entire system of devices, connectivity, and information exchange
These technical challenges are daunting, but doable.
Of course, businesses and governments need to consider the ramifications of systems that can sense, reason, act, and interact for us. We need to solve the trust and security issues inherent in a future world where we’re constantly surrounded by connectivity and information. We need to consider what happens when tasks currently performed by humans can be automated into near invisibility. And we need to think about what it means to be human when ambient intelligence can satisfy our wants and needs before we express them, or before we even know that we have them.
There are incredible upsides to such a future, but there are also drawbacks. Let’s make sure we go there with our eyes wide open, and plan for the outcomes we want.