Google opening healthcare API
Google’s Cloud unit continues to pursue the connected health industry by opening its health information interface, called Google Healthcare API. This action enables different healthcare information providers, regardless of if they are using Google’s cloud, to connect to a common data interface intended to integrate disparate health information sources. The Department of Health and Human Services previously issued a mandate restricting vendors from a common practice of blocking information exchange between systems. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Microsoft’s Azure cloud service has pursued a similar path to encourage standardization and information exchange. The healthcare industry, quite simply, has used data as a competitive advantage, making it difficult for consumers and doctors to shop for competitive services. Creating an open data exchange will enable willing healthcare providers to de-mystify the healthcare pricing and payment system, and empower consumers to choose what they pay to whom. Fear of sharing personal information with BigTech will hinder some, but when shopping for care becomes as easy as ordering an Uber ride, consumers will overcome their privacy concerns.
The rise of the Apple watch
The Apple Watch is now five years old, and last year, according to Strategy Analytics, the company shipped an estimated 31 million units while all Swiss watch brands combined shipped about 21 million units. Today the Apple Watch offers about 20,000 apps, most that require the use of the iPhone (which offers 2 million apps), and include many health and fitness apps, including an FDA approved EKG sensor. CNET
dis-rup-shun: Apple is, in fact, redefining the definition of the watch, much like it did a phone. Calling an iPhone a phone is almost a misnomer, given that voice communication is such a small part of the utility it offers. Soon an Apple Watch will provide so many seemingly-essential functions that comparing the device to a wrist watch will be for the purposes of nostalgia only. As CNET says, watch makers that have not joined the smart watch race have essentially missed the window to do so.
Facebook’s Portal is a Coronavirus winner
As often covered, Facebook’s smart display offering, the Portal family, was received tepidly when introduced, mostly due to people’s lack of trust for Facebook’s privacy policies. Now the devices are out of stock on most online stores. Strategy Analytics estimates that Facebook has sold about one million units in 2019 and 200,000 units so far this year. This success, however, represents only 2% of the market, of which Amazon has 45%. CNET
dis-rup-shun: The pandemic may have saved this product line from extinction, and it seems that many people believe that Portal is a better solutions for seniors than its competitors. Will Facebook seize this opportunity and seek to carve out its place in the aging-in-place market, or will it continue to throw small stones at Goliath? Facebook has an opportunity to double down on attempts to prove that the company is trustworthy, and winning over seniors would be a smart way to build a beachhead of consumer support.
Battling slow Wi-Fi?
If sheltering in place has made you more aware of the ups and downs of your home Internet service, then read CNET‘s explanations and suggesting course of correction. First, the review suggests that inconsistent Internet speeds are the result of your provider throttling your speeds to better share bandwidth across customers. They can do so given legislation that gave them that right (net neutrality). Step 1 in the diagnosis is to run some speed tests through M-Lab. If this test verifies inconsistencies, then you may wish to install a virtual private network (VPN) through software, to conceal your streaming volume and schedule from your provider. In theory, this will reduce fluctuations they impose.
dis-rup-shun: The article also suggests that you call your provider and threaten to switch if they won’t stop jacking with your speeds. It seems that we are as dependent on Wi-Fi for living as we were with dial tone and maybe even moreso, but the mysteries of getting constant, stable coverage are battles faced my most households. Is it poor infrastructure to the home, or is an old router, or inadequate signal to cover the home? It seems that there is a real opportunity for an Internet Doctor service to replace the dying Cable Guy.