Health and Big Tech

JP Morgan health conference insights

One of the biggest annual health conferences, taking in place in San Francisco, is out to solve the nation’s health care problems. Major themes include better defining what is digital health, the role of Big Tech in the health industries, drug pricing, the lack of diversity in the C-suite, and the lack of the customer’s (patient’s) voice. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Big Tech has arrived at this party and the guests are trying to figure out what the future will be like with Google, Amazon and friends. Google’s high profile partnership with Ascension Health is the elephant in the room: Google is demonstrating how technology is increasing the accuracy of reading mammograms, but is being criticized for using real patient data. The bottom line is that AI works by finding patterns in massive amounts of data, and Google and friends need massive amounts of health data. The reward for feeding the machine is better diagnoses, and if you are one of those cases that were saved by better detection through technology, you will willingly share data. Big Tech is in this space to stay, and is demonstrating that tech + healthcare = better results at lower cost.

Smart contact lens puts the screen on your eye

Mojo Vision is underway with a multi-year project to turn the contact lens into the screen of the future, enabling you to not only have corrective vision, but enabling you to run apps and view augmented reality, as well as calendar reminders and navigation cues through your lens. Initially the lens is designed to be driven by a device worn on the wrist, but this may give way to smartphone controls at some point. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Anyone who has worn contact lenses understands how complex just making the thin plastic adhere and stay in place can be. Adding power, radios and sensors to these plastic slivers sounds extremely difficult, so expect this technology to remain “in development” for a few more years. The entire augmented reality class of technology has a long way to go to land a market beyond gaming or perhaps defense systems, but companies like Apple and Facebook continue to pursue the consumer market and will offer some interesting concepts late this year or early next.

Toyota invests in flying taxis

Toyota has helped flying taxi company Joby Aviation raise a $100 million investment round. The northern California aviation company has been secretly building its version of a VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) craft that Toyota expects may be a part of a challenge to oft talked about Uber flying taxis. The Verge

dis-rup-shun: It is hard to imagine the current technologies on display — that of multi-rotor helicopter-like craft — ever landing in front of our home or office to whisk us to a meeting. These prototypes, however, may form the basis of a hybrid car-helicopter in which rotors are small and protected. What is certain, however, is that while bold dreamers such as Elon Musk and the management team at Uber launch large experiments, the auto industry will be forced to dream competitively and rush to not get displaced, as they risk with autonomous cars, cars-as-service, and electric cars, all trends that have put the industry on its heels. 

Peacock officially launches, marking next phase 

NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, is officially unveiled today, and marks the end of phase 1 of the era of streaming — the introductory phase. Peacock joins many incumbents, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and new offerings, such as HBO Max and Disney +. The next phase of transformation, as CNBC points out, is determining if and how streaming services will become replacement technologies, or complementary. For cable providers such as Comcast, substituting Peacock is a significant blow to higher cable revenues, so Comcast will position Peacock as a complementary offering.

dis-rup-shun: We will now watch as streaming business model experiments abound. Bundling services free with smartphone contracts has already started. Providing streaming services as icing on the cable bill will be an important model as telcos and cablecos milk the cable cash cow as long as they have with the telephone land line. Pure cord cutting, of course, is a reality with full home TV services now supported primarliy by Hulu and YouTube. The full service alternative to cable with all the trimmings appears to cost around $150 per month, a figure not drastically less than cable, so for the three to four TV household, the appetite for cord cutting may be whetted a bit.