Health Technology

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Good health, Bad health. It’s the most vital of all our concerns- so much so that the idea of Health runs throughout our daily interactions via the daily greeting “how are you?”. Expenditure on health care in all developing and developed countries is immense, especially as health technology continues to astonish. The recent 70 billion bid by Pfizer for UK Company Astra Zeneca hints at the inestimable proportions of the commercial health industry. Drugs, treatments, hospitals, nurses, doctors, equipment, the list is endless.

Annual expenditure by the UK government is a cool £ 132 billion-  23.5% of the total  public spending.  It’s a hot topic. That’s why there’s a buzz in the technology word regarding the new wireless charging techniques enabling tiny embedded sensors to be used as a means of preventing the rapidly rising costs of healthcare spiralling upwards in a seemingly unsolvable social whirlpool.

OK so here’s the pitch, you put this minicomputer into your body, it sends info back in real time so you can make sure that the ol’ ticker isn’t about to bow a fuse. Simple? Well not quite, but that’s the idea in brief. When miniaturisation meets wireless the possibilities expand as to the purposes to which this combination can be extended. The Guardian newspapers technology section explains thus:

A breakthrough in wireless technology could allow a new wave of health tracking tools that can be embedded inside our bodies – in our livers, hearts and even in our brains.

A new wireless charging technique known as “mid-field wireless transfer” can deliver power to tiny electronic devices such as sensors, pacemakers and nerve stimulator’s embedded deep within the body. They can be charged using a device the size of a credit card placed outside the body.

“With this method, we can safely transmit power to tiny implants in organs like the heart or brain, well beyond the range of current near-field systems,” said Dr John Ho, co-author of the study that appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.IAP23902

 As if this revelation wasn’t enough – read on for more heart stopping (pun intended) information on the cyber future possibilities ahead, if not for you then almost certainly for you children.

One of the big breakthrough factors here is that devices don’t need to have large batteries or power sources (like a pacemaker) and neither do they have to be near the surface of the skin, they can be implanted more deeply to the places in the body where the vital organs sit and lets face it if it if we are going to have microchips put inside us we want it to be “vital”. Using a new kind of “near field wave” that can reach deeper into the body the devices can be charged by an external source by wireless charging.

“The discovery opens up greater possibilities for medical implants called “electroceutical” devices, which use electrical stimulation to treat illness or alleviate pain that would typically require long term drug treatment. Diseases like Parkinson’s are already treated with techniques like deep brain stimulation to control shaking symptoms”.

These devices will be designed to handle treatments as well as monitoring health.

Good health and bad health. It’s a big business and its about to get bigger. Just how and when the mobile phone companies engage with this deeper level of technology remains to be seen. On the face of it Apple and Google as well as the big names such as Samsung and others are well positioned to add this area of development into their mid term strategies.

Bitcoin

bitcoin pic 3Bitcoin explained, or not. Can anyone explain Btcoins in a way that makes perfectly rational sense to a non-clued up majority? Bitcoins, we hear about this mysterious currency from time to time, whether it is in relation to the so called inventor / founder turning up in Malaysia and denying all knowledge or whether it’s the unemployed chap who accidentally lost 4 million pounds worth by chucking out a few old hard drives. Today we hear that Wikipedia is considering accepting these as donations to its cause. What next? Loyaltybit points on my clubcard for spending  actual Bitcoins.  In fact are there any physical Bitcoins, there are certainly lots of photographs of lovely piles of these virtual coins….why?  …

This month we notice continues coverage in the news about companies established with the sole purpose of mining Bitcoins. That is to say they attract millions of pounds, dollars and other boring real world cash investment on real stock markets with which they invest in factories to build powerful servers to create or mine the Bitcoins. It’s like the elusive Black Panther of the Cotswolds  or Somerset or wherever the Black Panther kept getting sighted. Very hard to know if any of these Bitcoin sightings or explanations are anything but a high flown prank by some megalomaniac IT / nerd. Who be dat? You may well ask. Its rumoured to be . well ,  er …..well its only a rumour.

The fact is however that a company called  KnC Miner in Sweden is a real company and it is spending more money that they care to detail on building numerous computers at a cost of 10 thousand pounds each with which people can to “mine” for Bitcoins. Well excuse us for being nonplussed but why, how, where ? Astonishingly KnC Miner have just announced that within four hours of putting these on  sale they have orders for over 2 million us dollars worth. Its not like buying you pick and shovel for the old school gold rush then is it?  “We are overwhelmed by the positive response we have gotten and we will continue to produce the best possible mining hardware for our customers,” said co-founder Andreas Kennemar. Can’t argue with the sales figures but frankly ..what does it all mean?

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How and why are Bitcoins valuable?  Hard to find? So is a four leafed clover but it doesn’t make it valuable and that’s something that’s real and does exist. I have seen one !. So is the mutated humorous root vegetable, but its not worth a lot once the laughter fades. Bitcoin on the other hand, a rare beast indeed so rare that they seem unlikely to exist. Most of us haven’t seen a Bitcoins and out of the many people I have asked, neither has anyone else. That’s because they don’t exist as material things, they are a series of numbers. Big Deal. Yawn.

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Get this, in Sweden KnC are building a 43 thousand square foot data centre for…you guessed it, for back up capacity for their customers who are mining the Bitcoin. Ho h oho… what? But then again this malarkey has proved itself profitable as the company, only a couple of years into its existence says it made 15 million dollars profit last year on a turnover of 75 million. Whose laughing now.? Well…. No one because they don’t get the joke. Why Sweden? because its cold. Like Facebook and Google before them, who have both huge purpose built data centres in this corner of the world, the advantages of the Nordic chill are well understood in the world of data centres. Keeps the server cooling costs down (mind you the outgoings on company thermal underwear must be through the roof!)….Wait a minute… what was that? Bitcoins? Haven’t got a clue, but perhaps some of our more switched on readers will let us know. Please!.

The Google Bill Settler

going-dutchThe Google Bill Settler is upon us, well its coming soon anyway….

You know how awkward it can be at the point in a meal when the bill is produced.  There are 4 of you and one of you didn’t have a sweet, or was driving so had nothing to drink. So the bill comes in and everyone is wondering “how are we going to split this up fairly?”. Well its easy if you can all agree to work it out and add up the parts you are responsible for and pay accordingly. But, in fact that’s the socially awkward part because no one likes to point out that “hey, I only has a salad!”.  So somehow it ends up unfairly split either someone pays too much or someone else pays too little.

Our friendly and ever present master of the digital Universe, Google, has now addressed the problem, has filed a patent for the technology and is working to release a smartphone app which tracks payment transactions between a group and works out who owes what exactly after a joint activity be it a meal, taxi or holiday. What’s more it takes care of the messy business of transferring funds between the respective accounts of these people in the group. But o make it work there is still a need to input the amounts involved and assign them to a joint account which has been set up for the purpose. Let’s hope there are no bugs, that could be a recipe for disaster. Well in my opinion this could cause more problems than it may solve so not one for immediate download. It just moves the argument a little bit further down the digital route instead of resolving the issues. It provides a neat way for doing the maths but the discussion still needs to be had as to who had what and who owes this that or the other.

Maybe this is the point I am coming to…apps cannot necessarily add to your quality of life. They may do, and they may seem essential in some cases and some situations but as consumers we need to be on our guard against spurious apps that simply digitise an issue rather than resolving it. perhaps this is being a little harsh…the proof will be in the pudding.(eek!)

Every day 1.5 million newly activated Android devices

Every day 1.5 million newly activated Android devices join the 900 million already out there. It’s hard to imagine the seemingly non stop demand for new Android devices, but here’s proof. The story mirrors and probably eclipses the Apple success curve.

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Only 5 short years have passed since Android phones were launched.  The positive for Google is that the more of the devices there are, the more apps get downloaded, it’s a perfect model. There are already a total of over 900 million devices worldwide on the Android system and at this rate it’s only going to be 6 months until the billionth device goes live. Staggering numbers which must be daunting for all the competition no matter which part of the world it is coming from.

Ok so niche markets will continue and Apple will continue its fantastic success story but with Google’s Android platform becoming so prevalent, surely  something’s gotta give !

But maybe the bigger concept to muse on here is that the position of Android is strengthened by it being increasingly seen as a solution for all sorts of electronic chip based gadgetry.  Cameras’ TV box’s, tablets basic browsing laptops and watches all come into the Android sphere with increasing frequency.  HPAndroid_One_Billion_2017-630x354 has already started pushing Android on it’s notebooks and PC’s. Next year they will probably start pushing Android to enterprise more seriously, too, and into more sales channels, where they are now pushing Windows PC’s. Google browser, Maps, phones, glass, and so on.  Pretty high profile business and pretty good foothold in our modern technology lead lives. Google recently announced 48 billion application downloads and as more devices go live so too will the sale of the Android app accelerate. This diversity gives Android a depth which perhaps rivals will envy.

Apple:50 Billion downloads.Android poised to overtake!

 

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Apple hit 50 Billion downloads. Android poised to overtake! As reported on this blog Apple are now proud to have announced the 50 billionth app download. It’s a breath-taking number in a breath-taking world of technical accomplishment.  What makes this so noteworthy is the fact that at present smart phone penetration is still only around 50% of mobile phone users.  It is predicted that by 2017 the penetration rates in Europe will reach 80 to 90%, increasing the number of potential customers for the App store and its competitors. Penetration of Smartphones in the USA lags someway behind Europe. There is therefore obvious potential for this number to accelerate towards 100 billion in the coming years is clear.

The App store has only been open for 5 years. Its “doors” opened in July 2005 with only 500 apps available to download. That number has grown to a current choice 850,000 different apps across 23 different categories. As if that’s not enough, these apps are available alongside a further half a million or so across the other major platforms.

In fact whilst Apple celebrates this milestone the fact is that Google’s Android platform is poised to take a more prominent position in the market and currently there are 500 million more Android apps from Google Play per month beingdownloaded.  There are now 900 million Android based devices out there as compared to 600 million Apple devices.  Google claims that it has had 48 billion downloads to date and is achieving 2.5 billion per month compared to Apple’s 2 billion monthly downloads. The trend is set for the coming months. Android will be pushing for top spot in the app distributing business sooner than those at Apple may wish to admit.

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5 Stars for I Plan Success App

Apps Magazine awards 5 stars for iPlanSuccess© This comes as no surprise ofcourse but is a welcome addition to other 5 star reviews (see below where a google search reveals CNET and iTunes have also racked up 5 start reviews for the app.)

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iplan successgoogle CNET and iTunes rack up 5 Stars for iplansuccess

Since its release just before Christmas, the iPlanSuccess©  App has been succeeding in the self help space where others have fared less well. The purpose of the app is to enable users to track their progress over a number of key areas of their lives. They plan for success by using the app as a companion to remind, to log and to inspire. Now we all need a bit of help these days to organise and prioritise in as simple and clear a way as possible and that’s why this app has gained a substantial fan base already!

iPlanSuccess© is a practical application that allows you to be more successful. It helps you:

  • Identify what is important to you; what you value and makes you feel good
  • Assess your own capabilities; your strengths and how you might limit yourself
  • Develop well thought through goals and appropriate actions; identify support to draw on, and set realistic timescales
  • Monitor progress with a clear real-time overview and…
  • Achieve more, in all likelihood, than you would have done.

iPlanSuccess© is much more than another one of those task or reminder lists. It is a serious tool for people who really care about achieving their ambitions. It ensures you identify the goals and actions that are right for you.

AppDevelopersUk developed the app on behalf of two professional workplace consultants who have been developing the concept behind their unique approach to this for many years. They came to us with a paper based version which was already tried and tested in many blue chip companies on their client lists. The task of turning this into an iPad app was one we relished. Working across numerous iterations our development team produced a fine tuned final version which was released in December 2012. To date there have been no updates or upgrades (testimony to our developer’s skills as well as to a fantastic brief!) but in the future there is scope for white labelling as well as feature upgrade work. If you are interested in white labelling this app do contact us and we will be happy to put you in touch with the company who designed the app.

50 Billion Apps on Apple

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The fact that Apple are about to reach the mind boggling milestone of 50 billion app downloads represents  a remarkable moment. Perhaps it’s more remarkable to note that it was only last year that Apple celebrated 25 billion app downloads. The downloads have doubled over less than 12 months! It is only as recent as January 2013 that the 40 billionth app was downloaded….

The other point to notice about these is that over half of them are available as FREE apps. The so called free app has of course engineered its own way to make money; the” in app” purchase. You get the free app with limited content or features and then are lured into downloading additional content or features through the in app offerings. This has been a particular success in the gaming side of the free app market. According to a survey by App Hero, Apple have 800,000 apps available on the store. Of these there will be a huge number presumably, which have enjoyed low levels of success whilst many others will account for huge numbers of downloads. One only has to think Angry Birds, EverNote or Google Maps for instance.

Whatever angle you look at it from, the app market, still a youthful enterprise by any standard, has made a big impression on daily lives of billions of people around the globe, and established a whole new economy. Once the app store matures we shouldn’t be surprised to see whole new avenues of commerce and business thriving and bringing new horizons to the world of apps.

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Free Apps under OFT investigation.

Free Apps are great. Free Apps are a pain. It depends on your point of view. For many device owners the majority of the apps they download are free. At App Developers UK we create and publish numerous so called free apps. The world knows there’s no such thing as a free lunch, someone has to pay.

Apps allow the users access to software developed carefully and considerately and at considerable costs. The cost to develop an app has not really changed up or down over the recent years and the use of skilled developers is absolutely at the core of it all. So a Free app makes no sense. However the free app can make great sense if the content is organised carefully. In the business many refer to this as the Freemium model.

Many of the Apps are of this type. The free app contains limited but useful or enjoyable content and the user is allowed access to more content at a cost, clearly marked within the app. The OFT investigation revolves around some gaming apps, free to download and containing additional aspects or content, in the form of virtual money, coins, fruit or levels of interaction. It’s a way to monetise a free app and in the context of apps seems to us to be perfectly reasonable.  Correctly, we feel, OFT wants to ensure transparency in these in app purchases. As reported on the OFT website:

The OFT investigation is exploring whether these games are misleading, commercially aggressive or otherwise unfair. In particular, the OFT is looking into whether these games include ‘direct exhortations’ to children – a strong encouragement to make a purchase, or to do something that will necessitate making a purchase, or to persuade their parents or other adults to make a purchase for them. This is unlawful under the Consumer Protection (from Unfair Trading) Regulations 2008.

Its key though that a parent or responsible adult takes it upon themselves to monitor use of these apps and to ensure that any password is not made available to any minor who may not fully understand the implications of buying more content. In adult speak its quickly understood that when you buy £60.00 of digital gold coins to enable you to “buy” your way into the next “room of doom” or whatever it is, that the credit card bill will reflect this in real and actual money. That’s definitely not the sort of experience a parent may be anticipating as they go about their daily lives whilst their offspring (presumably!) borrow the iPad for a few hours.

Seriously though, get with the program, as our North American cousins may say. The responsibility is with the responsible adult.

Here’s a quick reminder of preventative measures for anyone fearing that their next credit card bill will be loaded with purchases of virtual goodies.(or even actual goodies delivered to your front door !).

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Do not assume that all children understand that virtual money costs real money in these game environments.

 

 

 

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Turn off “in app purchasing” options on the device.

 

 

 

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Talk to your children and…………explain. It’s called “parenting”.

 

 

 

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If you still find yourself in the unfortunate position of not trusting your children….the fail safe measure is: Do not provide the relevant pass codes to your children.

Google Glass. Excitement Mounts.

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Google Glass. Excitement Mounts.The heat is being turned up on the Google Glass front. This week Google has been dropping hints and appetizers about what the Google Glass product will actually deliver in terms of specification.

On Monday the news concerned an exciting sounding Explorer edition for starters. These will include a 5 mega pixel camera with ability to capture up to 720p video as well as an impressive 16gb on board storage.

In terms of the usefulness or desirability we have already aired some doubts here at App Developers UK but it has to be said that with a marketing budget and brand such as Google we are expecting a significant interest from the buying public. Will you be amongst the early adopters or will you wait for subsequent iterations? Its fun to be in on a product early doors but the fun may be reduced by cost factors. As yet we are not sure what the price of these little Goggle, er,…. Google Glasses will be but rumour has it you will need to part with “serious dollar” to get hold of a pair.

The idea of having a stream of images in front of your eyes may get your juices going, and according to insiders the effect is going to be a little bit like looking at a medium sized TV from a distance of 8 feet away. That’s amazing. How the deuce does this impact on normal daily function’s like walking? I mean in a crowd, you have a high def. TV image in front of you, aren’t you in danger of walking into traffic?  The sound moreover is to be delivered by “bone conduction”. Wow!

Back to basics, there will be a decent Wi Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and a micro usb for charging and data transfers. The MyGlassApp which is already available on the Google Play store, will enable interactivity between the Glasses and any Ice Cream 4.0.3 loaded Android mobile.

In all of this the one fact we cannot ignore is that the availability of this product in the Google stable is important because its a clear differentiator between Android and its biggest rival handset producer, Apple.  Will Apple devotees now consider a cheaper Android device as a second device so that they can run the Google Glass device? Willl this allow Google to tempt these cross platform users to further treats via their Glasses?The future is Clear, the future is Glass. Or not?

Google App Store resists Low Quality Apps

Google App Store resists Low Quality Apps.  App Developers UK have long recognized that Apps produced for the Android market were considered less problematic at submissions phase than their counterpart on the Apple app store.

Google App Store resists Low Quality Apps

Google Get Picky

But things are changing. In February alone 60 thousand apps were removed from the Android marketplace. The majority were removed by Google. If you multiply that figure by 6 months, that would cut in half the whole of the published Google app number (700,000 according to Google themselves).

Now there’s no reason to think that this would happen but it does indicate the new approach to quality and the potential for Google to shift the emphasis to quality over quantity.Instead of reviewing applications ahead of publication one-by-one with an army of reviewers as Apple does, Google takes the opposite approach and scans its app store after the apps have gone live.

Google has been retrospectively removing poor, spammy or non-compliant apps from its store. This quality focussed approach makes sense in light of the rumoured re launch of the Google play store. Big hitting handsets like the Samsung and HTC device ranges have stimulated the Android app market and a quality over quantity approach indicates a maturing in the sector. Apple once again must raise its game to make sure that its position as primary app delivery platform is not wrenched from its 5 year long grasp.

Unlike Apple who have an army of humans checking apps prior to publishing them, Google relies on an automated approach looking at apps after release. The automated method uses algorithms to search out the apps which appear to breach its terms of publishing, especially spam or malware type apps. The improvements to that automated system are now being used to track poor apps and ones with dubious content.