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A Few Applications of Augmented Reality in Healthcare

Augmented reality is a way to obtain additional information about a situation using special apps, headsets, or goggles. Unlike virtual reality, these devices do not project a different world to you but instead, add an extra data layer about the situation you are currently in. Augmented reality has applications in gaming, with the most popular example being Pokémon Go – as well as other industries.

Additional applications include marketing, with apps that allow you to visualize 3D projections of potential purchases or learn more about an item by scanning it with a camera. One field where augmented reality is proving useful is healthcare. Several projects already exist that are using augmented reality, and many more applications are currently in the research stage. Here are some examples of uses of augmented reality in healthcare.

Overlaid Diagnostics

According to an article from The Smithsonian, a lab called the Augmentarium at the University of Maryland is developing a unique tool for doctors and surgeons. This tool uses custom software with the Microsoft HoloLens to project diagnostic images for a surgeon to see while they are interacting with patients or performing surgery. Surgeons can focus on the patient and not look away for additional information, which saves critical time.


 Holographic Navigation Platform

A company called Scopis has a similar tool called the Holographic Navigation Platform, described at the Medical Augmented Reality blog. The tool also uses the Microsoft HoloLens. Healthcare professionals can work with a 3D holographic representation of a part of a patient’s body, such as the spine. Prior to surgery, they can make detailed plans with this representation, like deciding how to position screws. During the surgery, the holographic representation projects an image on the spine, and sensors help the surgeon pick the exact angle and location for actual insertion of the screw.

Proximie App

The Proximie App lets medical professionals stream video of their procedures and share information with other professionals. It is ideal for when an expert cannot attend a procedure, but their input is still essential. Watching the stream remotely, this expert can make annotations in the video, including text, images, and links to other videos, to suggest how to continue with the procedure. The app is also helpful for training medical students. Instead of just watching a procedure in person, by watching through the Proximie App, they will have access to extra learning material associated with it provided by their teachers.

Prosthesis Training

A post on the MDDI website describes a system for helping amputees learn how to use an arm or hand prosthesis using augmented reality. The system is from the Interactive Media Systems Group at the Vienna Institute of Technology. It uses the Oculus Rift in addition to special sensors to detect motion and muscle movement in the patient’s arm. With the headset on, a patient sees a field of balls as well as an arm and hand representing their prosthetic. They learn to control how it moves as well as how to grasp and release using the muscles in the arm that it connects to. A patient can learn how to coordinate their movements and use different levels of force when grasping an object.

These are just four examples of ways augmented reality is useful for the healthcare field. There are many more applications, including systems to help nurses accurately see veins, tools to help autistic children learn to interact with people, and apps to help people regulate their emotional and physical health.

The Medical Augmented Reality blog provides more examples of healthcare applications. Another source of information on the topic is this blog post from MDDI online. In the near future, other creative applications of augmented reality will help the healthcare field progress in new, unexpected ways. For more information on uses of augmented reality in healthcare and other fields, please contact us.

 

Majid Abai – September 2017 – Los Angeles.

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About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

4 IoT Devices that Help Reduce Costs for Any Office

In the past few years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has seen an explosion of popularity, invention, and production. This new philosophy of manufacturing is putting wireless internet access and mobile app control into anything we can think of and the number of ‘smart’ devices grows with each coming month. While it may have originally seemed like a passing fad, the IoT trend has successfully produced an increasing number of truly useful devices. Adventurous businesses have already begun reaping the rewards by integrating smart devices into every layer of business. From the office plants to the inventory floor, the efficiency and innovation of the Internet of Things can now be used to reduce your overhead and delight your employees. While the options are vast, here are four starter IoT devices that could get your office introduced to the cost saving convenience of the Internet of Things.

  1. Smart Thermostats

Managing office temperature is notoriously challenging. Many companies have tried automating their thermostat settings to be cool in the day and warm in the evening, but this almost always backfires. IoT thermostats, on the other hand, can be programmed to maintain a temperature, follow a schedule and be hand-tuned from anywhere in the building. This will help you keep your employees comfortable and reduce the unnecessary costs of over cooling or heating. The remote access also allows you to flip off the AC over nights and weekends even if you forgot to do so before locking up.

  1. Self-Monitoring Office Plants

It sounds silly, but do you know how much an office that uses real plants will spend replacing plants if any die? Potted plants have been found to increase employee happiness and improve indoor air quality, but traditionally they require someone with a green thumb to keep in good condition. Without an at least moderately talented gardener, the plants will wilt and can even die if left insufficiently tended for too long. Now there is an IoT pot that can water itself and send a text when the plant needs a new mix of fertilizer.

  1. App-Controlled Lights

Especially in larger offices with several floors worth of brilliantly glowing halogens, the ability to turn off lights without having to visit each light switch is a major relief for energy-conscious property managers. If your office electricity bill is high, you can simply use IoT-enabled lights and exercise complete control over your office illumination and turn off those lights when nobody is working.

  1. Cold Storage Sensors

Does your company work with products that need to be chilled and kept dry? From restaurants to florists, maintaining the right cooler environment is vitally important to keeping products high-quality and salable. When your business risks losing money to warm freezers or damp air, having a constant monitor for environmental factors saves hours of employee time constantly checking and noting temperature and humidity. An IoT-enabled sensor can do the checking for you and give you an early warning if something goes wrong before your products are damaged.

These devices are only the tip of the iceberg. As development continues in IoT devices, businesses will see more and more industry specialized internet-enabled devices.  From robots that scan shelves to sensors custom built to monitor factory machinery, IoT is bringing remote access and optimization opportunities to every aspect of a modern business. Today it’s thermostats that conveniently save electricity, but in a few years it could be security camera drones flying circuits.

If you’re interested in learning more about the growing world of the Internet of Things – and how it could help your company increase revenues and/or reduce costs, please contact us today!

Majid Abai – August 2017 – Los Angeles.

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About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

 

Will Humans Lose Jobs to AI Agents?

There is a great deal of concern associated with artificial intelligence taking over jobs that are currently performed by humans. It’s a valid concern and one should take a deeper look at the type of a job that could eventually be performed by a robot or some sort of AI agent.

We should also look at this issue from a different perspective: humans. Which will then beg the question of “Whose job will be transferred to an AI agent?”

What I mean to find out is, who is at risk of losing their job to an AI Agent? Whose job will be eliminated and what can be done about it? In this context, we discuss AI Agent in a broad sense: robots, computers, algorithms, and any other AI product.

I think the following is the first group of “at risk” folks, and the first wave of jobs that will be transferred: Everyone who has stopped thinking at work and are fully relying on computers to tell them what to do.

For example, An Uber driver who only pays attention to the route that is provided by their route guidance app and doesn’t survey the surroundings for potentially better route; A retail cashier who will only do what the computer tells her to do and wouldn’t make better recommendations because the computer didn’t say so; A customer service attendant who’s bound by what’s available in the computer and has forgotten the human touch necessary in the customer service industry. In each case, the human only operates within the bounds established by the computer – and performs his or her job without any initiative or innovation.

Let me simplify my point: The first waves of transfers would happen to folks who have fully given to computers and don’t use any imagination, initiative, or innovation to solve daily work problems.

The one thing that AI agents haven’t mastered yet is imagination, initiative, innovation, and service with a smile.

So, if the above premise is correct, we’ve now identified a way for people who are either in the workforce today or will be in the workforce in the near future: make sure to use your brains on the job to solve problems. As of now, we can teach computers a lot of things, but we still can’t teach them initiative, innovation, and the human touch.

If you are still going to school and thinking of what you should study and what work function you should perform, then choose a career that forces you to use your brain, to imagine, and to innovate! That’s the competitive advantage that will keep you on a job in the future.

 

Majid Abai – July 2017 – Los Angeles

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 About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

 

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10 Steps of a Successful Business Continuity Plan

As part of our engagements with our client organizations, we always ask about the organization’s business continuity plan. We ask this question regardless of the size of the company, or our level of engagement. Answers often sound something like this: “We’re covered!” or this: “We have a very detailed disaster/recovery plan” or our favorite: “We backup our data every night”.

As we dig deeper, our Sherpas often realize that most companies either don’t have a business continuity plan or at best have a data backup plan.

This has prompted me to write this article about the areas that an organization needs to think about when it comes to business continuity.

Step 1: Business Continuity Plan is an Operational Risk, Not an IT one.

Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is an operational risk. It effects much more than just simply the technology side of the house, and would include cross-training, rescheduling, and focusing on worst case scenarios

Step 2: Disaster Recovery Plan is a subset of a Business Continuity Plan

In our opinion, the Disaster Recovery (DR) plan is the technology subset of the business continuity plan. For example, a medium-size break and mortar print organization with several offices across the US, and running several systems including CRM and ERP platforms would not only need a DR plan, but also, need to figure out how to deliver customer online, telephonic, and manual orders should a disaster wipe out one of its print centers. In addition, should a call center be closed due to a natural disaster, would other centers have adequately trained specialists to answer the customer phone calls?

Step 3: Define Key Business Activities

We’d like to start by defining key business activities, processes, and systems within the organization. For example, production lines for manufacturing companies, systems, key resources, and important business processes. We also ask some stupid questions: What if the phones are down for more than one day? Could you continue to operate? Are the phone systems designed to relay phone calls to people who work from home?

Step 4: Define Potential Disasters

What does disaster look like in your business? The scenarios are quite different for each organization. Of course, the following categories are the most common set of business disasters:

  • Natural Disasters (earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, etc.)
  • Architectural Disasters (Fire and Water damage)
  • Technological Disasters (servers crashing)
  • Terrorist attacks (e.g. September 11)

In addition to the above set of disasters, each organization has its own set of issues that could be potentially disastrous for the company. For example, a number of major public companies – as well as the US Federal Government – prohibit traveling of 2 of their high ranking members on the same flight as a method of insuring business continuity.

Step 5: Define the Potential Cost of the Disaster

The way to answer this question correctly is to be able to realize that there are 3 types of cost associated with each disaster (a) The unproductive time/money loss due to lack of resources; (b) revenue loss due to lack of sales; and (c) long-term loss due to customer dissatisfaction. For example, an e-commerce company whose servers have crashed will have to pay its personnel while the site is being recovered; will lose sales for the duration; would pay for online ads during this period; and would potentially lose customers as they might find the rival site and never come back. One should calculate this cost as it would directly help with the next section.

Step 6: Define an Acceptable Recovery Time

Following the above example, if e-commerce company A could potentially lose $1,000 per hour, its business continuity strategy might be quite different than e-commerce company B that is losing $75,000 per hour. In case of Company A, the company might be happy for a recovery time of several hours or days, where Company B, would like the recovery to be a matter of minutes.

Step 7: Define an Acceptable Recovery Budget

So far, we have identified disaster types, cost of each disaster, and acceptable recovery times for that disaster. But how much are we willing to pay to be prepared? Nobody really wants to pay for something that could never happen (including the cost of cross-training, re-deployment, etc.), but it is a necessity of life.

Step 8: Consider External Vendors

What if you couldn’t fulfill your products and services for a certain period of time? Could there be external vendors who could perform these services for that period to keep the customers happy? If so, start building a relationship with them and establish the criteria of working together.

Step 9: Protect Your Data!

Data is the new gold. As part of any solid BCP and DR Plan, you’d need to make sure that your data is backed up, accessible, and recoverable. As long as we know data us accessible, recoverable, and easily discoverable, we would be able to restore it or use it in the interim to support our customers. Let’s use this example: Company A uses a sophisticated ERP format. IT department backs up this data every night to a secure offsite location. A few months down the line, the ERP servers crash and we have to wait for new servers for a week. During this period, this data is not accessible which could cause a lot of issues for the company.

Alternatively, a better business continuity plan, would have dumped key data (customer, product list/cost/price, etc.) to an unsophisticated system on nightly basis, allowing users at various offices to have access to this information during the disaster period.

Step 10: Train Your Employees

And finally…. Make sure your employees know what to do in case of a disaster, whether it is natural, technological, or architectural. It’s important for them to have all steps documented in a manual and practiced those scenarios so that they could react to those conditions naturally. Such manuals should be customized for each vital set of groups, so that they’re simply focused on their specific function in case of a disaster.

In Conclusion

As you can see, organizations should be actively developing business continuity plans and should remember that these are live documents that be modified continually as business requirements, systems, and personnel change. As such, it’s very important for executives to review, update, and test the plan, and schedule training and reminders for their employees and team members, on annual basis. One hopes that such plans are never put into action, but executives should always be ready.

 


 About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com and www.QubeMarketing.com), a Technology, Revenue Growth, and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA.

With over 30 years of experience in leading and managing US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategy and tactical approached to innovation and rapid growth of organizations.

Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

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FBI Warns of Security Issues of IoT Devices

After reviewing a November 8th article from Wall Street Journal, we can see one of the unintended consequences of our connected lives. The article, titled “FBI Warns internet Online Attacks on Private Business Will Continue” – should be used as a wake up call on potential dangers of such devices. You can see the full article here.

As IoT devices become more relevant to our day to day lives and are utilized more in our business world, their vulnerabilities become more apparent and potential dangers loom in.

This will become a very important time for manufacturers of such devices to think about the ability to analyze warning signs of such attacks and to notify other devices of such dangers.

As we can see, we have a long way to go.

Majid Abai

November 2016

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 About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director and Chief Sherpa at Concepts Rise (www.ConceptsRise.com), a Hi-Tech selection, management, & implementation consultancy to US and international organizations. With over 30 years of experience in leading and managing technology organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on technology management and strategy. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

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Forget Big Data! Use Smart Data To Increase Profits!

With all the hype associated with Big Data, we are often asked by our small and medium size clients of whether they could take advantage of Big Data.

We respond to our clients that when it comes to data, wisdom and smart are much more important than size. What we call ‘Smart Data’ is the information that is relevant, actionable, measurable, and concise – and often resides within the company’s databases or is easily accessible from external data stores.

We help our clients identify Smart Data within their organizations and how such data could help them impact the bottom line. You can also use Smart Data for near-immediate increase in profits and performance within your organization:

  1. Customer Targeting: Use your customer and purchasing history to develop better track of your best & worst customers, and to develop better products and services that could serve your best customers.
  2. Right Hiring: For a very limited cost, you could use smart data to help you in Right Hiring – hire the right person for the right position – within your organization.
  3. Competitive Advantage: You want to get ahead of your competition? Use the data within your databases and inexpensive external data to beat your competition.
  4. Cost Reduction: Analyze data within the ERP and other practice management systems to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and recover losses that could happen within the organization.

One last note: Smart Data starts from business. We need to know what you are trying to achieve before jumping into a technology solutions.

Small Data, Big Data, and Smart Data – Take Advantage of Your Data!

In September of 2014, Mr. Abai delivered a webinar titled: “Small Data, Big Data, and Smart Data – Take Advantage of Your Data!” for Lighthouse Consulting LLC’s openline webinar program.

During this webinar, Majid spoke of importance of using data within an organization and the advantages associated with such use.

You can listen to the program here.

Big Data Poses Challenges and Oppurtunities For Retailers

Great article in eWeek about how retailers face both challenges and opportunities by utilizing Big Data. I personally rather focus on opportunities, but one can’t discard the challenges. I would love to hear your comments.

http://www.eweek.com/database/big-data-poses-challenges-opportunities-for-retailers.html

Answers to Three Big Data Question Every CEO Should Know!

There’s a great article in Forbes by David Williams dated 3/31/2014 titled: “Answers to Three Big Data Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Know”. I think it applies to CEOs and Executive of all industries. Please let me know what you think:

Answers To Three Big Data Questions Every Entrepreneur Needs To Know – Forbes

Ten Ways Companies Can Compete Using Big Data and Analytics

This morning, I read an excellent article written by Inhi Cho Suh, Vice President of Big Data, IBM – in Forbes Magazine. In a non-technical language, this article describes how companies could take advantage of Big Data and Analytics. Here is the link to the original article: Forbes Article: 5 Ways Companies Can Compete Using Big Data & Analytics

In my opinion, there should be at least 5 other ways added to this list:

1. Increase the Lifetime Value of Customer – by identifying best (and worst) customers profiles for the organization, increase targeting the best customer profiles, and fire the worst customers, and stay away from those profiles. In addition, analytics could provide new ways for increasing the length of engagement for the best customers and new ways to increase the annual revenue from each.

2. Reduce the operating costs of the company – In every business, there are ways to reduce costs and as a business grows, this waste gets bigger. Big Data and Analytics help find the areas of waste, and management would be able to reduce the risk.

3. Develop better products – Wouldn’t every company want to develop better products that are needed by their customers? What if you were able to combine the complaints, suggestions, and chatter from different internal and external resources, and prioritize the development roadmap for the product based on this information?

4. Hire employees that are more suited to your organization – Currently, there are a lot of Big Data and employee analytics companies that support hiring of the new employees and making sure that they fit the organization. I beleive that managers should look into the various products and find that suits their company. One note: These tools shouldn’t be the ONLY method for decision making, but just an additional tool for supporting this major decision.

5. Learn More About Your Competitors – Utilizing internal and external databases and sites, you can learn a lot about what your competitors are up to and define better competitive strategies to beat them.

Do you have other ideas on how Big Data and Analytics could support an organization? Please let me know!

Majid Abai