Category Archives: Analysis

Five Predictions for How Technology Will Change Sports in 2019

Might the NFL launch an esports league in 2019? (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

By , Senior Writer – SportTechie /December 28, 2018

If 2018 were the year that sports betting was legalized, major deals were reached across mobile ticketing and biometric verification, and sports streaming services launched at an unprecedented pace, threatening to dethrone cable TV, 2019 will be the year they all hit a stride.

In 2019, niche sports will continue to grow in popularity as streaming services gain steam, sports betting will become accessible at venues, biometric IDs will be used to buy beer at games, esports will create further inroads in traditional sports, and athletes will further embrace wearable technology, digital video, and virtual reality to enhance their skills and marketability.

Sports Betting at Venues

States across the U.S. are working to adopt sports betting following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in May that opened up the legalization of gambling. One thing is for certain as we head into 2019: sports betting will be more commonplace and more widely accepted.

More states will move to embrace betting while regulators start to pass laws that protect athletes, leagues, and gamblers. But another thing fans might come to expect in 2019 is access to sports betting terminals at the venues themselves. In November, MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren hinted at this possibility at a conference. Murren said that MGM, which owns the Vegas Golden Knights’ T-Mobile Arena alongside AEG, was eyeing plans to test sports betting kiosks at the venue during Knights games. Murren shortly thereafter hedged that statement, saying that it wasn’t in the cards just yet. But his intention has been set.

Elsewhere in the sports world teams and leagues will continue to work sports betting capability into new and existing apps. Interactive mobile game maker Xperiel is currently working with MGM Resorts and the New York Jets to build sports betting into the Jets’ existing in-app prediction game, “I Called It.”

“Sports gambling becomes less of a gamble,” said Xperiel cofounder and CEO Alex Hertel in a note on 2019 tech predictions. “We will see a rift between the desires of the gambler and the regulating bodies that could end up driving some sports betters away. Immersive technology that engages fans will help make them stay.”

Mobile Ticketing and Biometrics

In 2019, mobile ticketing might not just become commonplace to pass through many venue gates, but it may become required. Meanwhile fans will be increasingly incentivized to use their biometrics for verification.

In 2018, major ticketing companies, from Ticketmaster to Seatgeek, moved to couple together the primary and secondary ticketing markets to help teams maintain control over prices and attendance data. After the NFL expanded its partnership with Ticketmaster in 2017 in an attempt to control more secondary-market sales, in 2018 a number of teams started to embrace a mobile-first ticketing strategy. This will continue into the new year, but with the added integration of biometrics.

In the MLB, biometric verification company Clear (which has a presence alongside TSA Pre✓ at airports) entered into a multi-year deal this past year with the league and its ticketing partner Tickets.com to do just that. As part of the deal, Clear agreed to leverage Tickets.com’s API to enable members to link their Clear profile with their MLB.com account to gain entry into games with a fingerprint scan. In the near future, facial recognition is expected to be added as well. The partnership was piloted at select MLB ballparks this past season, with a broader roll-out planned for 2019.

Also next year, biometric verification will expand beyond the gates and into venues. Clear was approved in the state of Washington this year to use its services to verify identities of people looking to purchase beer at Seattle Seahawks, Mariners and Sounders games. The company has since been in talks with regulators in other states to expand this elsewhere in the U.S.

Streaming and Consolidation

A number of streaming services offering extensive live sports programming launched in the U.S. this year, from ESPN+ to DAZN. This has created a fragmented market for sports streaming, while enabling fans to reduce their dependence on traditional cable. In 2019, streaming brands will scoop up new digital rights at a rapid pace, spanning not only major sports but niche ones as well.

We’ve already started to see this, with NBC adding a number of niche sports (from skiing to motocross) on its paid streaming service NBC Sports Gold. ESPN+ has similarly emphasized lesser-known sporting events, while DAZN has entered the U.S. market with a focus on combat sports.

In the new year, digital rights will continue to find their way into the hands of these major players, which will help to tighten their hold on the market. This might also give some of these streaming companies the fuel to begin trouncing (and potentially even scooping up) some rivals, igniting a more mature wave of consolidation within the industry.

Wearables and Privacy

In 2018, Whoop, the wearable company that partnered with the NFL Players Association last year to track player strain and recovery, secured a $25 million Series C funding round led by UAE71 Capital with participation from the NFLPA, Kevin Durant, and former NBA Commissioner David Stern.

In 2019, wearables and RFID trackers will continue to be pushed onto athletes to meet the insatiable appetite of fans and coaches for data. But with this proliferation of wearable devices in professional sports, innovation will continue to push against privacy.

The NFL’s CBA is set to expire in 2020. The next wave of negotiations between the league and NFLPA will likely begin in 2019, bringing many of these issues to the forefront. Under the terms of the NFLPA’s deal with Whoop, NFL players maintain ownership of their health data, and are also able to commercialize that data through the NFLPA’s licensing program.

According to Sean Sansiveri, the NFLPA’s vice president of business and legal affairs, if a market for athletes’ biometric data should ever arise, the union will have an established mechanism in place to ensure that professional football players are not only protected but also well-positioned to profit off their private data if they choose to do so. The Supreme Court’s ruling on sports betting in May, and the expanding state-by-state legalization of sports betting, might well create exactly that market.

NFL Launches an Esports League

While esports and traditional sports merged at an unprecedented rate this year with the launch of the NBA 2K and investments in esports teams by sports franchises, this trend will accelerate in 2019. NASCAR has already announced that it is hopping on the esports league bandwagon heading into the new year. The NFL has been slower to adopt esports, however the league earlier this year posted a job looking for a “head of gaming and esports” that would be based in its New York headquarters and lead the “strategic planning, partner management and execution of the League’s gaming efforts.” Perhaps 2019 is the year that Madden NFL gamers can go pro.

Americans Think Apple Leads in 5G (Spoiler: It Doesn’t)

Android phone makers will have a hard time winning iPhone buyers over with their new 5G phones, according to a new survey.
 
American consumers think Apple is the leading phone vendor when it comes to 5G, by a crushing margin over Samsung. That’s a little shocking, because most observers believe Apple is going to introduce 5G phones a full year later than Android phone vendors.

The result from an exclusive PCMag survey of 2,500 US consumers shows Apple’s unstoppable brand power in the US. Even as Apple sales have cratered in China, the company’s reputation appears to be intact in its home market. Only 11 percent of iPhone owners surveyed said they would switch away from the iPhone for 5G.

Samsung is anticipated to be the first into the US market with a 5G phone when it announces the 5G version of its Galaxy S10 in late February. It got the No. 2 spot as to which company will lead in 5G in the survey. The No. 3 position went to Google, whose Pixel phones are currently exclusive to Verizon.

Apple’s anticipated delay in 5G comes from a few sources. Right now, Qualcomm has the only US-compatible 5G modem chips, and Apple is at war with Qualcomm. Apple has switched its modem provider to Intel, which has said it won’t have 5G modems before the end of the year.

But delaying on new wireless networks hasn’t hurt Apple in the past. The first iPhone was 2G in a 3G era, and Apple came to 4G two years later than many other manufacturers. Apple tends to like to wait for networks to become more fully rolled out before jumping on board, so iPhone users can have a consistent experience wherever they live.

 
 

Internet of things meets consumer packaged goods

By Josh Garrett, President, COO and Co-Founder of MOBI (at the time of his post on 06 Nov 2018)
[Josh is currently President – MMS at Tangoe]. Guest Contributor to TechTarget’s IoTAgenda.

While IoT is more popular than ever among enterprise technology teams, some industries have been slow to invest. Unlike MOBI’s consumer packaged goods (CPG) sector customers, companies without a mobility management partner are hesitant to sacrifice the large amount of time, money and labor required to deploy IoT. In fact, the CPG industry overall ranks second to last in terms of IoT spending versus total revenue. Less than three-tenths of one percent in revenue generated is invested into IoT, while globally the average industry invests more than four-tenths of one percent — or more than 25% in additional revenue than CPG.

Also, IoT endpoints have historically been used by retailers to better collect, analyze and interpret consumer behavior to improve the customer experience. Unlike retail, inexperienced CPG mobility programs are more likely to rely upon in-store audits and partner-shared insights to understand consumer behavior instead — making IoT feel more like a luxury than an absolute necessity where gaining market insight is concerned.

However, things are starting to change. CPG companies are uncovering new, valuable uses for today’s IoT technologies that weren’t possible a few years ago. Here are eight examples that show how IoT is benefitting businesses in this sector:

1. More personalization
IoT offers CPG companies tremendous advantages and new product personalization options. By creating new channels to collect and understand market data more deeply, industry players can use these technologies to increase customer interaction, satisfaction and loyalty with specially designed offerings.

Some organizations are even combining offline tactics with IoT to better enable customers and increase sales. Advanced systems can detect when someone is browsing an out-of-stock product online and automatically offer directions to a nearby store that has the item in stock along with a discount coupon to make up for any inconvenience.

2. Less delay
Sensors and other mobile endpoints can help CPG eliminate traditional manufacturing and supply chain gaps. Relevant stakeholders can now be alerted immediately if anything goes wrong with real-time data streams and statuses attached to individual product shipments.

Predictive maintenance tasks fueled by IoT systems also greatly reduce the likelihood of unplanned network errors and accelerate company response times should an issue arise.

3. Better collaboration
IoT fuels stronger, more meaningful CPG relationships with retailers by creating a chance to collaborate and co-invest in tech-driven initiatives. In doing so, both parties aim to eliminate out-of-stock scenarios and improve product availability, leading to long-term strategies and success.

4. Enhanced insights
An influx of new consumer data enables the CPG industry to identify behaviors, patterns and trends that companies couldn’t reveal otherwise. That means smarter spending and product development decisions that align with market demands.

Organizations with a digital sales presence will even be able to use IoT to suggest products, offer discounts and push notifications to online shoppers as they browse offerings, increasing the potential for add-on sales and enhancing the customer experience.

5. Real-time tracking
Moving and transporting goods also becomes more accurate and aware with IoT’s integration. Advanced sensors can help CPG enterprises monitor real-time fluctuations in temperature, product status and so forth to optimize operational processes and potentially create more effective, efficient workflows.

6. Smarter stocking
Smart shelves and inventory stocking systems use IoT to make continuous product updates that alert CPG organizations when item levels are low. This not only gives retailers the ability to avoid empty shelves and dissatisfied customers, but also helps CPG companies replenish products before a competitor has an opportunity to replace it.

7. AI-driven assistance
When combined with artificial intelligence, IoT systems give CPG enterprises the ability to scan products and streamline inventory management tasks. These enhanced technologies can even automatically recommend products to digital consumers in a way that maximizes sales and the impact of special promotions.

8. Global security
Through RFID and a GPS, IoT makes it possible to track products at more in-depth levels than ever before. CPG companies that use these systems ensure accurate and timely deliveries while simultaneously minimizing theft and loss incidents.

If these benefits sound too good to pass up, an IoT initiative may be in your organization’s not-too-distant future. If you’re considering an advanced device deployment for the first time, however, keep these three things in mind:

1. Employees
While there are impressive IoT technologies capable of vast functionality, ultimately the success of any enterprise deployment depends on the digital maturity of the people interacting with it. Even the most advanced systems fail if workers can’t figure out how to use them or aren’t willing to try.

Since IoT is expected to impact consumer behavior, employee productivity and HR management, CPG companies need to formulate strategies and carefully implement these new devices.

2. Alignment
Enterprise workflows will also be impacted by IoT’s workload. Some processes will need to be redesigned or combined with others to make these advanced technologies perform to a level that satisfies business needs.

Data that’s collected and processed by connected IoT endpoints empowers decision-makers and supply chain leaders with information to satisfy customers and strategically grow revenue.

3. Data
The speed and fluctuating types of data generated by IoT systems can be challenging for CPG organizations to manage and secure. Unless a business is willing to invest in internal data storage systems, be sure to research innovations like hype data technology, additional security layers and data storage facilities to have a plan in place before deployment starts.

As mobile technology grows more advanced and integrated within the CPG sector, IoT will help these companies drive innovation and productivity. While the business benefits can be tremendous, it takes careful planning and a strategic approach to make these initiatives impactful.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

 

How to use AI in your business in 2019 — AI sweet spots

Step one in figuring out how to use AI in your business is to know what AI can and can’t do today. David Petersson lays out 2019’s AI sweet spots for enterprise decision-makers.

By David Petersson, Freelance Writer for TechTarget – Last published in January 2019

As we begin 2019, AI technologies are attaching themselves to more and more aspects of our lives. If you doubt this, just ask Alexa. The symbiosis makes sense. The tons of data we and our man-made machines generate today have proved to be a wonderful training tool, turning a class of technology we don’t understand all that well into crackerjack pattern-detecting systems. Today, AI can:

  • Recognize faces
  • Recognize objects
  • Recognize malicious behaviors
  • Recognize language patterns and be used in translation
  • Manipulate images

In the future, AI technologies will do many more deeds — good and bad — previously done by humans.

Still, for CIOs and business leaders immersed in how to use AI in your business, it is crucial to understand what AI can do and what it can’t. A lack of understanding will result in unrealistic expectations, wasted time and budget on ill-conceived goals, and missed opportunities to automate tasks that otherwise would require an enormous human workforce.

This column explores how to use AI in your business by reviewing areas where AI can help companies operate more efficiently and effectively; the analysis is supplemented with some examples of AI software targeted to solve or improve specific enterprise pain points.

AI in your business: Statistics

Machine learning grew out from big data and quickly carved out a role in analytics. We used classifying algorithms to, for instance, separate spam messages from legitimate ones. We did this by converting the words to numbers the computer could understand, and then measured which types of words were most relevant to spams and which ones appeared mostly in innocent messages. These classifying algorithms evolved into being able to classify people based on their choices and what they liked, a skill put to use in the infamous Cambridge Analytica case.

Soon, this data could be used also for “predictions,” i.e., once you have classified people into certain groups, you could also take action based on those classifications. For instance, CrystalKnows uses AI to classify people into 64 different personalities and then uses that data to assist marketers and sales people to better craft their messages to their leads.

But now, we have AI that helps us to understand statistics, turning numbers into narratives that non-data scientists can grasp, or that can highlight important information that should be given. For example:

  • Automated Insights Inc., founded by former Cisco engineer Robbie Allen, uses a process called natural language generation to turn big data and charts into human-sounding narratives, making them much easier and faster to comprehend. Gartner predicts that “by 2020, natural language generation and artificial intelligence will become a standard feature of 90% of modern BI and analytics platforms.”
  • Salesforce uses its Einstein AI technology, to surface actionable data to sales reps, allowing them to focus on the leads that have a higher chance of converting.
  • The Boston startup Laudio uses AI to analyze multiple data sources to improve staff retention; it can detect when a member should be praised for a job well done or when they need support.
AI in your business: Conversation

Remember the chatbot bubble? Chatbots were supposed to replace apps and human agents to a large degree, but many of them failed as they were not smart enough. The problem in any AI learning is that the system does not really know what it is dealing with. An AI bot can identify cats, yet it does not know what a cat is, or what an animal is in general. AI’s comprehension is very limited and “narrow,” while for full understanding, we would need “general AI.”

The right way to implement AI is to first drill down to the core use case you are wanting to optimize. [The wrong way to approach AI] is to think it will magically fix your organization. In fact, AI-enabling technologies shine a spotlight on inefficient processes and systems.

Anthony Macciola CIO, Abbyy

Initially, to let AI engage in a meaningful way in any conversation, the system would watch for specific keywords. Of course, this system is very limited due to the many ways we humans tend to express ourselves, and it is very difficult to predict all variations. In those instances, the system either has to throw an exception or refer to a human operator.

Still, this does not prevent AI from becoming an expert in its own specialized fields.

Unbabel, a Lisbon-headquartered startup, developed AI technology to remove the language barrier. Using Unbabel, companies have managed to serve clients all over the world in 28 different languages — in one instance, 15 staff members could take on tasks that would normally require hundreds of staff members.

So, even if AI still can’t completely replace human workers, its sweet spot lies in augmenting them. According to Kaitlyn Lloyd from Automated Insights, “The best way to implement a valuable AI strategy is in close partnership with humans, with the AI serving as augmentation to human intelligence.”

Lloyd’s argument for how to use AI in your business is that humans have the ability to relate on a personal level; we have strong emotional intelligence and communication skills. Artificial intelligence, without human teaching, can’t learn these soft skills — at least for now.

Use AI in your business for mundane tasks

It’s 2019 and we still don’t have autonomous AI-driven vehicles. The ones that are operating continue to be subject to errors and fatal incidents. It has become evident that relying solely on AI is not a short-term answer for self-driving cars, and companies have moved to using LiDAR or inter-vehicle communication systems to cope with the shortcomings. Billions of dollars have been devoted to this industry, which faces many bumps in the road ahead.

Thus, when you set off for investing in AI for your business, it is imperative to have a correct AI strategy. As Anthony Macciola, CIO at the text scanning and optical character recognition software company Abbyy, put it: “The right way to implement AI is to first drill down to the core use case you are wanting to optimize.”

The wrong way to approach AI? “It is to think it will magically fix your organization. In fact, AI-enabling technologies shine a spotlight on inefficient processes and systems,” Maccioloa said.

In other words, in plotting how to use AI in your business, it is best to start from the mundane tasks and inefficiencies you face and build up from there.

AI takes A/B testing to new level

As mentioned earlier, AI has the capability to automate many of your tasks. Ascend, software from Sentient Technologies, is a good example of how to use AI designed to address a specific pain point. Remember A/B testing? The logic there is to test two versions of your website (or email) and see which one works better, so eventually you can keep the one that’s performing better.

Ascend uses AI to take A/B testing to a new level, letting the system try many different combinations automatically over time and gradually find the best combination. It uses a technique called “adaptive evolutionary optimization,” which is based on Bayesian and traditional statistical techniques to predict the performance of the winning versions.

As seen from the previous example, not only addressing the correct pain point is vital for a successful AI strategy, but so is the type of AI approach taken by your provider.

Consider the approach taken by Endor, which sells predicative analytics software co-developed at the MIT Media Lab by co-founders Alex Pentland, the Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, and Yaniv Altshuler, a former MIT postdoc. The company’s aim is to predict customer behavior, but in order to build its AI, Endor uses the Social Physics theory: the science for understanding human crowd behavior based on big data. This way, the company not only knows what data to train the machine learning algorithm on, but also what parts of that data is most important and how it should be used.

AI takeaway

And finally, as you build a strategy for how to use AI in your business, keep expectations realistic. Abbyy’s Macciola pointed to the mistaken notion some have that AI will completely replace knowledge workers. Echoing Lloyd’s argument that people have emotional intelligence that today is lacking in machines, he also underscored the fact that people have more advanced training and understand the company’s core values in conjunction to the technology processes better than machines at this point. “The skilled worker will always be vital to the success of the company,” he said.

AI is awesome. It’s doing things that previously would need plenty of man-hours and extra costs, and because it can automate so many things at a fraction of the costs, it is opening new opportunities for innovation and creativity.

But AI has its limits. We are still far from artificial superintelligence and, in many cases, AI still needs human assistance. It’s safe to say that AI’s sweet spot is in taking on the repetitive, mundane parts of your business and incenting humans to focus on what only they can do (for now): Be creative.

Disrupting the Outsourcing Model

Steve Maylish and Shannon White, Fusion Biotec – 01.31.19
Contributors to MPO Columns

The rise and relative success of companies dealing in cloud-based systems has revolutionized how we handle data. This is prompting a shift away from traditional software, hardware, and legacy systems, and enabling companies in new and unexpected ways. As cloud-based data systems rise to meet the needs of the modern world, will legacy systems eventually become obsolete? How will this change outsourcing?

In last June’s MPO 15-year anniversary issue, we looked at medical device outsourcing changes over the last 15 years. The industry changes cited were mostly based on OEM attitudes, improved quality and standards, increased competencies, and a growing willingness to outsource. Now we are in the midst of a new paradigm shift. Examples of this are everywhere: Netflix versus Blockbuster, Amazon versus retail, AirBnB versus hotels, and Uber versus taxis—just to name a few. Since the advent of cloud computing, disruption has accelerated. As traditional business models change, will medical device outsourcing experience disruption?

There are great advantages and disadvantages associated with cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS)—some of them more real than others. SaaS delivered via the cloud often doesn’t require users to load, maintain, update, migrate, partition, archive, audit, backup, or license software. It often costs less, reduces the need for IT services and hardware, and is easier to use. But what about the downside? Security, always-on availability, performance at scale, enterprise compliance, and data integrity are important for cloud services. These features are essential for the cloud business model.

First let me share a success story: Salesforce, which launched in 1999. It initially offered a simple, low-cost, cloud-based system to service small and medium-sized companies, but now have disrupted the customer relationship management (CRM) industry. Eventually, Saleforce’s CRM software outsold IBM, Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft. By building a cloud-based system and offering SaaS, users can collect, categorize, analyze, and distribute information on product sales, customer purchases, and sales staff performance. The information can be shared across sales departments, supply chain, management, and executive teams. It can be used on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. Cloud computing provides shared infrastructure and instant scalability. Salesforce provides continuous improvement for their services.

According to “disruptive innovation” theorist Clayton Christensen, “Disruption describes a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses.” This is certainly true of companies like Netflix or Uber. In fact, a number of industries have been disrupted by SaaS and cloud computing: HR services, payroll services, booking systems, project management, IT, accounting, CRM, software, and eventually medical product outsourcing.

For a healthcare provider like Kaiser Permanente, big data can be complicated and an impediment to change. Sam Gambarin, director of the Cloud Services group at Kaiser Permanente, said, “We wanted to provide our [software] developers with a standardized central platform and shorter time to market. Also, we wanted to optimize our existing systems of records.” To achieve this, Kaiser uses a hybrid cloud solution: an internal data center and external cloud provider with IBM Cloud, plus multiple SaaS providers.

Providence St. Joseph’s Health system uses the cloud-based electronic health record from Epic because its interoperability enables them to practice better medicine, receive appropriate reimbursements, and improve patient experience. For decades, there were failed startups in the healthcare interoperability space. Migrating electronic medical record management to the cloud now provides a viable solution.

While cloud migration is happening at large healthcare providers, disruption is more likely to come from startup companies like Bright Health, Devoted Health, Clover Health, and Oscar Health—Alphabet’s $1B+ investment. These “payvidors” offer patient-centric care designed to support and monitor patients by using data science to cut costs and promote preventative care. Some work with prescription services. Others use genomic data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to promote health. Some offer in-home primary care programs and house calls.

On the medical product outsourcing side, consider contract engineering. Before the cloud, engineers and hobbyists with small budgets couldn’t afford most professional engineering design software like SolidWorks or Cadence. Now, a number of SaaS companies like Onshape or CircuitMaker offer inexpensive or free software that allows designers to share their work and build on others’ work, decreasing time and reducing risk. The continuously growing database eliminates the need for footprint design for common parts. This open-source approach has helped the maker community flourish in recent years, building on the efforts of companies like Raspberry Pi and Arduino to make powerful hardware building blocks widely available.

For mechanical design, Onshape is a SaaS model created by former designers of Solidworks, a legacy software package. Unlike Solidworks though, Onshape updates itself silently every two weeks and is billed per engineer at a low monthly fee. It holds major advantages over its predecessor with its ability to be used in real time by an entire design team located anywhere with a network connection. Import and export capability allows Onshape to ease the transition from legacy systems.

Disruption will happen in the industry as free, open-source development software is introduced to hobbyists and later works its way through commercial businesses. With cloud and SaaS, multiple people can view a file at once, reducing the amount of time spent on editing. Users can share the document with a large number of people through their browsers, inviting them to view and edit the document in real-time. Furthermore, any edits to the documents are saved automatically as the author types, which prevents accidental loss of data.

Concerns about data integrity during the switch to cloud-based systems are natural and bound to arise. Questions regarding security, accessibility, and cost are among the most asked. Data safety is one of the most prevalent concerns and why most cloud service providers make security their top priority. Cloud infrastructure is constantly monitored, while controlled access to data and frequent auditing reduce the risk of human error and flaws in security protocols.

One company facilitating migration to the cloud is Corent, whose SurPaaS platform analyzes and migrates software applications to the cloud and can even rapidly transform the software application to a SaaS model. Scott Chate, vice president partner and market development at Corent Technology, predicts, “The ongoing global transition to the cloud-based SaaS model is going to affect every industry.”

In a few respects, however, cloud fails to meet the precedent set by its legacy predecessors. Cloud software is often not as refined as older legacy software. Due to this, experienced legacy users often balk at using the new software. Furthermore, cloud systems are often heavily dependent on network reliability and bandwidth. Any outage can leave companies stranded without access to data. Most drawbacks to cloud programs, however, are mitigated by their higher processing power (provided from running on a server) and ability to efficiently update.

It was easier for our company to start in the cloud and incorporate SaaS into the business model. The cloud offers us many advantages. We can securely work from anywhere, using any computer or mobile device. We can leverage previous design work. Reliability is extremely high because cloud providers can invest in infrastructure. Data is stored in a centralized facility with stronger security measures than we could provide on our own, and files can be downloaded when needed. It’s simple to add, remove, or change software and users. Total cost is lower because we require less physical infrastructure and support staff. Our customers’ experiences have changed the way we connect and collaborate, how we do business and, by default, how we innovate. Ultimately, we are more efficient.

Engineering service providers launching new companies today can begin in the cloud, requiring less physical infrastructure and support staff. However, the industry is just beginning to shift from legacy software to SaaS, which won’t be easy for established medical device companies. Eventually, it will transform contract engineering and contract manufacturing services as they migrate to smart manufacturing. Cloud computing is so disruptive because it pressures entrenched firms to modify their business model, often involving changes to business strategy, revenue models, sales channels, and technology.

Jeff Hawkins, president and CEO of Truvian Sciences, reveals, “When Truvian decided to leverage engineering partnerships, we didn’t want to outsource in a classic sense but rather find partners that could operate as an extension of our team. In order for that to be successful, you need a partner with the right company culture and the right tools to facilitate real time collaboration, regardless of where the teams are physically located. New technologies are allowing us to collaborate digitally with our partners on everything from engineering designs using Onshape, to project planning using Smartsheets and general project file sharing using tools like DropBox or Box. These tools make it possible for anyone without training to participate in the process from any location with the [use] of software viewers.”

Technology is evolving faster than ever and business models are changing. The cloud is more secure, cost-effective, and accessible than alternatives, and it’s getting more powerful every year. There are now millions of students using the cloud exclusively. This upcoming generation lives without many past computer constraints.

Like the education system and numerous other industries, the cloud is beginning to disrupt medical device outsourcing. Entrenched companies with legacy systems currently have the high ground, but the cloud is changing everything. With today’s services, remote teams can connect instantly. Cloud services allow for SaaS usability without downloads or installs. Cloud providers make instant scalability possible. Cloud computing and SaaS provide hosting, backup, and security running on various operating systems and mobile apps. If you’ve ever been frustrated with IT requests, firewalls, or internet controls, there’s good news—a solution is on its way!


Steve Maylish has been part of the medical device community for more than 30 years. He is currently chief commercial officer for Fusion Biotec, an Orange, Calif.-based contract engineering firm that brings together art, science, and engineering to create medical devices. Early in his career, Maylish held positions at Fortune 100 corporations such as Johnson & Johnson, Shiley, Sorin Group, Baxter Healthcare, and Edwards Lifesciences.

Shannon White is an engineering student, SaaS user, and intern at Fusion Biotec.

Sprint Sues AT&T Over ‘5G E’ Branding

Dan Jones
News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor – For Light Reading

2/8/2019

Sprint is suing AT&T and claiming that the labeling of its 4G-Advanced services as “5G E” on many 4G smartphones is “deceptive.”

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) filed a complaint against AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) Thursday evening with the New York State Southern District court accusing AT&T of “deceptive advertising” over the “5G Evolution” service.

“AT&T has employed numerous deceptive tactics to mislead consumers into believing that it currently offers a coveted and highly anticipated fifth-generation wireless network, known as 5G,” Sprint said in the complaint. “What AT&T touts as 5G, however, is nothing more than an enhanced fourth-generation Long Term Evolution wireless service, known as 4G LTE Advanced, which is offered by all other major wireless carriers.”

The crux of the issue, Sprint notes, is that AT&T used a “software update to change the screens of mobile phones and tablets operating on the AT&T 4G LTE Advanced network to indicate falsely that these devices are connected to a 5G network.”

AT&T offers a number of modern Apple and Samsung smartphones that display the “5G E” branding on screen when using LTE-A connections.

AT&T’s CEO responded on CNBC’s Squawk Box show Friday that the AT&T offering is evolutionary but not deceptive. “We’re being very clear with our customers that this is an evolutionary step.” Randall Stephenson said. (AT&T executives have also previously defended the marketing, see AT&T’s Donovan Defends the Carrier’s 5G Fibs.)

Rival carriers have also widely panned AT&T’s move. (See Verizon, AT&T Spar Over 5G Service Names, Marketing.)

The kerfuffle over the “5G E” branding initially started in the press back in January. AT&T, however, started updating a planned 400 4G markets as with LTE Advanced upgrades, such as updated antenna arrays back in April 2018. (See AT&T Rolls Out Faux 5G in 100+ US Markets.)

Sprint is seeking to block AT&T from using “5G E” or other related terms with this complaint.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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