En The App Date – Casa conectada

The App Date - Casa Conectada
(Fuente de la imagen: TheAppDate Madrid)

Hace un par de semanas, desde LifeSTech, tuvimos la oportunidad de participar en el evento de The App Date “la casa conectada” presentado alguno de los trabajos que hemos hecho relacionados con el tema.

Aqui un video resumen del evento:


Y aqui el video completo (nuestra parte empieza en el minuto 44).

Además la noticia ha salido en varios medios de comunicación:
ABC, El País, Al Momento 360, Efe Emprende, Qué! y la web de la ETSIT.

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The digital economy

Interesting article in The Economist about how innovation and technological progress transform the job demand, “Coming to an office near you“. It argues that innovation and progress lead to a deep transformation of the job market. People should move on and adapt themselves to the new world (which is not always so easy)

INNOVATION, the elixir of progress, has always cost people their jobs. In the Industrial Revolution artisan weavers were swept aside by the mechanical loom. Over the past 30 years the digital revolution has displaced many of the mid-skill jobs that underpinned 20th-century middle-class life. Typists, ticket agents, bank tellers and many production-line jobs have been dispensed with, just as the weavers were.

Even worse, this transformations bring inequalities that governments should fix and transform the education system seems to be the right thing to do (Of course, this a long term strategy).

Anger about rising inequality is bound to grow, but politicians will find it hard to address the problem. Shunning progress would be as futile now as the Luddites’ protests against mechanised looms were in the 1810s, because any country that tried to stop would be left behind by competitors eager to embrace new technolog. […] The main way in which governments can help their people through this dislocation is through education systems. One of the reasons for the improvement in workers’ fortunes in the latter part of the Industrial Revolution was because schools were built to educate them—a dramatic change at the time. Now those schools themselves need to be changed, to foster the creativity that humans will need to set them apart from computers. There should be less rote-learning and more critical thinking. Technology itself will help, whether through MOOCs (massive open online courses) or even video games that simulate the skills needed for work. […] Yet however well people are taught, their abilities will remain unequal, and in a world which is increasingly polarised economically, many will find their job prospects dimmed and wages squeezed. The best way of helping them is not, as many on the left seem to think, to push up minimum wages. Jacking up the floor too far would accelerate the shift from human workers to computers. Better to top up low wages with public money so that anyone who works has a reasonable income, through a bold expansion of the tax credits that countries such as America and Britain use.

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Reverse innovation in mHealth. Innovating in emerging countries to impact in the global market.

Recently, doctors in Austria implanted into a patient the first pacemaker which does not require surgery. Medtronic says it is the smallest pacemaker in the world. The device is 24 millimeters long and 0.75 cubic centimeters in volume—a tenth the size of a conventional pacemaker. Earlier this year, another device manufacturer, St. Jude Medical, bought a startup called Nanostim that makes another tiny pacemaker, and St. Jude is offering it to patients in Europe. This device is 41 millimeters long and one cubic centimeter in volume. The main advantage of the reduced dimesions of this pacemaker is that doctors can implant it into the heart through blood vessels, via an incision in the thigh. They use steerable, flexible tubes called catheters to push the pacemakers through a large vein.

Moreover the novel features of this pacemaker extend beyond its innovative implantation. The mini-pacemaker’s telemetry might facilitate a development in the future that would allow healthcare professionals to control the device and monitor patients using a standard programmer via smartphones, thereby providing individual treatment to patients in the most rural of areas. –

Why did Medtronic start working on this?. This post at the Harvard Business Review addresses the topic very well. It explains how Medtronic started working on this tiny pacemaker to fit the requirements of emerging markets such as India. Eventually, they come up with an innovative product for the global market.

Sixty-nine percent of deaths in the developing world are due to chronic disease, yet only 2.3% of international aid is allocated to chronic disease. In the United States, hospitalization of chronic disease patients accounts for the majority of health care costs. But innovation in managing chronic disease is happening faster in emerging markets such as India as a result of the scarcity of physicians.

At this point, few specialists are actually trained to monitor this device, or other Medtronic devices. In addition, the fragmentation of India’s healthcare system means that clinical outcomes aren’t monitored and evaluated in a standardized way. This increases the potential for device failure, and personal-injury lawsuits — a serious concern for Medtronic in a market with millions of customers. Medtronic recently paid $268 million to settle cases stemming from fracture-prone cables used to connect hearts to defibrillators, which earlier recalls could have avoided.

But Medtronic anticipated these institutional voids in the healthcare regulatory system. To preempt poor clinical-outcome monitoring, Medtronic placed passive remote sensors in the stent and pacemaker that transmit signals via any mobile handset to a cloud computing infrastructure — “patient care in the cloud.” The technology is being adapted for remote monitoring and adjustment of other products, including neuromodulators for Parkinson’s patients, and glucose modules.

At this point, few specialists are actually trained to monitor this device, or other Medtronic devices. In addition, the fragmentation of India’s healthcare system means that clinical outcomes aren’t monitored and evaluated in a standardized way. This increases the potential for device failure, and personal-injury lawsuits — a serious concern for Medtronic in a market with millions of customers. Medtronic recently paid $268 million to settle cases stemming from fracture-prone cables used to connect hearts to defibrillators, which earlier recalls could have avoided.

Actually, this process is known from some time ago as reverse innovation :

The process of reverse innovation begins by focusing on needs and requirements for low-cost products in countries like India and China. Once products are developed for these markets, they are then sold elsewhere – even in the West – at low prices which creates new markets and uses for these innovations.

We can see it as another consequence of globalization, medical device innovators have been embracing the notion of making products simpler, stripping out costs to make devices affordable for those who have very little income, and adapting devices to make them invaluable for healthcare professionals who don’t have the state-of-the-art facilities of a Western hospital. For sure, we will continue to see this process in the coming years.

Stephen Oesterle, Medtronic’s Vice President for Medicine and Technology, announced the development of the mini-pacemaker at the 2010 TEDMED

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#brainmonth hangout

#brainmonth hangout poster
The EC has promoted May 2013 as the European Month of the Brain “a full month packed with events and activities to make decision-makers, stakeholders, the media and the public aware of the successes achieved and the challenges still laying ahead for brain research.”

Personally, I had the opportunity to attend the European Brain Research conference in Brussels a few weeks ago. It was a great opportunity to listen relevant scientics, researchers, policymaker and companies discussing about the future and next challengues of the brain research.

To wrap up the #brainmonth a Google Hangout was hold yesterday and I was kindly asked to participate on it (thank again to EC for the invitation).

And here is the video of the hangout:

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The Mesh Of Civilizations

The Mesh Of Civilizations

Bogdan State is PhD candidate at Stanford University, in collaboration with other colleagues from Cornell University, Qatar Computing Research Institute and the Yahoo! Labs Barcelona is a research lab have recently published this work where they try to prove the The Clash of Civilizations theory proposed by Samuel P. Huntington in a 1992.

According to this theory:

the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future

Within this work,

Rather than examining the relations among states, we take a bottom-up view by examining the flows of email between countries, to map global patterns of cross-national integration and divi-sion based on the structure of interpersonal social ties among the populations of the world’s countries.

The figure of this post shows the outcome of the State’s research work. It shows the relationships between the countries according to the emails exchanged between them. The color of the node shows the civilization label according to Huntington’s thesis. The red arrow points out the Spain node which acts as bridge between the Western and the Latin America cluster.

As the authors argues in the discussion section one limitation is related to the fact that they investigated a communication network (there is no necessary “clash” between countries that do not communicate, and Huntington’s thesis was concerned primarily with ethnic conflict). There are also important effects associated with common language, previous colonial relationships, as well as with Hofstede’s uncertainty avoidance (UAI) measure.

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Mobile World in 2013

A few months ago I through that Android and iOS would drive the mobile world in the next years. However 2013 is bringing fresh air in the field. New alternatives, specially those based on Linux are trying to find their place in this, still, emerging market. First of all, let’s see the status of the mobile world. According to a recent study from Ericsson, (PDF) the global mobile penetration reached 89% in Q4 2012 and mobile subscriptions now total around 6.3 billion. However, the actual number of subscribers is around 4.4 billion, since many people have several subscriptions.

Mobile penetration percentage Q4 2012

The Africa mobile penetration rate (# of subscriptions divided by population size) stands at 67%, which is still the lowest of all global regions (as defined in the report). Ericsson does note the differences between subscription and subscriber, since subscriptions are often shared in developing regions.

Some remarkable facts:

– China alone accounted for ~22 percent of net additions, adding around 30 million subscriptions.
– India (+11 million), Bangladesh (+9 million), Indonesia (+8 million), and Nigeria (+5 million) follow in terms of net additions.
– Mobile subscriptions have grown around nine percent year-on-year and two percent quarter-on-quarter.
– In Q4, mobile broadband subscriptions1 grew ~125 million to 1.5 billion, reflecting a 50 percent year-on-year increase.
– There is continued strong momentum for smartphone uptake in all regions. Approximately 40 percent of all mobile phones sold during
2012 were smartphones, compared to around 30 percent for the full year 2011. Only around 15-20 percent of the worldwide installed base of
mobile phone subscriptions uses smartphones, which means that there is considerable room for further uptake.
– GSM/GPRS/EDGE subscriptions grew ~44 million and WCDMA/HSPA grew ~70 million. Together these technologies represent ~80 percent of total
net additions. LTE subscriptions grew from 14 million to 57 million.

Ericsson (PDF)

Mobile subscriptions by technology and region 2012

Source: Mobile subscriptions by technology and region 2012 Graph from the Ericsson Mobility Report November 2012

If we talk about smartphones, according to IDC, a research firm, more than 90% of the 228m smartphones shipped in the last quarter of 2012 belonged to both Android or Apple. Android is the bigger beast. Its share has grown as the smartphone market has boomed, to about 70%. The new candidates threaten the status-quo are: firstly the Linux-based OS, Samsung with Tizen, Mozilla Foundation with Firefox OS and Canonical with Ubuntu and on the other hand we have Windows Phone 8 and Blackberry.


Apple and iPhone. Created under the Keep things simple style of Apple. The iPhone was the first actual smartphone. Furthermore, Apple created the first successful marketplace for apps which was the real revolution in the mobile world. It’s a closed ecosystem: robust technology based on a centralized release of hardware and software. Most of the apps available in the market are asked to accomplish a good quality standard. Apple presents an integrated view of iOS 6, iCould, and MacOS working together to create value for users.

Apple tries to deliver exhaustive tested hardware and software and there are only a few examples of big failures, the iPhone 4 problems with the antenna and the recent more serious strategic error with the new maps.

Android. Apparently it follows the opposite approach of iOS releasing the OS as open source software. Nevertheless, Google has a huge control over the ecosystem. It sets up the development schedule and the OS releases. It owns the Android trademarks and logo. Likely this is one of the main reasons that is pushing other stakeholders to work in new alternatives. Also, there are pararel projects based on the Android code, the most well-known is CyanogenMod. CyanogenMod is an open source replacement firmware for smart phones and tablet computers based on the Android mobile operating system. It offers features and options not found in the official firmware distributed by vendors of these devices.

Anyway, Android is doing a great job. The last version of Android, the Ice Cream Sandwich version, offers a great user experience and the Google Play has reached the 700,000 apps recently.

Nevertheless, Android is still facing two major issues. The first one is that Google does not present the user with a unified view of the value offered by its mobile devices and cloud services (the “Android ecosystem”). Each product seems to be fighting its own war. The other one is the fragmentation both in terms of devices and in the current versions supported.

Windows Phone 8. In October Microsoft, which has never had more than a minuscule share of the phone business, brought forth Windows Phone 8. Most Windows smartphones are made by Finland’s Nokia, which dropped its own plans for a new system when it threw in its lot with the American software giant. Bill Gates stated last week that “There’s a lot of things like cell phones where we didn’t get out in the lead very early,” he said. “We didn’t miss cell phones, but the way that we went about it didn’t allow us to get the leadership. So it’s clearly a mistake.”

From my point of view. Windows Phone 8 is good product with the advantage of familiarity. Microsoft hopes that Windows’ dominance of personal computers can be transferred to mobiles. With that in mind, all new Windows devices, on desks, on laps or in hands, have the same look, with “tiles” for touching, not clicking.

Blackberry. They are losing the battle of the general public but it is still very appreciated within the companies’ information-technology departments. Blackberry is trusted specially because of the security issues. 80m people use BlackBerrys.

Tizen. Tizen is an open source effort led by Samsung and Intel, hosted by the Linux Foundation, that will support multiple device categories: smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, netbooks, and in-vehicle infotainment devices. It will be based on HTML5 and other upcoming web standards, which is one of the main reasons why MeeGo had to be replaced. Apparently they are targeting cheaper smartphones for Tizen in order to deal with this emerging market.

Ubuntu. Canonical announced some days ago the new Ubuntu mobile. The most interesting features of Ubuntu is the seamless integration of the different environments: desktop, tablet and mobile.

Firefox OS . Firefox OS is a new mobile operating system developed by Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko (B2G) project. It uses a Linux kernel and boots into a Gecko-based runtime engine, which lets users run applications developed entirely using HTML, JavaScript, and other open web application APIs. It is backed by some of the biggest names in the industry: Telefonica, Mozilla Foundation, SingTel, DT…

About the app ecosystem. Firefox will run apps built in HTML5 and use JavaScript to communicate with the hardware; Ubuntu will have its native applications built in Qt, but HTML5 apps will also have the ability to access the system’s features and be treated as a first-class application; and Tizen is also targeting developers that are familiar with a HTML5 toolkit. This technique of targeting web developers is currently being tested in the field with BlackBerry 10, and in the next few months, we will be able to see if targeting a large developer base works and if web developers can make the change in domain to mobile a successful one.

Still a lot to do
One reason for the challengers’ optimism is that a lot of ground is unoccupied. Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture-capital firm in Silicon Valley, estimates that late last year smartphones accounted for only 17% of the world’s mobile subscriptions. In big emerging economies such as India, Indonesia and Russia the share is less than 10%. Even rich countries are not saturated (see chart). Brazil, Mexico, Poland and Spain are among the early targets for Mozilla and its partners. There’s a huge market in developing countries for cheaper smart phones. And also a huge market in the developed countries for new smartphones.

Smartphone subscriptions 2012
Source: The Economist

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Geopps App

Geopps App Logo

A Christmas time project:

Geopps is a geo-alert service based on OpenStreetMap for Android. Define the places where you want to be alerted and switch the alert on. An alarm will be raised when you reach the target area.

Get it on Google Play

Geopps es un servicio de geo-alarmas basado en OpenStreetMap para Android. Solo tienes que definir los lugares en los que quieres ser avisado y activar la alerta. Una alarma te avisará de que has llegado al lugar deseado.

Get it on Google Play

Geopps App screen Geopps App screen 2 Geopps App screen

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Lo que nos deja 2012

Feliz 2013

Listas, resúmenes, lo mejor y lo peor de 2012.

– El 2012 visto por Google: Zeitgeist 2012: Year In Review. Sin lugar a dudas Google y Youtube se han convertido en dos de las herramientas más utilizadas para estar al día y entender todo lo que sucede a nuestro alrededor. La huella es clara y la respuesta a la pregunta ¿Qué buscamos este año? resume muy bien muchos de los acontecimientos más destacados de este año.

– 2012 ha sido sin lugar a dudas un año intenso en lo político, económico y social. Especialmente en España. Aqui tenemos un resumen de España en 12 gráficos.

– Estas son las mejores fotos del 2012 de la revista National Geographic

Los 10 errores tecnológicos del año 2012. Desde el punto de vista del sector tecnológico, este año 2012 hemos asistido al lanzamiento de Windows 8, el iPad Mini o la presentación del Project Glass de Google, tres momentos destacados entre otros muchos que han hecho que este año 2012 haya sido tan interesante. Sin embargo, además de sus luces, este año que terminamos también ha tenido sus sombras materializadas en malas decisiones, errores y fiascos. Personalmente destacaría: Los mapas de Apple, El nuevo canon digital de España y SOPA.

Más de 150 mensajes para felicitar el Año Nuevo 2013 con humor

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