Brazil’s economy is growing fast, with 40 million people making the transition to the new middle class in the last ten years. But while there is visible wealth in certain areas of big cities like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro there is still huge poverty, both urban and rural. Against this backdrop, communications services are being deployed to change the lives of millions of people.
The most important function of ICT for Japan in the future is its role in addressing social needs, according to Charley K. Watanabe, deputy director-general of the Information and Communications Bureau at Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC). Watanabe, who was speaking at Ericsson’s Business Innovation Forum in Tokyo, pointed towards the requirements of Japan’s ageing population as well as the need to manage key resources with greater efficiency as two areas where ICT could be used to drive social improvements.
Satellite operator Inmarsat on Tuesday announced a partnership with Cisco to provide connectivity for a mobile telemedicine system operating in the world’s most remote and underserved communities.
Twenty years ago the Brazilian Government decreed that health services should be available to all of the country’s inhabitants. In Southern Brazil, the wealthier, more developed and heavily populated part of the country, this pledge was comparatively easy to address. In the dense rainforest of the Amazon its fulfilment is altogether more difficult.
In a blow to operators’ ambitions for the telehealth market, results from the world’s largest randomised trial have cast doubt on the cost benefits of managing long-term conditions at home. The UK’s Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) program monitored the progress of 3,230 people with diabetes, pulmonary disease or heart failure over the course of 12 months from 2008-9. In the first of five peer-reviewed evaluations just published, academics from the Nuffield Trust and eight universities conclude that the reduction in hospital admission costs is “not significant”.
Speaking at an event in London on Thursday, Matthew Key, head of Telefónica Digital since its inception nine months ago, said his unit expects to drive annual revenues of approximately €5bn by 2015 with an annual revenue growth rate of 20 per cent.
Among the massive displays of TVs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and other gadgets at last week’s International Consumer Electronics Show, mobile health and fitness solutions were among the most dynamic new areas of focus at the conference.
African healthcare provider Sanlam Health has struck a deal with systems integrator GlobeTOM to offer mobile health services to large undeveloped areas of Africa.
At the Qualcomm Innovation conference in Istanbul on Wednesday, chief executive Paul Jacobs outlined a vision of the connected future focused on proximity-based peer to peer networking.
A new report from analysts Ovum indicates that, despite the capacity of e-prescription technology to fundamentally change the healthcare systems of Europe and America, vendors of the software need to “up their game and improve the design of their systems”.
Australia’s incumbent fixed and mobile operator, Telstra, is targeting the health sector with services to be deployed in the next year or two. Its strategy has been formulated by a cross-company team that aims to deepen the operator’s involvement in the health sector and incorporate all of its core telecommunications products, in particular expanding on the existing customer relationships owned by Telstra Enterprise & Government and Telstra Business.
US operator Sprint Nextel offers a range of wireless services designed specifically for the healthcare field as part of a growing portfolio of enterprise services across a number of sectors. Targeting health enterprises such as hospitals, it offers customised services and, through established partnerships with software vendors, offers healthcare-specific applications for use both within organisations and in the field.
Towards the end of 2009, Vodafone consolidated its health-specific resources—developed historically across its national subsidiaries as part of delivering general enterprise services to the healthcare sector—into a single business unit, Vodafone Health Solutions. Sitting within Vodafone Global Enterprise, the operator’s multinational-corporations division, its task is to develop a global portfolio of healthcare-specific services.
According to Roshan, one of Afghanistan’s top three operators, 25 per cent of children in the country die before their fifth birthday, due to illnesses such as pneumonia, poor nutrition and diarrhoea. Appropriate healthcare is extremely limited with only one doctor for every 100,000 people, so there is a strong need for telemedicine in Afghanistan in order to allow for more efficient medical services in the rural communities.
Nascent m-health initiatives are under threat from a lack of structural support and funding. This is where the World Health Organisation comes in—and operators have a crucial part to play.
Healthcare is arguably the most complex vertical sector in the world. It has also been one of the slowest to invest in It. Mobile operators are well positioned to help the health sector to modernise, cut costs and improve efficiencies and, in doing so, establish themselves at the centre of an industry that is only going to carry on growing.
Telstra has announced a £500m+ (AU$800m) investment in cloud computing over the next five years to support what it says is a growing demand from Australian organisations for cloud services. The telco is rumoured to have invested AU$200m in cloud to date and this latest announcement will kick-off the construction of a new data centre, the modernisation of existing facilities, increased automation of utility computing services and the expansion of the telco’s range of enterprise applications, among other things. Construction of a new data centre in Melbourne is already underway.
Orange has had a dedicated e-health unit in place since 2007. The unit is headed by Thierry Zylberberg, who spoke to Telecoms.com about the the intricacies of the health sector and the best ways for telcos help it improve efficiencies, and drive new revenue streams for themselves.
Operators believe they have a pivotal role to play in the transformation of the healthcare system. Telefónica’s Jose Perdomo is planting the flag for the spanish carrier.
Nine out of ten telecom operators are betting on ‘connected verticals’ to grow their top line revenues going forward. The revelation comes from a recent global survey by Informa Telecoms & Media, which focused on industries where telecoms innovation – in technology, systems and processes – can trigger deep transformation in efficiency and business model.