1. The Networked Society blog

Empowering societies with mobile health

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According to the United Nations, Malaysia has the highest proportion of overweight people in South East Asia and is ranked sixth in Asia Pacific. Although these reports are not very flattering, it is hardly surprising, as Malaysia does pride itself on its melting pot of cultures and the amazing cuisine that you can find 24 hours a day. Our dietary habits and desire for instant gratification are getting us into trouble, and more and more people are trying to change their lifestyles to cope. This includes everything from seeking deals on gym memberships and personal trainers to smartphone fitness applications and wearable technologies.

This seems to be consistent with Ericsson’s 10 Top Consumer Trends for 2015 and beyond, which reveals that consumers expect connected devices and applications to help them improve their health and lifestyles. I too wear my fitness wristband daily to help me both track my level of activity and generate enough guilt to stay motivated.

Various telecom operators around the world have begun to offer mobile health services in partnership with healthcare providers for remote patient monitoring. This is truly required for patients with chronic illnesses and mobility issues – in these cases mobile health drastically improves their quality of life. But what if people cannot afford to own their own health monitoring equipment?

In 2010, Ericsson in Malaysia had the opportunity to commission a Needs Assessment, Feasibility and Impact (NAFI) study of rural communities with the help of the medical faculty of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak in Borneo. We visited the local village health clinic and revealed that the visiting physician comes around once every 2-3 weeks, even though the village was only 90 minutes away by road from the capital city of Kuching.

Interviews with the nurses in the village clinic revealed that the key illnesses in the village were diabetes and hypertension, both of which require constant monitoring. Ericsson deployed its mobile health solution based on a “Visiting Nurse” concept, whereby villagers can just walk to the nearby community center to have their health data monitored and uploaded to the cloud-based system.

The nine-month-long study revealed that the equipment and system was easily managed by the community center administrators and, more importantly, the patients could be monitored more frequently by their doctor remotely. The results of the study were shared with various government agencies in Malaysia, and various remote patient monitoring solutions are now gradually being rolled out to villages nationwide.

Even though the World Bank says that 54 percent of the global population lives in cities today, there is still a large portion of the world’s population living in rural areas with lower incomes. A quick check with the World Bank website revealed that there are about 12 doctors for every 10,000 people in Malaysia, compared to 24 for United States and 38 in Sweden. These are estimates for 2010, and the figures are even lower in Indonesia and Thailand with 3 and 4 doctors respectively for every 10,000 people. If mobile health can be so empowering in Malaysia, I believe it can mean so much more to neighbors like Thailand and Indonesia with much fewer doctors.

Can Motor City become Bike City? The reinvention of Detroit.

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to visit Detroit. It is a fascinating city facing many challenges getting on its feet again, which makes it a really interesting place to visit if you want to study entrepreneurship and creativity. My reason for being there was to study the progress of a city trying to redefine its post-industrial self. Continue reading

LEDing innovation in lighting (and getting a Nobel Prize in the process)

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It is the season of light, whether in Mexico or Northern Europe. I’ve read that Sweden only had a few hours of sunshine in November, while Mexico enjoyed a bright month. Regardless, people in both countries have now begun to untangle many cords of light bulbs to decorate homes and office buildings: Lights are an essential part of celebrating many kinds of holidays during December. Continue reading

Santa Cloud is coming to town …

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Christmas is coming, and there only a few days left. So, if you celebrate Christmas, you are likely in the middle of frantic shopping for all those Christmas presents. Of course, this day is also a big day for our friend, Santa Claus.

The cloud could be a big help for Santa Claus during his one huge workday , not to mention the rest of the year when he has to prepare himself and his team of managers, the elves, for a lighting-fast global logistics operation. Continue reading

Don’t underestimate the power of small cells in the mobile enterprise

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Since the small cell concept was introduced in the marketplace, there has been an ongoing debate with regards to the amount of cells that should be deployed. Over the past two years, there have been large fluctuations in estimates. But what if the reality will be 10X higher than the even the high-end estimates we currently are working with? Continue reading

The top ten consumer trends for 2015 and beyond

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It is said that the pace of change will never be slower than it is right now, and this is certainly my impression after putting the final touches on Ericsson ConsumerLab’s 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2015 and beyond. This can be hard to take in, as, in reality, most people are creatures of habit, going through daily routines that evolve only gradually. So how can consumer trends be pointing to such drastic change? Continue reading

Putting airlines and banks on notice in the Networked Society

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My family and I recently traveled together from Mexico City to Seattle, returning one week later with a three-hour layover in Las Vegas. This stop in Vegas was in order to meet and visit Grandmas, not to gamble.

But gambling is exactly what we were doing, in a different way. We were gambling that we could trust the airline to return our belongings to us. Continue reading

What are policy makers doing to make the Networked Society a reality?

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Cullen International recently performed a review of 15 countries’ approach to ICT-enabled policy reforms as codified in tools such as national broadband plans, digital agendas or the equivalent. The results of this survey of plans and their management revealed a wide range of interesting results and important learnings that I’d like to highlight. Continue reading

Why Grandma needs to get connected

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My grandmother first got an email address in 2008. This great Get Grandma Connected Experiment lasted about a week—a week of ‘I’m sending you a mail!!’ and ‘Are you getting my mails? Is this working?’— before it unceremoniously ended.

Every couple years there were similar efforts as each offspring tried to get her connected. They all ran for about the same length, and all fizzled out.

However, about 2011, Grandma got a smartphone. And then she was EVERYWHERE. Continue reading

No 4G, no problem: how people in developing Asia are driving social media use

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A lack of the industry’s latest mobile technology like 4G/LTE in emerging Asian countries hasn’t stopped consumers from wholeheartedly embracing social media. Continue reading