Technology Industry Trends * ABL Member News * March 13, 2018


Last week, over 40,000 healthcare techies from all over the world swarmed into Las Vegas for HIMSS18. Given Americans spend $3.4 trillion on their health each year, it's about time the event fully embraces the digital age, and this year, it did. Five major takeaways from the Health Information Management Systems Society show were: Read more...

California Loosens Rules for Driverless Cars, Clearing Way for Robot Taxis

Sometime this spring, self-driving test cars will begin appearing on California highways, with no people inside, the result of new regulations issued recently by the state DMV. The rules, first proposed last October, will also allow ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft to begin selling rides in driverless cars, removing expensive human drivers from the equation. Technically, that could happen this year, although no ride-hailing companies have yet announced such plans. For now, the California regulations bar driverless trucks, motorcycles, and cars with trailers. Until now, driverless cars were allowed on California roads only with a human behind the wheel. The new rules loosen restrictions on testing and, crucially, set standards to allow the sale or lease of robot cars and their operation by ride-hailing fleets. (, 2/28/18)
     Meanwhile, in an attempt to move driverless car software more quickly into its cars and trucks, Toyota is creating a separate company and hopes to fill it with some of the world's best autonomous-vehicle coders. Called Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, the new Tokyo-based company will draw on work turned out by Toyota's research labs and transform it into commercial-ready products. The joint venture comprises Toyota and two of its major parts suppliers; the trio will invest $2.8 billion. (, 3/2/18)  And, Google announced that it plans to use Waymo's self-driving trucks to deliver cargo to Google's data centers in Atlanta. Georgia is now the seventh state for Waymo's tests, joining pilots in California, Texas, Washington, Nevada, Michigan, and Arizona. Also, earlier this year, Waymo ordered thousands of new Chrysler Pacifica minivans in the hope of launching a driverless ride-hailing service sometime this year. (, 3/9/18)

Drones to Deliver Packages in U.S. Within Months, Say Feds

After lagging behind other countries for years, commercial drones in the U.S. are expected to begin limited package deliveries within months, according to federal regulators and industry officials. The momentum partly stems from stepped-up White House pressure, prompting closer cooperation between the government and companies seeking authorizations for such fledgling businesses. At least 10 FAA-approved pilot programs for various drone initiatives - some likely including package delivery - are slated to start by May. So far, regulators in Australia, Singapore, and Britain are among those leading the way on drone deliveries. In the U.S., there have been numerous studies, advisory panels, and years of debate about the topic, but relatively little movement to usher in real-world services. (, 3/11/18)

Trump's Message with Broadcom Block: U.S. Tech "Not For Sale"

With his swift rejection of Broadcom Ltd.'s hostile takeover of Qualcomm Inc., President Trump sent a clear signal to overseas investors: Any deal that could give China an edge in critical technology will be swatted down in the name of national security. The president's order on Monday blocking Broadcom's $117 billion bid for Qualcomm is the latest sign of Trump's tough stance on foreign takeovers of U.S. technology and is part of a broader move to contain China on trade. The Trump administration is considering clamping down on Chinese investments in the U.S. and imposing tariffs on a broad range of its imports to punish Beijing for its alleged theft of intellectual property. (, 3/12/18)

5G Cell Service is Coming, But Who Decides Where It Goes?

5G, which delivers wireless internet at far faster speeds than existing cellular connections, requires different hardware to deliver the signals. Instead of relying on large towers placed far apart, the new signals will come from smaller equipment placed an average of 500 feet apart in neighborhoods and business districts. Much of the equipment will be on streetlights or utility poles, often accompanied by containers the size of refrigerators on the ground. More than 300,000 cell stations now provide wireless connections, and 5G will bring hundreds of thousands - perhaps millions - more. The prospect of their installation has many communities and their officials, nationwide, insisting that local governments control the placement and look of the new equipment. They say that the cell stations could clutter neighborhoods with eyesores and cost the communities a lot of potential revenue. But telecommunications companies, hoping to cash in on what is predicted to be $250 billion in annual service revenue from 5G by 2025, are pushing to build the system as quickly and cheaply as possible. And they have the federal government on their side. The companies say that the equipment will be safe and unobtrusive, and that it's needed to support future applications like driverless cars. Dotting them throughout neighborhoods is necessary for full coverage, they say, because the new 5G signals do not travel as far as the radio frequencies now in use. The telecom firms have lobbyists working Congress and state legislatures, advocating laws that restrict local oversight of 5G. The FCC, under the leadership of Ajit Pai, has strongly encouraged weakening regulations to accelerate the deployment of new 5G technology - including reducing the role of local governments. Recently, FCC commissioner Brendan Carr announced details of a plan to streamline the environmental and historic review process for 5G infrastructure, saying it could cut costs by 80%. Meanwhile, AT&T executives said officials in California had delayed deployment of small cells by 800+ days because they scrutinized antenna designs, radio-frequency exposure, and effects on property values, among other things. (, 3/2/18)

20% of U.S. Adults Now Have Access to Smart Speaker: Study

Nearly one in five U.S. adults today have access to a smart speaker, according to new research from That means adoption of these voice-powered devices has grown to 47.3 million U.S. adults in two years. In comparison, it took 13 years for televisions to reach the 50 million mark, versus 2 years for smart speakers, 4 years for internet access, and 2 years for Facebook. (, 3/7/18)
     Meanwhile, in a recent article, Sebastien Szczepaniak, a former Amazon executive who now heads e-commerce for Nestlé SA, predicted that in the next five years, half of searches on the web will be done via voice. And Graeme Pitkethly, CFO of Unilever PLC, said, "Of all the disruptions that are taking place in all the things technology is bringing into our space, voice is among the most disruptive. In digital investment this is our biggest focus." (, 2/27/18)  Also, Amazon has started another accelerator program to find startups focused on voice technology. The $100 million Alexa Fund comprises venture capital funding to fuel voice technology innovation in the categories of smart home, entertainment, finance, enterprise, communications, automobile and transportation, health and wellness, connected learning, connected devices, hardware components, and other enabling technologies. (, 2/26/18) .

LA VC Firm Adds Diversity "Inclusion Clause" in Term Sheets

Los Angeles-based venture capital investor Upfront Venturesvrecently said that it's including a new clause in its term sheets to companies, which asks them to formally require that a woman, or a "member of a population currently underrepresented within the company" be interviewed any time there is an open executive position at the startup. According to Upfront's Mark Suster, the VC firm has open sourced the legal language it has been inserting into its term sheets, in hopes that other VC firms will also adopt those requirements in their own investment offers. (, 3/9/18)

Paul Allen Invests $125 Million to Teach Computers Common Sense

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is investing $125 million to teach common sense to computers, commiting the money over the next three years to the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, known as AI2. The funds will go toward multiple AI2 projects, but specifically will be used for the new Project Alexandria that will try to bring together various technology elements used in AI, with the goal of creating a system imbued with good sense and judgment. Currently, AI systems can scan and "read" text, interpret some pictures, and play board games. But they can't react to unexpected situations or tell you, say, which way water would flow on a hill. Project Alexandria aims to teach AI to answer questions such as, "What would you typically find in a trash can?" or "If I put my socks in the drawer, will they still be there tomorrow?" In some ways, an AI system is smarter than the average child - it can read and store massive amounts of scientific research, for example. But it's lacking the common sense that most children have, Allen said. (, 2/28/18)

Ransomware for Robots is Next Big Security Nightmare

Researchers at security company IOActive have shown how they managed to hack the humanoid NAO robot made by Softbank and infect one with custom-built ransomware. The researchers said the same attack would work on the Pepper robot too. After the infection, the robot is shown insulting its audience and demanding to be "fed" bitcoin cryptocurrency in order to restore systems back to normal. But, if a robot becomes infected with ransomware, it's almost impossible for the user to restore it to normal by themselves. If the alternative for a victim of robot ransomware is waiting for a technician to come to fix the robot - or even losing access to it for weeks if it needs to be returned to the manufacturer - a business owner might view giving into the ransom demand as a lesser evil. The solution to this issue is for robotics manufacturers to think about cybersecurity at every step of the manufacturing process from day one, according to IOActive. (, 3/9/18)

Catasys Expands OnTrak-HA

Catasys, Inc. has expanded its OnTrak-HA program with a leading regional health insurer in Illinois to include anxiety and depression for eligible commercial and Medicare members. Since 2016, OnTrak-HA has covered eligible commercial and Medicare members with substance-use disorders (SUDs) and eligible individual and public marketplace plan members with anxiety, depression, and SUDs. Catasys uses artificial intelligence and big data predictive analytics to identify health plan members suffering from untreated behavioral health disorders, whose overall health can be significantly improved, and high medical costs substantially reduced through their program. (Rick Anderson, West Los Angeles)

Cornerstone Solutions Chosen by University of Tennessee

The University of Tennessee (UT) System has selected Cornerstone OnDemand's learning and extended enterprise solutions to provide crucial training for faculty and staff across six campuses and institutes, as well as certification programs for external stakeholders. With the flagship campus UT Knoxville’s ambitious goal of becoming a Top 25 public research university by 2020, the UT System sought a partner that could provide a modern, top-tier learning solution to support its current and future initiatives.  Also, the nonprofit Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation, in partnership with Mercy Corps and the International Rescue Committee, recently announced the results of the first phase of its program, Investing in Syrian Humanitarian Action, which has provided online learning to 13,000+ aid workers, allowing them to more effectively respond to humanitarian needs across Syria. (Adam Miller, West Los Angeles)

Easy Breathe Shares Study: CPAP Makes You More Attractive

Easy Breathe reports that a study has revealed that consistent CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) treatment for sleep apnea can make you appear more physically attractive: After two months of nightly CPAP treatment, patients looked noticeably more youthful, well rested, and attractive. In addition, 68% of volunteers said that patients also looked more alert. The study, conducted at Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Michigan, revealed that consistent CPAP treatment not only subjectively enhanced beauty, but researchers also found "objective changes in facial surface volume and color." Through high-tech digital photogrammetry, researchers found decreases in forehead surface volume, which means basically that patients showed a reduction in wrinkles, and cheek and under-eye redness were shown to have been reduced. (Nick Weiss, West Los Angeles)

GF Piping Systems Contributes to Brewing Company's Success

The article, COOL-FIT Piping Systems Meets Condensation-Free Requirement for Lakewood Brewing, describes how Lakewood Brewing Company, of Dallas, TX, chose the COOL-FIT ABS Plus system from GF Piping Systems when the company built their facility. COOL-FIT is a corrosion-free pre-insulated plastic piping system that can handle water-based coolants from -58°F to +104°F at an operating pressure of up to 10 bar within diameters of ¾” to 12”. The system’s core pipe is made of COOL-FIT ABS, which is insulated with high-density closed-cell polyurethane foam and protected with a water-tight, UV resistant black polyethylene jacket. The entire system is vapor tight and shows no thermal bridges, which minimize energy loss along the lines. Because of properties, the piping system is ideal for beer, food, and other beverage production environments. Today, Lakewood is brewing 10,000+ barrels per year. (Mike Smith, Downtown Los Angeles)

PeopleG2's Chris Dyer Writes a Bestseller on Company Culture

The new book by PeopleG2 CEO Chris Dyer - The Power of Company Culture - was named a Business Bestseller on the first day it shipped, by The book debunks the myth that a remarkable company culture is something that a business either has or hasn't, and shows how any company of any size can implement and maintain a world-class culture for business success.  Meanwhile, Chris was interviewed in an episode of John Livesay's podcast; wrote an article in CEOWorld magazine; and chats here about what to expect from his talk at the upcoming Remote Work Summit 2018. (Chris Dyer, Downtown Los Angeles)

Sidebench Partners with WITH Foundation

Sidebench has announced a new collaboration with WITH Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting comprehensive healthcare for adults with developmental disabilities. Jointly, they will host a pilot workshop on March 22, bringing designers and developers together with people with developmental disabilities to facilitate opportunities to hear their needs and perspectives, and ultimately, to build new technologies for forward-thinking accessible design. (Kevin Yamazaki, West Los Angeles)

SleepSmart Pillow Launched on Indiegogo

SleepSmart Pillow, built by Pressure Profile Systems, Inc., recently launched on Indiegogo. Designed for side sleepers, the pillow uses innovative adjustable technology, including 'Sophie,' an intelligent sleep coach who monitors your sleep quality and helps you track your lifestyle behaviors in the SleepSmart app. Sophie analyzes your REM cycle through the pillow, as well as data you manually provide about your lifestyle choices to help you become the master of your own sleep. Of note, the pillow only transfers data (transmits energy) after you wake up or when you sync the data with your phone. (Jae Son, Ph.D., Downtown Los Angeles)

Dave Berkus on: Respecting Boundaries & Paying Board Members

In Please learn this: "Noses in; fingers out!", Dave declares that once a person of higher authority reaches beyond their direct report in an organization, especially without the approval of that direct report, incurable damage will have been done to that person's ability to manage. Even if not the intent, there is an instant change in dynamic once this line has been crossed. He then provides some illustrations from his own experience.  And, in How do you pay an early stage board?, Dave draws upon his many years of experience to suggest that you pay early-stage board members of companies that are not lifestyle businesses 1% of the fully diluted equity in the form of an option that vests over four years of service. You do not pay professional investors who are serving on behalf of an investment company or VC and paid by that company. For lifestyle or later-stage companies, board members should be paid on a per-meeting basis in cash - typically $1,000 per meeting of the board, adjusted upward for public corporations to $3,000 per meeting on average, with special pay for committee chairs and special meetings. (Dave Berkus, Downtown & West Los Angeles)

Express Analytics on: Build vs. Buy

In Healthcare Analytics: Build-Versus-Buy Quandary A Hurdle, Express Analytics' Hemant Warudkar writes that 2018 is set to see healthcare-focused solutions getting into more rarified atmosphere - that of Cloud, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning, making it that much more imperative for hospitals and medical research labs to arrive at a decision of whether or not to outsource analytics. Before outsourcing, make sure all of your business requirements are listed and analyzed. Prior to going on the hunt for a vendor, conduct proper market research and list all the possible companies that can provide the required services. Before awarding the contract, ensure your healthcare organization has a data security policy in place, including the classification of sensitive and common data. Also start employing the use of database monitoring gateways and fire walls before finally awarding the contract. All of this will ensure that sensitive patient data does not fall into the wrong hands, leaving your organization exposed to lawsuits. (Hemant Warudkar, Orange County)

Intellect on: Utilizing Mobile Apps to Capture Quality Data

In Benefits of Access: Capturing Quality Data on Manufacturing Mobile Apps, Intellect's Romeo Elias notes that with smartphones, tablets, and industry-specific apps, you can now capture data and get quality assistance from ultimately anywhere. The ability to capture everything from deviations during sampling and testing to calculating batch measurements in real-time means that non-conformance and corrective actions can be enforced almost immediately. Also, having offline capability to still capture data on mobile if there is no internet connection can help with situations where the factory floor doesn’t have good reception on the mobile device. In manufacturing, the significant benefits of allowing workers to bring their mobile devices to the floor include giving them the ability to contact other employees, communicate with off-site personnel, and reference manufacturers’ documents. With mobile technologies, there is a significant improvement in logistics and supply chain coordination with suppliers. Customer responsiveness is enhanced thanks to the capability to integrate mobile CRM systems with order management, pricing, and fulfillment. (Romeo Elias, West Los Angeles)

myKaarma on: Robots, AI, and Early Adopters

In No, You're Not Being Replaced by Robots or AI, myKaarma's Ujj Nath predicts that when artificial intelligence matures it will be one of the biggest disruptive forces ever unleashed on mankind. And its far-reaching consequences will create new industries and new employment that will far outnumber the jobs it takes away. The capitalistic system that we work in will continue to develop this technology because all the incentives by which these companies are measured are enhanced by AI, Ujj notes.  And, in When Will the Automotive Industry Become Early Adopters Instead of Followers?, Ujj reports that some forward-thinking auto dealers are taking chances with new business models, technologies, and processes in the early stages of development, such as video email, paperless documents, AI and chatbots, and are doing really well with them. But, for the most part, industry experts place auto dealers at least five years behind every other retail business in terms of adoption of technology and listening to consumer demands. This hesitation to adopt technology impedes progress and opens the door for industry disruptors. To counter this trend, Ujj cites a McKinsey study which found that companies who embrace digital transformation are expected to see increases of over 50% to their bottom line in the next five years. (Ujj Nath, West Los Angeles)

Taylor Digital on: Website Launches & Mobile Sites

In Your Post Website Launch Checklist, Taylor Digital's Randy Taylor reminds us that the launch of a new website is not the finish line, but actually only the beginning. In order for your brand to take flight in the digital world, there are a list of things that you need to have in order after your website is launched. In summary, they are: an editorial calendar; email marketing campaign; landing pages; care plan; and Google Analytics.  And, in Google Has Started to Index for Mobile Sites, Is Yours Ready?, Randy reports that Google has recently announced that because of mobile priority in using the Google search engine, in the future websites will be indexed according to how friendly their mobile site is for the user. He then discusses these factors you need to consider to be sure that your website is ready, including: mobile site vs. responsive website; content makes a difference; ranking signals will come from mobile, not desktop; and will my website be penalized? (Randy Taylor, Orange County)

Welcome New Member: Angelo Rago, Carl Zeiss Meditec

Angelo is Head of Ophthalmic Diagnostics at Carl Zeiss Meditec, one of the world's leading medical technology companies. Carl Zeiss Meditec AG (listed on the German stock exchange, TecDAX) provides complete packages of solutions for the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases. Angelo joined Zeiss Meditec in October 2012, where he has P&L responsibility for their Ophthalmic Diagnostics business, including devices from standard refraction to complex products such as OCT used in the management of chronic eye diseases. Previously, Angelo was Division VP of Equipment Operations & Services for Abbott Medical Optics, and President of Integrated Surgical Solutions, a subsidiary of Abbott Medical Optics. Earlier, he was with Advanced Medical Optics, which was ultimately acquired by Abbott Laboratories, as SVP of Global Distributor Sales & Services; SVP of Global Customer Services; and VP of Global Customer Support, and before that, he was with Siemens Medical Solutions for 17+ years. Angelo has joined the East Bay Area Healthcare Executives Round Table.

Surgery One to Host Seminar on Robotics-Assisted Knee Surgery

On the evening of March 13, Surgery One and Outpatient Surgery Center of La Jolla will present a free knee pain seminar on the latest robotics-assisted surgical techniques, for both outpatient partial knee replacement and total knee replacement - the only program of its kind in San Diego. In knee replacement, robotic assistance offers a high degree of precision and can be done using minimally invasive surgical techniques. (Scott Leggett, Orange County Healthcare)

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