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Scanadu: The ‘Star Trek’ Medical Tricorder Becomes a Reality


Star Trek type tricorder is now a reality with Scanadu

In 2013, a man bilked investors into funding a medical device that worked like the Star Trek tricorder. He even named it after the grumpy doctor who used in on the iconic show — The “McCoy Home Health Tablet.”The man’s “investment opportunity” was a scam, and according to the National Post, he was convicted for bilking people out of their money. However, just a little over a year later, a new tricorder like device, called the Scanadu Scout, has become a reality. And it works.

The device, pictured below, works by placing it on a patient’s forehead. In a matter of seconds, a sensor measures vitals such as heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. It even provides a complete ECG reading.

Scanadu medical scanner

Scanadu medical scanner.




The device came about after a successful crowdfunding campaign, and begins shipping to backers at the end of July, 2015.

The Scanadu is the invention of Walter De Brouwer, a Belgian entrepreneur, who came up with the idea after his son suffered brain damage from a fall.

De Brouwer told CNN that he got his inspiration from Star Trek, which he said was “more than just a movie, it was a business plan.”

The tricorder in Star Trek was only used by a doctor, but De Brouwer says that the Scanadu can be used by anyone.


The NHS’s Chaotic IT Systems Show no Sign of Recovery


When you walk into my GP’s surgery, the first thing you see is a screen on the receptionist’s counter. Displayed on it are the words (all in capitals) “TOUCH THE SCREEN TO ARRIVE FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT”. Being pedantic, the first time I saw it I pointed out to the receptionist that I had arrived for my appointment. She grimaced. I then asked if the medical implications of asking every patient to use the same touchscreen during, say, a flu epidemic had been considered. Another grimace. It was, she explained, “a new system”.

This system was provided by Epic Systems, a US corporation based in Wisconsin, which may explain why its software designers seem unfamiliar with the verb “to arrive”. It’s one of eight major vendors of healthcare information systems, all of which are based in the US, and it got its foot in the NHS door quite a long time ago. My doctor’s surgery has been using it for a while. At the beginning, the system’s user-interface was abysmal and dysfunctional. Now, several years on, it’s merely ugly. But at least it works.

On 26 October, our local hospital, Addenbrooke’s, which is run by Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust (CUHFT), made an excited announcement on its website. “A new patient record system to improve patient care at Cambridge University Hospitals has been switched on. eHospital went live across the Trust this morning at 02:00. The new system will improve the quality of care for patients by ensuring that doctors, nurses and other clinical staff can access relevant patient information wherever they are, at the click of a button and on bespoke software that has been designed by and for clinicians.”

The hospital’s chief information officer declared that he and his colleagues were “delighted that this revolutionary new system has now gone live. It is the biggest single investment the Trust has ever made in the quality of patient care, and will make a real difference for everyone who comes into the Trust… Instead of having to wait for paper records to be delivered to the ward, nurses are able to bring up patient notes on their handheld devices. Patients will get their medication quicker, nurses can spend more time with their patients and people who are treated here will get home sooner.”

Now spool forward to 2 November, when I received an email from a friend who had broken her foot and gone to Addenbrooke’s.

“I had the bad luck to arrive the day after the hospital switched on to its ‘revolutionary new patient record system’, eHospital,” she wrote. “My son and I got to A&E at about 9pm to find posters up everywhere boasting about this, the usual endless queue of waiting patients and most of the staff clustered around computers, unable to do anything until they had logged on, and apparently finding constant glitches.

“Both patients and staff were really struggling,” she went on. “It’s not just teething troubles. The staff I’ve spoken to have huge doubts about the system itself – they say there was some consultation with them, but their responses were very selectively received. I doubt if they consulted patients. From the patients’ point of view,” she wrote, “it is quite dehumanising. Staff now approach [while] gazing at a mobile device and trying to find you on it; then they check you in with a wrist barcode. There is no time for conversation or even often for eye contact. Some of this might improve as they get more confident with the system but they are deeply unhappy with the change in culture and they say all the real nurses will leave.”

My friend’s observations cannot be dismissed as the biased grumblings of a pissed-off patient. They are confirmed in an official report to the local health committee by Jessica Bawden, director of corporate affairs, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group. “On the evening of Saturday 1 November,” Bawden reported, “the Epic system became unstable. The decision to switch to a read-only version of the software was taken at approximately 11.15pm. Following expert technical advice and action from suppliers, the system was restored at 2.27am. Business continuity plans were deployed and a ‘major incident’ across the system was declared. All agencies came together during the night to support CUHFT; for example, all ambulances were rerouted to different hospitals for a five-hour time period.”

Just for the avoidance of doubt, this is not an anti-NHS rant. Addenbrooke’s is a pretty good hospital. And the NHS badly needs a paperless health-records system. This is just the latest instalment in a long-running saga in which British public institutions display their inability to introduce complex IT systems without causing chaos and distress.

We’ve been screwing up like this for two decades. Isn’t it time we tried learning from our mistakes?


The Best Medical Technologies of 2014

by EDITORS on Dec 31, 2014 • 1:29 pm

Medgadget has been around for a good ten years now, covering the developments in medical technology better than anyone else. There is no other news source that’s as obsessively focused on reporting the technological developments that are changing clinical practice and patient care. Looking back on the past year of our coverage, we’d like to share what new trends and which new medical gadgetry we have found most exciting, revolutionary, and beneficial for patients in 2014.

Flexible Microelectronics

Flexible electronics are able to wrap around irregular tissue shapes and conform to their motion in order to sense, and one day even respond, to different physiological parameters. A number of teams around the world are working on this technology and it will soon find its way into our bodies. Fear not though, being a cyborg will be a healthy and painless experience.

On that note, Google announced it’s working on a glucose sensing contact lens for diabetics to be able to get readings without having to prick their fingers for blood. The idea is that the lens will transmit glucose level readings sampled from tear fluid directly to a smartphone for review anywhere and at any time.


John A. Rogers of University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, a leading scientist in the field of flexible electronics, partnered with a team from Washington University in St. Louis to create a flexible electronic sleeve that was wrapped around a beating heart of a rabbit to monitor its electrical activity in 3D at an unprecedented resolution. This development may soon lead to heart wraps that can sense and respond to arrhythmias in a highly precise manner and if the power to compress is added to the wrap you may even have an automatic cardiac augmentation device as well.

Professor Rogers is also behind a flexible skin patch that can record ECG and EEG signalsand pass those wirelessly to a smartphone or other device.

3D Printing in Medicine

South Sudanese team 3D printing prosthetic arms for victims of war as part of Project Daniel.

3D printing has captured the popular imagination lately, but in the last year we’ve seen it used in medicine to help replace bones, bring prosthetic devices to people in war-torn regions, and even help in preparing for surgeries.

Some of our favorite stories include Project Daniel in South Sudan and a similar project by the University of Toronto and Autodesk Research in Uganda that allows local people to create prosthetic arms using 3D printers. Not having to rely on expensive devices and outside expertise, trained teams of local engineers are able to provide custom prostheses to those touched by war. Even where peace has reigned, high school students are able to print prosthetic arms for their neighbors.


Custom printed skull implanted at University Medical Center Utrecht in The Netherlands.

Some of the more radical uses of 3D printing technology include a woman in Holland who received a brand new skull and a man in the United Kingdom had his face reconstructed following an accident with the help of 3D printed components. Additionally, one-to-one replica skulls are being created from patient CT scans to prepare surgeons for challenging facial transplant procedures.

In China we saw printed titanium vertebral implants successfully used to address uncommon orthopedic conditions and to conform to unusual patient anatomies, while at the University of Michigan a tracheal splint to save a baby’s life was printed and implanted in a groundbreaking procedure.

Still in pre-clinicial trials, but foreshadowing what we might see very soon in human patients, a drove of sheep successfully received printed meniscus replacements in their knees.

Smart Powered Prostheses

A man with both arms missing due to an accident received two highly articulating powered prosthetic arms at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory that he is able to control with his mind. Electrodes were connected from his stumps to the new arms that pass through a computer for interpretation. After a bit of practice, the man was able to do some pretty complex tasks. Though the system is still in development, it’s a sure sign that future amputees won’t be so dependent on others and will be able to regain their own abilities thanks to technology such as this.

prosthetic hand with tactile sensors on the fingertips that lets its user actually feel what it’s touching. The first experimental user of the hand, who had electrodes placed within his remaining arm that passed on the tactile signals, was able to tell how hard he was gripping objects and what shape they were, even while blindfolded.

quadriplegic man was able to move his arm thanks to Neurobridge technology developed by an R&D nonprofit called Battelle. The group developed a chip that’s implanted into the brain’s region responsible for hand motion, which is able to read the electrical signals and transmit them, decoded, to a powered prosthetic arm. The man is now able to rotate his hand, make a fist, and pinch his fingers together, all intuitively as though it’s his native arm.

XStat Rapid Hemostasis System


Lead poisoning can come in different forms, and if your patient is severely bleeding, whether on the battlefield or in an ambulance, gauzes and external pressure may not be enough. The XStat device was unveiled this year to quickly stop deep bleeding woundsby injecting a bunch of tablet-sized pellets that quickly expand and fill the wound space.

It’s as easy to use as a syringe, allowing for reliable hemostasis in seconds without having to carefully stuff the wound site with gauze when time is of the essence. To help remove the expanded pellets once the patient reaches the hospital, each of the pellets contains a radiopaque marker to quickly spot them under X-ray.

Diabetes Monitoring/Glucose Control

In the flexible electronics section above, we already mentioned the glucose sensing contact lens that Google is working on. In the meantime, diabetics still have to have their fingers pricked on a daily basis. That’s why there’s now the Genteel lancing device that promises nearly pain-free pricks anywhere on the body. It creates a vacuum around the sampling site, vibrates the spot, and pierces the skin within .018 of a second.

Perhaps pin pricks may not be necessary after all, thanks to a laser-based glucometer being developed at Princeton University. The device uses mid-infrared light to look into the dermal interstitial fluid that correlates with glucose within the blood.


Beta-O2, an Israeli company that recently came out of stealth mode, has developed a bio-artificial pancreas that is already going to clinical trials at the Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden. The  ßAir device is essentially a bioreactor that contains islets of Langerhans, cells that produce insulin and glucagon, functioning much like a healthy pancreas would, but in a radically different form factor.

Before we see a reliable artificial pancreas, we already have devices that in some ways mimic the functionality of a pancreas. A fairly big development for diabetics is theFDA approval of the Animas Vibe insulin pump that pairs up with the Dexcom G4 PLATINUM continuous glucose monitor. The two devices partner to keep glucose levels under control, and thanks to DEXCOM’s trending capabilities, the system can proactively respond to help keep blood glucose within range.

Radiological Imaging Equipment: The Big Stuff

At the University Medical Center Utrecht in The Netherlands, a room is being built that will house a clinical linear accelerator and a 1.5 Tesla MRI machine. The never-before-seen combination will permit interventional radiologists to visualize and target tumors in the same session. This will hopefully allow for much more accurate tumor treatment since the imaging and therapy can be performed at the same time and while the patient is in the same position during both procedures.


GE unveiled the GE SIGNA Pioneer, a 3.0 T MRI machine that drastically reduces imaging times, often by up to 2/3. Additionally, the scanner includes an upgraded version of the company’s SilentScan technology that, as the name implies, brings much needed quiet to the MR imaging suite.

Siemens unveiled a new SOMATOM Definition Edge CT scanner that is able to perform dual-energy imaging using a single-source X-ray tube. Previous single-source CT systems relied on fast kV-switching for dual-energy imaging, which may impair image quality and increase radiation dose. Siemens’ TwinBeam technique allows simultaneous acquisition of high and low kV datasets in a single CT scan.

If you’re getting a CT scan, you’ll be happy to know that it can also provide bone mineral density values without having to get a separate exam. The MindwaysCT software can do this from just about any contrast-free abdominal or pelvic CT scan, even from a virtual colonoscopy.

Ambulance Drone

When a serious cardiac arrhythmia strikes, a defibrillator is often the only thing preventing the death of the patient. Yet, automatic external defibrillators (AED) are still a rare sight in most places and getting one to the patient must be done in a matter of minutes. A student at TU Delft University in Holland developed a flying drone that has an AED built-in. The drone, still a prototype, would be controlled by emergency responsders to get to the patient at which point anyone able to help can quickly access the electrode pads, prep the patient, and begin defibrillating in seconds.

Medtronic Micra, World’s Smallest Pacemaker


At the end of last year, Medtronic introduced its Micra pacemaker that actually sits inside the ventricular cavity and doesn’t have any leads that are often the cause of pacemaker complications. Now it’s pacing actual patients after initial implants have been installed.

It’s implanted in an entirely minimally invasive fashion, delivered to the heart via the femoral vein and made to grab onto the endocardial tissue with built-in metal grippers.

The hope is that such devices, thanks to their small size and nature of implantation, will lead to easier surgeries and better outcomes for patients without having to undergo revisions caused by poorly positioned or dysfunctional leads.

And that’s a wrap for 2014, which has been an exciting year for medical technologies. We’d like to thank you for being our readers for 10 years and look forward to new medical technologies coming next year. In the meantime, a Happy New Year. Be safe, healthy, and keep on reading!

Blood diagnosis app ‘can detect diseases’

A team has developed an app and small lens add-on that allows blood-cell analysis via a smartphone

The app, called Athelas, won a prize at a coding event held by the prestigious start-up hub Y Combinator.

The team says it can detect diseases such as malaria and cancers in seconds, through so-called predictive cell counting.

But experts warned of the difficulty of reproducing the quality of medical labs results using just a smartphone.

Users take a picture of their blood using the lens attachment, which is then sent to the app’s servers, and the results are then sent back to them.

Team leader Tanay Tandon said in his submission: “For more than two centuries, cell morphology – or the practice of viewing/analysing a person’s blood in order to diagnose conditions – has been the primary way to approach medicine.

“Yet, despite the critical nature of blood analysis to the medical industry – the process has hardly changed from its long, expensive form for 150 years.”

Mr Tandon added that in “rural areas, the tech will really shine, providing previously unavailable diagnostic skills through the power of artificial intelligence and computer vision”.

‘Create more confusion’

But experts in the field are not so convinced by the reality of using a smartphone to detect and diagnose.

“This app will create more confusion then alleviate anxiety,” Dr Amar Safdar, the director of transplant medical diseases at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, told the BBC.

“The major limitation for this approach is that most viruses require electron microscopic exams to see them.”

Using the example of the current outbreak of Ebola – which has killed more than 800 people in western Africa and is spreading partly through air travel – Dr Safdar said that patients in the early stages of illness might not have large enough quantities of the Ebola virus in their peripheral blood to be diagnosed.

Lab tests have a lot of regulation to ensure the correct results are delivered

The threat of false positives, or incorrect results, was another concern.

“I’ve no problem with it in principle – but in reality, these need to be carefully calibrated around the right type of diseases,” Dr Mike Chapman, of the University of Cambridge’s Department of Haematology, told the BBC, adding that some diseases were easier to detect than others.

“In a laboratory diagnosis, there is a lot of regulation that goes on behind the scenes to make sure that your results are meaningful.”

Dr Chapman added that he was aware of instances where people took a smartphone picture of a microscopic image of their blood and sent it to an expert.

The Athelas app won a prize as Y Combinator held its first “hackathon” last weekend, where teams come together and are invited to create software together in a limited amount of time.

Mr Tandon won an interview with YC to be in its next batch of start-ups. The California-based accelerator counts billion-dollar start-ups such as Airbnb, Reddit, and Dropbox among its alumni.

Cardiovascular disease profiles NHS England

Public Health England’s National Cardiovascular Intelligence Network (NCVIN) has published its first cardiovascular disease profile for each of the 211 CCGs in England.

Public Health England’s () National Cardiovascular Intelligence Network () published its first cardiovascular disease profiles for each of the 211 clinical commissioning groups () in England today (5 August 2014). The profiles highlight important facts about these conditions and include information on the leading risk factors such as smoking and obesity.

Following the recommendations of the Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes Strategy to treat coronary heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and stroke as a single family of conditions, the profiles bring together information about each of these.

Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer of adults after cancer and is a common reason to premature death. Over recent decades much has already been achieved in reducing the number of people dying from these conditions but many people still experience a reduced quality of life as a result or die prematurely. In 2012 it was recorded that 33,258 people died from heart disease, stroke or vascular disease under the age of 75 years. By using these profiles local areas can identify opportunities for further improvement, building on their success to date while planning to tackle emerging issues such as an aging population and increased levels of obesity.

In coming weeks, as well as the profiles will release an interactive version of the data which allows to compare themselves with others, including those in their strategic clinical network (). The interactive version of the data will be available in ’s Fingertip tool.

The is 1 of 5 intelligence networks, with others looking at cancer,mental health dementia and neurology, child and maternal health andend of life. Hosted by , the networks operate across organisations including NHS England, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (), local authorities, charities, academic institutions and others. Their aim is to encourage the use of data and information to improve the quality of care and outcomes for communities, patients and their families.

Visit ’s data and knowledge gateway to access data and analysis tools from across the organisation.

New Phone app emergency alert for medically trained

A smartphone app has been developed that aims to help doctors improve patient survival rates during medical emergencies.

The GoodSAM app alerts those with medical training to nearby emergencies so that potentially life-saving interventions can be given before the arrival of emergency services.

The brainchild of consultant neurosurgeon Mark Wilson, the app enables those with medical training, from doctors and nurses to people with first-aid qualifications, to register as responders.

Digital intelligence blog Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools by Dominic Tyer Novartis buys rights to Google’s ‘smart lens’ technology

Google Novartis Alcon smart lens

 Novartis has licensed Google’s new ‘smart lens’ technology in a deal that will see its eye health unit Alcon work with the technology company develop new types of contact lenses. 

The technology combines non-invasive sensors, microchips and other miniaturised electronics which are so small they resemble bits of glitter embedded within contact lenses.

Google revealed earlier this year it was testing smart contact lens that can measure diabetes patients’ glucose levels via their tears and connect wirelessly with a mobile device to store this information.

Applying the minimally invasive technology within the diabetes arena to reduce the burden of regular blood glucose tests is one of the key areas of interest for Novartis in its new deal with Google.

The other is to help people with presbyopia – age-related long-sightedness that makes it more difficult to focus on objects that are near.

Novartis hopes people with presbyopia who can no longer read without glasses could benefit from a smart lens, either in the form of an accommodative contact lens or an intraocular lens, to help restore the eye’s natural autofocus as part of refractive cataract treatment.

Google Novartis Alcon smart lens health

Beyond these two areas other applications may yet be forthcoming and Novartis has licensed ‘all ocular medical uses’ of Google smart lens technology.

Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said: “We are looking forward to working with Google to bring together their advanced technology and our extensive knowledge of biology to meet unmet medical needs.

“This is a key step for us to go beyond the confines of traditional disease management, starting with the eye.”

For Jimenez’s company the deal between Alcon and the Google[x] team – which is tasked with finding new solutions to major global problems – fits into Novartis’ plans to “evolve technology to manage human diseases and conditions”, where its initiatives include a recently tie-up with quantified self firm TicTrac.

Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, said: “Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturisation of electronics to help improve the quality of life for millions of people. We are very excited to work with Novartis to make this dream come true.”

The agreement, which remains subject to anti-trust approvals, would also allow Google to avoid having to deal with some of the “painful regulation” Brin sees in the health tech space.

Google Smart Lenses Get Boost From Alcon Owner Novartis

Google Inc. (GOOG) is teaming up with Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG (NOVN) to develop smart contact lenses with embedded electronics to improve vision and monitor health.

Novartis’s Alcon unit will work with Google’s secretive Google X division on lenses with non-invasive sensors, microchips and embedded miniaturized electronics to monitor insulin levels for people with diabetes, or to restore the eye’s natural focus in people who can no longer read without glasses, Basel-based Novartis said in a statement today. No terms of the deal were disclosed.

Novartis expects to get the first prototypes by early next year and may start marketing the products in about five years, Novartis Chief Executive Officer Joe Jimenez said in a phone interview today. Jimenez identified eye care as one of three key divisions, along with branded and generic drugs, in announcing a $28.5 billion restructuring of the company in April that involved selling off the vaccines and animal-health units and buying GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s cancer business.

“The promise here is the holy grail of vision care, to be able to replicate the natural functioning of the eye,” Jimenez said today. “Think about a contact lens that could help the eye autofocus on that newspaper and then when you look up it would autofocus in the distance.”

Smart contact lens prototype. Courtesy ©Google

Marketing Plan

Novartis rose 0.3 percent to 80.65 Swiss francs at 1:18 p.m. in Zurich. The stock has gained 20 percent in the past year, including reinvested dividends, compared with a 21 percent advance in the Bloomberg Europe Pharmaceutical Index.

Jimenez said Novartis will be responsible for the marketing and commercialization of the products, and that both companies will benefit financially, without being more specific. Novartis will commit “a significant effort” to developing the lenses to accelerate their development, he said.

Jimenez said Novartis had tried for years to develop a lens that would replicate the function of the eye, and held talks with Google X’s Andrew Conrad in Baselshortly after the Mountain View, California-based company said in January it was developing smart contact lenses. That announcement came afterBloomberg News reported that Google had met with officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration who oversee medical devices.

Conrad joined Google X last year. He is a former chief scientist at Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings and co-founder of its National Genetics Institute.

“Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturization of electronics to help the quality of life for millions of people,” Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, said in today’s statement.

Jimenez said technology would become more important in pharmaceuticals as patients take a more active role in their own health. Novartis is looking at ways to bring technology to other areas of health care, he said, declining to be more specific.

“Some of our biggest health-care issues that we will face over the next 10 years are going to be solved by bringing together high technology with biology,” he said. “More and more health issues will be addressed in a non-traditional approach like this.”

UK cloud adoption swells by 61% in four years

Some 78% of UK organisations have formally adopted at least one cloud-based service, giving cloud a mainstream deployment status, an annual cloud research has found. UK cloud adoption has grown by 61.5% since 2010 when the annual study began.

The Vanson Bourne annual study, conducted in June 2014 on behalf of cloud industry body CIF, found a 15% growth in cloud adoption over the previous research in September 2013. The industry body estimates the annual growth rate will be 20% by the end of September 2014.


The research also revealed that enterprise IT in the UK is predominantly hybrid. While most businesses have adopted cloud services, about 85% of them also continue to run on-premises servers or datacentres.

Among the key cloud adoption trends in the UK, the study found that large enterprises showed highest rates of adoption, at just over 80%. The adoption rate among small and medium businesses stood at around 75%, with public sector organisations lagging at around 68%.

The study also explored the drivers of cloud adoption and found that the flexibility of cloud as a delivery model remained the primary reason for adoption in the private sector. Operational cost savings were the main motive for the public sector (21%).

Of those using cloud computing services, nearly half (45%) said they used only one formally. Only 14% of respondents said they used four or more, with about 28% using two and 13% using three services in the cloud.

The use of web hosting, email, CRM, data backup and disaster recovery remained the most popular cloud services among UK organisations.

One surprise finding of the study was that, despite the data privacy and security concerns about the cloud in the post-Prism era, respondents were almost unanimous (98%) in reporting no security breaches from their use of cloud services. A majority (56%) said that Prism revelations have not led them to do anything differently.

2015 will trigger new cloud growth spurt

According to CIF, adoption of cloud services by enterprises will rise even further over the next year when Microsoft ends support for Windows Server 2003. As many as 61% of respondents are still running Windows Server 2003.

Alex Hilton, CEO of CIF, said: “Over the next year we can say with some confidence that first-time cloud adoption will increase by 12 points – or 15%.” If this is borne out, then 90% of all businesses in the UK will be using at least one cloud service by the end of 2015.

“In the near term adoption will be driven in part by the end of support for Windows Server 2003, which concludes in July 2015,” Hilton added.

CIF also estimated that around 10% of businesses will adopt a cloud-first IT strategy while an equal number will remain purely on on-premises infrastructure.

“The remaining 80% will have a hybrid IT environment,” Hilton said. “This means that nine out of 10 companies will continue to invest in on-premise IT alongside and integrated with cloud solutions.”

Clare Barclay, general manager of Microsoft UK, and a CIF member, said: “What is clear is that hybrid IT is fast becoming the principal technology within business. The research has confirmed that the role of IT is now firmly established as an enabler of services, business agility and transformation rather than just a cost-centre to deliver services and devices.”

Nick East, chief executive of Bath-based cloud provider Zynstra, said: “This research showed that over half of SMBs are running IT systems that are close to the end of their supported life.”

SMBs are turning to cloud, with 69% saying they consider an infrastructure refresh to be an opportunity to adopt cloud.

“With this in mind, SMBs need to consider which cloud solutions are going to be the best fit for them in the future. Leaving it until the end-of-support date has passed is going to cause a major IT headache,” warned East.

What will it take for wearables to go mainstream?

Biosensing wearables have recently drawn attention from big companies such as Apple, Google and Samsung, but the devices still have a long way to go before they achieve mainstream acceptance.

That’s the finding of areport released Mondayfrom Rock Health, the Mission Bay accelerator that seeds digital health startups.

Many investors are betting that biosensing wearables — gadgets that continuously monitor a user’s physiological signs, such as Fitbit and Jawbone —  will be the next major trend in consumer electronics. Companies in that industry raised $229 million in venture funding in 2013, a big increase from $20 million in 2011, according to Rock Health. At the same time, the technology that goes into making these devices work is more compact and advanced than ever.

Other companies are taking notice. At its developers conference last week, Apple unveiled  a new Health app, which gives users a dashboard of their health and fitness data, and a tool for developers called HealthKit. The week prior, Samsung showed off a prototype for a smart watch that can detect users’ heart rate, temperature and other vital signs. And Google is also working on a contact lens that’s meant to help diabetics monitor their glucose levels.

But while consumers may be buying wearables, many aren’t using them for very long. According to a survey by Endeavor Partners, one-third of U.S. consumers who have bought an activity tracker stop using it within the first six months.

“If people found great value in devices, they would continue to use them,” said Malay Gandhi, managing director of Rock Health. “That’s just not happening today.”

For wearables to become accepted, Gandhi said, devices will need to become more functional — that is, tell people useful information and advice about their health, rather than just telling them what their heart rate is, for example. Gadgets must provide reliably accurate information. And they must offer convenience, whether they have easily rechargeable batteries or they constantly synchronize data between the device, the smartphones and cloud storage.

If companies go down this path, Gandhi said, “We see something that does become disruptive over time.”

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