Archive for category Big Data -Cloud -IoT-Software -Mobile -Entrepreneurship

Lessons from Shanghai, China: Strategy for containment & care during Covid-19 


Recently, CABS, the Chinese American Biopharmaceutical Society hosted a webinar on the topic,  “COVID-19 Clinical Treatment and Research Experiences from China”, with Dr. Wenhong Zhang. Dr. Zhang is Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases in Shanghai and leader of Anti-Covid-19 team. He is also on Chinese Society of Infectious Disease and with Chinese Association of Internal Medicine. During the fight against Covid-19, Dr. Zhang led the Shanghai team to formulate a clinical treatment and containment plan.

 

Night, City, Shanghai, Asia, East, Architecture, Urban

An article in scientific publication Lancet predicted in late January that after Wuhan, Shanghai can be the epicenter of the virus with as many as 800,000 cases. However, with very early focus on containment and reasonable social distancing (even without complete lockdown measures), Shanghai managed to restrict the spread to about 4,000 cases. The key was that the healthcare system went on full alert when they had their very first case of a person traveling from Wuhan.

 

Dr. Zhang shared many details of their process for containing the spread and answered questions sent by the audience members. I have captured a few of the nuggets from his talk and I am sharing them below.


Diagnosis: Immediately they optimized diagnostics and did all needed tests for suspected patients. Shanghai made separate fever clinics and all patients who met 1 epidemiology criteria plus one clinical criteria were encouraged to go to these clinics. Suspected Covid-19 patients were sent to separate quarantine wards for full testing, and while they awaited results.  If the results came back positive, they were sent to separate hospitals for quarantine stay and were tested again, before release.

 

Further, while in the US some hospitals first tested for flu and other viruses and if the patient tested positive for any of them then they were not tested for coronavirus, Shanghai tested all suspect cases for coronavirus. Dr. Zhang said that they have found that there are a lot of co-infections so a person can have regular flu virus plus coronavirus. Additionally, they found a high negative rate in PCR testing, while a positive rate was around 70%. Therefore, despite negative test results, if the patient was highly suspect than they did more testing. They did not rely on CT scans because they found that a chest CT cannot precisely confirm Covid and all cases needed molecular diagnosis.

 

Detailed process in place: Shanghai had a very detailed process in place for the steps to be taken for patients in the first screen, then first test, then when tested positive, if tested negative, and for followup.  Timely diagnosis and timely distancing and quarantine is very important, said Dr. Zhang. Immediate separation and early control of local transmission is the key to stop the Covid-19 disease spread, said Dr. Zhang.  This is something that did not happen in Italy. Almost all of their early cases were of foreigners. Eventually all of their cases and high death toll has been among the local population.

 

Treatment Options: Dr. Zhang shared that over 95% of the patients recovered and eventually were released. One patient died. There has been debate around anti-viral treatments. Dr. Zhang said, these treatments don’t seem to be effective. China also used hydroxychloroquine (widely touted malaria drug) to treat Covid patients and did not find it to be effective. However, it can have compassionate use since it shows little lasting side effects, said Dr. Zhang. Although he did not observe clinical evidence of anticoagulants, he said, it is possible that early anticoagulation may block clotting and eventually reduce the risk of major organ damage.

 

Respiratory Treatment: Dr. Zhang shared that the most fundamental treatment in keeping patients alive is respiratory treatment. We have a narrow window to stop progression from mild symptoms to severe symptoms, said Dr. Zhang. Low and short duration corticosteroids may stop progression and we need more studies to find that out. Life support for critically ill patients is crucial. Timely intervention with mask oxygen inhalation, nasal cannula oxygen therapy, mechanical ventilation etc. can prolong life until the body’s immune system gets critical time to fight off the virus.

 

Medical Personnel: In Shanghai, strict following of protocol, translated into not a single infection spreading into the healthcare professionals. Highly qualified and standardized process included appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) with gowns, goggles, masks, double layer gloves and shoe covers. Healthcare professionals were asked to never share a meal with others at home, during the time this contagion was active. As far as possible, the patients were kept in negative pressure wards and surfaces were cleaned with disinfectants every 4 hours.

My Comments
Stay tuned for my next article on how China effectively used high tech, specifically big data and coupled it with public awareness and public participation to contain the virus. Please note: I am not a fan of, or in any way endorsing communism or authoritarianism. And yet, perhaps there are lessons even for Western democracies, to pay heed to early signs and implement containment strategies. And that is exactly what Bill Gates was referring in 2015, when he spoke at TedTalks and warned us about a virus pandemic that can possibly kill millions. That is what various scientists have been warning of, for years.

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Summit, IBM supercomputer is our recent hero in the fight against Covid-19


The looming threat of Covid-19 and the grim reality of the toll that novel coronavirus takes on humankind, makes it imperative that we find a way to prevent the spread faster and with less cost. Currently nine out of ten drug therapies fail mostly between phase 1 trials and regulatory approval. The estimated cost of developing a new treatment is around staggering US $2.6 billion.  While this article won’t address it, I want to mention that many bio/pharma companies are working with repurposed drugs to find a cure and at least 69 drugs have been identified as treatment possibilities. Drugs also have side effects and need to be tested for safety. Let us focus for a while on search for the vaccine.

Artificial intelligence icon AI, isometric cloud computing concept, data mining, isometric, neural network, machine programming, vector

Many companies including Moderna, CureVac and BioNTech are working on vaccines. With the help of  Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and other technologies the hunt for new pharmaceuticals and appropriate chemicals is expected to be quicker, cheaper and more effective. Novel coronavirus presents the most unprecedented challenge to date because of the speed with which it spreads. 

Who better than a supercomputer made by a company that has been on the cutting edge of innovation for over a century, to take on this speed challenge? IBM scientists instructed the world’s fastest computer to tackle this challenge at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Summit can run 200 quadrillion computations per second. The scientists ran thousands of simulations to analyse which drug compounds could stop the coronavirus from infecting the host cells. 

Summit, an IBM supercomputer equipped with the “brain of AI” identified 77 compounds (from over 8000 compounds) that could be efficacious in preventing coronavirus from spreading in the host.  This is promising news in humanity’s quest for an effective vaccine against the virus. These findings are published in the journal ChemRxiv and give us hope although road is still long to get there.

With increasing computer processing power and advanced algorithms, AI has been employed to analyze large data sets with greater efficiency and will likely lead to many exciting innovations.  While AI and ML show promise to change every industry sector for the better, artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning have become the most widely discussed topics in the healthcare sector and the excitement keeps growing.  

I will be looking forward to hearing about new innovations AI/ML at #TiEcon2020. Stay tuned for new dates for the conference at http://www.tiecon.org and on this blog.

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Impact of Edge Computing on Changing Work Landscape in Post Covid-19 World 


With the coronavirus travel restrictions and stay in place edicts, there are concerns regarding the future of work. Coronavirus has impacted and disrupted supply chains, has led to canceled conferences and trainings, including postponement of TiEcon 2020, and employees are asked to work from home.

 

However, it is not just a matter of asking people to work remotely, with a laptop. People will need the right tools, secure access to the company network through VPN and other collaboration tools. Additionally, people will need devices that are more powerful and in some cases are smart enough to overtake cloud capabilities to drive new and exciting IOT applications. Increasingly, powerful and smart devices are already helping reduce data center loads.  This ability to do on-device processing and refined analytics remotely, is what is called “edge computing”.  

 

In remote locations where connectivity to centralized locations is limited, edge computing enables speed and efficiency by bringing computation power closer to IOT sensors, and smart phones and closer to end users. As everyday devices continue to become more smart and powerful, employees will be doing more with them and there will be more opportunities to create value for external and internal customers in our changing employment landscape.

 

TiEcon2020 has an excellent lineup of speakers on edge computing, during its upcoming conference before the end of this year. Stay tuned. For tracks and continuous updates, go to www.tiecon.org .

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Diversity & Inclusion helps Recruitment & Retention


People often ask, how does promoting D&I within an organization help in exceeding revenue goals, expand market share, beat competition, and help gain happy customers? Some people may be surprised to hear that the business case for D&I not only exists but is now overwhelming. There is a growing body of research that shows that organizations that effectively weave in D&I into its strategy, policies and practice, tend to benefit in ways that go beyond the optics.

 

Let us just discuss two primary benefits today. A professional journey for an employee begins with getting hired. Research shows that leveraging D&I becomes a valuable asset in attracting the best talent and in retaining good talent. Companies that are diverse and value diversity, get an advantage of getting referrals from diverse sources. 

 

Retention is a big challenge for many organizations, especially when unemployment rates are lower. Employee Benefit News (EBN) reports that the cost to an organization to hire a replacement and train and bring them up to speed, when an employee leaves, is about 33% of a worker’s annual salary. In dollar figures, for an employee earning a median salary of $100,000 a year, it is about $33,000.  Hiring costs may be multiplied several fold for higher level employees, with unique skill sets. In organizations that value and leverage diversity, candidates feel more welcome and comfortable and are therefore less desirous of leaving. In addition to reduced costs, an organization that is competitive in its ability to retain talent also experiences reduced turnover hassle, reduced training time and therefore more productive time, increased overall productivity, better customer experience, knowledgeable company experts, and better morale. 

One, Inclusiveness, Unity, United

As a Diversity and Inclusion trainer, I feel grateful that organizations are increasingly acknowledging this reality and make space for insightful conversations to take place on this issue. However, D&I training should never be about checking off the box and is also less effective when done in reaction to bad publicity or a law suit. D&I conversations are most impactful when engaged pro actively, and when diversity is leveraged as an asset rather than a liability to deal with. This year, the conference at @TiEsv @TiEcon #TiEcon2020 has a track dedicated to discussing diversity and inclusion in organizations. Registration is open at http://www.tie.org .  Also here is a link http://bit.ly/38EWWAU to my diary and more of my thoughts on D&I and some advice to entrepreneurs.

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AI/ML Bootcamp at TiEcon2020


Artificial Intelligence emphasizes the development of machines that think and reason like humans. As this technology is becoming more and more sophisticated where machines are acquiring an ability to learn, reason and self-correct, the applications of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are expanding and are becoming relevant to almost all professional areas. 

Artificial Intelligence, Brain, Think, Control

At TieCon 2020, a bootcamp focused on AI/ML will provide an overview of the methodologies and its implications in many professions. Experts in the field will share information on deploying and monetizing AI applications. 

Dr. Ronjan Nag will lead the workshop. Dr. Nag co-founded the technology company Lexicus that was acquired by Motorola in 1993 and Cellmania that was acquired by Research in Motion in 2010. Later, he served as Vice-President of both Motorola and Blackberry, and served as Chairman of Eratz Labs, which specializes in ML. Currently, Dr. Nag is a Fellow at Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute and is founder and managing director of R42 Group. 

In addition to Dr. Nag, AI/ML bootcamp speakers will include several experts. Dr. David Stevens is an IP attorney specializing in patent prosecution, due diligence, infringement, right-to-practice, freedom-to-operate, licensing and litigation. Dr. Eric Saund, Principal of Saund Laboratories has over 50 patents, is widely published and his prototypes have served thousands of users. Vaidhi Nathan has 30+ years of experience as an entrepreneur and business leader and was founder and CEO of IntelliVision, an AI/Analytics focused company for videos and cameras that was acquired by Nortek Security and Control.  Matteo Colombo has 18 years of information technology and consulting experience and is currently senior executive at KPMG.

In this bootcamp, attendees will learn the basics of how AI techniques work so they can effectively lead data science teams, evaluate business potential of AI projects before investing and critically evaluate AI products for business deals. This is a not-to-miss workshop for professionals who are attending #TiEcon2020 and work in AI/ML related field and need to expand their knowledge base. Registration is open at www.tiecon.org 

 

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Healthcare and High-tech combining to combat Coronavirus Covid-19


As coronavirus is raging on, entrepreneurs and scientists are called upon to come up with innovative ways to deal with this deadly virus. For instance, after 11 Israelis were quarantined after disembarking from a cruise ship in Japan, Israel has become a “Living Lab” for technologies to treat the virus.  Israel, which has a large digital health sector, put out calls to entrepreneurs for proposals for new solutions to contain and combat the disease. Meanwhile, China is also taking a lead in exploring how futuristic technologies powered by artificial intelligence can help identify coronavirus symptoms, find new treatments, and track the spread of the disease.  Chinese scientists sequenced its genome and shared around the world within weeks.

 

Coronavirus, Corona Virus, Covid-19

Unlike MERS, but more like SARS, Coronavirus is very contagious and has a long incubation period when people feel fine as they unknowingly walk around, infecting others. After identifying infected people, it is challenging to care for them while trying to contain the disease. Some healthcare workers who cared for coronavirus patients have themselves died of infection. We also heard that even after learning of highly contagious and deadly CD-19 coronavirus, some healthcare workers from the USA were “improperly deployed” when sent to assist in bringing home the patients infected in China.

 

In caring for coronavirus patients, human touch needs to be avoided and assistance should be provided remotely. Robots and automated technologies are of great help here. Robots are being used to disinfect rooms, take laundry items, help check for symptoms and disease progression, deliver medications and communicate with family and healthcare providers.  Robots help disinfect surfaces and help in killing viruses and bacteria by emitting ultraviolet light.  Drones and self-driving vehicles can deliver medications and supplies, petrol public places, spray disinfectants and do general surveillance. 

 

Silicon Valley’s largest entrepreneurship conference, TiEcon 2020 has a dedicated track on health technologies. Amidst growing fears of coronavirus becoming a pandemic, emerging technologies like drones, robots, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Digital Health and TeleHealth are likely to be game changers. Investors and entrepreneurs alike are focusing on the space with great interest. There will likely be exciting conversations as entrepreneurs from several countries (depending on travel restrictions), converge at TiEcon 2020, at Santa Clara Convention Center in CA, on May 8 and 9. If interested, you can register for the conference at www.TiEcon.org  

 

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Entrepreneurs set to converge at TiEcon 2020


PeterDrucker has famously said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” And that is the central core of the theme at TiEcon 2020.

Image result for tiecon 2020

If you are an entrepreneur then TiEcon 2020 is the place where you want to CONVERGE. There’s plenty here for entrepreneurs. You might find just find the right idea, timely advice, meet a mentor, pair up with a partner, or perhaps connect with an interested investor. Very likely an entrepreneur is likely to find something here that will be a catalyst for them to begin to CREATE the environment to bring that innovation to fruition. TiEcons have always offered an environment to ELEVATE innovation from earliest idea stage to its fullest potential.

TiEcon 2020 tracks are announced and they are extremely relevant to current environment and very exciting. In the coming weeks, you will hear a great deal about the tracks, speakers, and keynotes. There are tracks and events that may offer something for all attendees like entrepreneurship and startup bootcamp. And then there are tracks that we all hear about and are on the cutting edge of new developments like cloud, security, IOT and ML.  There are also tracks and events that feature the human side of an organization and soft mentoring side of this conference like diversity and inclusion and global and mentor connect, and young entrepreneurs.

With convergence of well over 4500 attendees, 220 speakers, 13+ tracks, 1300 industry leaders, from 22+ countries, there is something here for every entrepreneur to sow the seeds for creation of that innovative idea into something magnificent or elevate it to something amazing. If you are intrigued, remember it all starts with convergence at TiEcon 2020. Registration is open at early bird price at www.tiecon.org .

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Imagine how emerging technologies may reshape our world


detail of 3d printer printing a metal pieceAmong the hottest new emerging technologies for 2018, picked by MIT Technology Review, here are some that caught my attention. While 3D printing has been around for a while, it’s only been for plastics, while printing anything in metal is challenging and costly. But recent strides in 3D metal printing that are combining sophisticated software with cheap metal printers (e.g. Lawrence Livermore National Labs, Markforged, Desktop Metal etc.) are enabling precise control of microstructure of metals and will likely enable mass production of parts. Just imagine, you scrape your new Lexus Mini against a pole in the narrow parking space and you get home in the evening and 3D print a new bumper.

VANCOUVER City - CANADAOr imagine a city that makes sense.  A recent project in Toronto, called Quayside is designing urban neighborhoods built around digital technologies. Through an extensive network of sensors, data will be gathered on every aspect of urban life from air quality to noise levels to people’s daily activity patterns and decisions about design and policies will be made to make life more affordable, pleasant, fun and environmentally friendly.

Image of notebook on DNA chains background 
The image symbolizes the innovative technologies in the field of chemistry and Or imagine your baby arriving into the world with a report card that offers probabilities of heart attack, cancer, getting addicted to alcohol or tobacco, or being smarter than average, or being too competitive. LOL.  Through huge genetic studies, some involving more than a million people, this may become possible. It can bring so many new challenges that we better start thinking about all the implications.

Abstract Artificial intelligence. Technology web background. Virtual conceptOr imagine the possibilities of AI. Currently Artificial Intelligence is used mostly in the tech industry. But how AI will transform industries from medicine to manufacturing and energy, are endless. Recently at Ichan School of Medicine in Mount Sinai, a project called “Deep Patient” is based on use of AI to go through mounds of health data, in order to obtain insights about disease risk. With the use of deep learning, a machine learning tool, the computer is learning new things without prior programming. Similarly, at University of Montreal, in an approach known as GAN or a generative adversarial network, two networks are trained on the same data but pitted against each other. This dueling neural networks become proficient and over time gain an independent ability to make sense of the world. And when Artificial Intelligence acquires capability for imagination, the possibilities are endless on how it will impact all aspects of our lives.

You can read about top 10 breakthrough technologies of 2018 at https://www.technologyreview.com/lists/technologies/2018/

Virtual reality, Augmented Reality, Autonomous vehicles and Artificial Intelligence will all intersect with Data, Cloud and will reshape our world in unimaginable ways. Attend TiEInflect 2018 www.TiEInflect.org this Friday and Saturday and get insights into which new technology innovations will have an immediate profound impact on our lives and which ones hold the future potential to turn our world upside down. 

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Exciting Emerging Technologies track at TiEInflect 2018


Emerging Technology and Predictions of Digital Trends 3D Illustration RenderFrom keynote with a catchy title “Silicon to Science Fiction” to a dedicated track on “Emerging Technologies”, TiEInflect 2018 will explore new innovations that may potentially change our world, turn our lives upside down and profoundly impact us; from retail to health to business, and influence how we interact, and whom we interact with. Virtual reality, Augmented Reality, Autonomous vehicles and Artificial Intelligence will reshape the world in which we live, work, encounter health challenges, solve them and the world in which we play.

Woman Using Virtual Reality HeadsetThe Emerging Tech track has panels and speakers who are playing in this hot area and will discuss and explore the trends and opportunities. AI and AR/VR have gained momentum, the hype has begun to settle down, and serious discussions are happening, among investors. How will investors define risk for technologies that do not exist and have yet to define penetration and acceptance by the audience? What sort of government policies will emerge and how will the policies intersect with investment decisions?

Participate in the emerging technologies track at the largest #entrepreneurship conference @TieInflect 2018 and through an exciting mix of keynotes, panelists, industry professionals and interested stakeholders and visionaries get an early insight into how emerging technologies will elevate human experience, in the years to come. Registration is open at www.tieinflect.org

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Challenges and Opportunities in DevOps


Image result for devopsAfter Agile and Waterfall, recent red hot trend in creating optimum software engineering culture in organizations, has been DevOps. DevOps is about unifying software development and operations and aligning it with shared business and product objectives. Creating smoothly functioning DevOps culture helps organizations shorten development cycles and ensure dependable and timely releases.

With DevOps enabling real-time visibility in every layer of software construction, the risk of rapid innovation is reduced as communication barriers are dissolved between teams and feedback loops are shortened. Objective single source data through shared dashboard reduces finger pointing. Companies that have not yet adopted DevOps, increasingly feel the pressure to do so. However, when companies seek to adopt DevOps, they also face challenges.

Image result for not tools, cultureCreating a smoothly functioning DevOps culture, requires creating an optimum environment for the shift in mindset to take hold and enabling a smooth transition process through soft and hard skills training.  Traditionally, goals of Development and Operations are not aligned and handovers between different teams are costly and time consuming. A company seeking to adopt DevOps culture, needs to overcome this mentality and create product aligned team culture, away from project based culture. This is a major mindset shift that may require restructuring in staff and reporting lines, in addition to skills based training. While there is high barrier to entry with microservices, the move to automation and continuous delivery is facilitated by replacing or changing older legacy infrastructure to microservices architecture.

In any organization but more so in one seeking to adopt DevOps culture, people on the team are going to be the most important resources, for a smooth transition. Adopting newer tools may be effective only to the extent that staff receives training to use them and the tools are well integrated with the existing infrastructure.  A shift in culture must be gradual and include change management training to help people embrace the change. It will be easier to bring Dev and Ops teams on board to adopting newer tools if the focus is moved away from personalities and preferences to broader picture and larger, overarching goals of the company.  While the change may be scary at first, adoption may be smoother with objective data and feedback loops from small scale deployments and other teams to see the benefits of it working in real time.

Image result for tieinflectExciting track at TiE Inflect 2018, the largest entrepreneurship conference to take place in May at Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, will feature VCs and industry leaders discussing trends, opportunities, and strategies to deal with challenges. Entrepreneurs with eyes towards innovation in DevOps will also get to do a deep dive in the Startup bootcamp, and may learn to become investor ready, learn to effectively network and maximize visibility, and fine tune presentations and pitches. Register for the conference at www.tieinflect.org .

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