Blockchain in Healthcare: A New Era of Digital Data and Value distribution

Blockchain in Healthcare: A New Era of Digital Data and Value Distribution

The idea of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology was originally released to the world in 2009, almost an entire decade ago. In under ten years, Bitcoin was able to become an incredibly powerful and popular digital currency. Today, it’s not only about the “cryptocurrency” anymore – the underlying technology, known as blockchain, offers a much more flexible solution than just a currency that allows for transactions to be executed online.

Blockchain technology has allowed companies to start developing applications that take advantage of peer-to-peer data distribution and offer better versatility and security over existing database systems. Even companies in the healthcare sector have identified the potential role that blockchain application can play in their facilities, boosting efficiency, improving security, easing transactions, engaging patients and improving other aspects essential to their success.

Blockchain in the Healthcare Sector

The use of blockchain holds a significant number of benefits for the healthcare sector. Not only can this technology help dispensing centers and pharmacies keep better track of their inventory, as well as keep track of the dispensing of medication to patients, but the technology also makes the sharing of patient files between physicians, specialists, subspecialists and even surgeons faster and more convenient. A survey by IBM revealed that as much as 16% of healthcare executives are planning to integrate blockchain technology into their facility and operations within the next year.

Both patients and healthcare facilities stand to benefit from blockchain applications. The decentralized distribution of data allows multiple physicians to study patient files simultaneously, while also allowing the patient to keep a close eye on their current health status. Through blockchain technology, confusion can easily be avoided, and security features can be significantly enhanced when compared to how data is currently stored and shared.

Today, many healthcare facilities also still rely on outdated systems that keep local records of patient files – this can make an accurate diagnosis more difficult, as well as call for additional tests to be performed by physicians. Eventually, this causes a considerable increase in the cost of maintaining a patient-oriented business.

Blockchain technology is helping physicians instantly share patient data with specialists, providing for a more effective way of communicating and ensuring a more accurate diagnosis is made.

This technology is used in different categories within the healthcare system. An excellent example is how DentaCoin has created a revolutionary system through the utilization of blockchain technology. The company has officially announced their own type of cryptocurrency (already accepted as a means of payment by dental clinics, laboratories, suppliers in 16 countries), as well as created several blockchain-based applications that will make dental care more effective for patients and more streamlined than before for dentists and suppliers.

By Dentacoin Foundation co-founder and core developer Jeremias Grenzebach

Crypto enthusiast with a varied background as a developer, copywriter and IT trainer, Grenzebach, was an early entrant into the Blockchain scene. A strong believer in decentralization and transparency, Oswald er-to-peer technology for 8 years. Strong believer in decentralization and transparency.

Equinix’s Hong Kong IBX data centre picked to support financial portal Investing.com’s APAC foray

Global financial portal Investing.com has deployed in Equinix’s International Business Exchange data centre in Hong Kong, as part  of a campaign to target the mainland Chinese market and provide regional customers with access to the latest news and market analysis via stable and fast IT services.

Equinix said the move – which follows previous rollouts in Dallas and Amsterdam facilities – allowed Investing.com to utilise the data centre firm’s Hong Kong Connect service to rapidly interconnect with business partners and end users, while also being able to optimise its regional and local network structure.

equinix_alex_tamEquinix Hong Kong MD Alex Tam welcomed the sign-up, saying the agreement would see it supporting Investing.com to effectively scale its digital infrastructure and move closer to the digital edge.

“Equinix has a long track record of helping global companies to capture the huge opportunities presented by the China market while simultaneously helping Chinese companies to expand overseas,” Tam added.

Investing.com previously served customers in the region via a data centre in Dallas. However, Equinix said, having to access data across this distance caused a latency of up to 250 milliseconds for its users.

HK1“By expanding to the Equinix Hong Kong facility, Investing.com is able to see an immediate reduction in latency, to an average of 50 milliseconds, which has enabled it to secure more users, more page views, more traffic and ultimately more business,” it said.

“Hong Kong is the ideal location for Investing.com as it has close proximity to mainland China and the wider Asia-Pacific region, offering access to a broad range of network services from 80+ providers,” the interconnection specialist said, adding that China is home to increasingly mature investors and brokers, keenly interested in overseas and domestic financial markets.

Citing its Global Interconnection Index, Equinix said  interconnection bandwidth in the APAC market is expected to increase fourfold by 2020, reaching 1,120 Tbps, with content and digital media tipped to grow at a CAGR of 34 per cent.

“Investing.com’s expansion highlights the need for decentralised IT infrastructure to deliver on the needs of today’s highly digital consumers,” said Equinix, noting that the Hong Kong deployment also enabled the financial portal to cut latency and deliver improved experiences in other key APAC markets like Australia and Japan.

 

 

Frost & Sullivan: ‘Are Asia-Pacific economies on the cusp of truly going 100% cashless?’

photo_quahmeilee
Quah Mei Lee, Industry Principal – Telecoms & Payments Strategy, Frost & Sullivan

This year the Asia-Pacific wide trend towards going cashless and achieving ‘Cashless Societies’ seemed closer to reality than ever before. Over the past two years, momentum in the market had driven industry regulators to take positive steps in the right direction resulting in progress.

Meanwhile, government drivers and initiatives have been put into place while an increasing number of companies are now indeed going cashless.

The pace is quickening but worryingly, there seems to be imbalance and misalignment. What we have is a host of companies cramming the market place with local first ‘me too’ payment solutions, but not a lot of companies working towards enabling 100% cashless.

Indeed, our much needed trump card has yet to arrive. There is still potential to disrupt the payments landscape and so much more that we,as representatives of industry can achieve, even with just a few minor tweaks.

I reiterate that if the end goal is to achieve cashless societies, which by definition means 100% cashless, industry focus needs to shift from e-money/credit/debit cards to mobile payments as an enabling solution.

I concede only that it may take a while longer if enabling solutions need connectivity to become faster and cheaper, locally and globally. Until now, key drivers have been the cost effective use of app solutions and developments in digital identities in a fragmented region developing at different paces.

If cash were one day completely removed from circulation, smartphones could be the common denominator across Asia-Pacific but only if connected (globally when required) and paired with solutions incorporating tokenization, biometrics and the use of digital identities. The exception would be in countries where cards are mandated to replace cash but even the simple act of going cashless with cards will act as a catalyst for mobile payments.

The real challenge we are facing today is the fact that cash is seen as a permanent payment option, and that solution providers aren’t developing mobile payments solutions that truly disrupt the payments ecosystem.

Most companies embark on local first campaigns taking solo approaches with few industry partnerships. Payment solutions need a local flavour and presence with global acceptance (if required) in a similar manner to how banks have operated their cards business for over 20 years.

There is not enough emphasis today on solutions that offer global acceptance while focusing on addressing local behaviour, needs and preferences. The closest that we have is Alipay, which has global acceptance pinned down and has partnered for local presence. Unless we are in less developed markets where people are more home bound and travel less, this will continue to be a bottleneck for the payments industry. We need companies to think bigger, to think Global.

There is also not enough of emphasis on getting the fundamentals right. The one failing of the payments industry lies in getting the fundamentals right. After all, what would life be like today if cards were not limited to only a subset of the population? A critical success factor for a payment solution is product strategy. It is not just about having a ready convertible base. Getting the product strategy right would be key to achieving scale and achieving scale is critical to ensuring viability of a payments business model.

Successful seamless, comprehensive solutions did not start from scratch, addressed a gap in the market, offered more than just payments, offered a clear value proposition and had the support of regulations for cross-border regional and global growth. It also incentivizes users in addition to making their life easier. This is where today’s “me too” payments solutions are not adequately addressing market needs.

The right product strategy as well as regulatory and industry alignment, across Asia-Pacific and globally, will be critical for mobile payments to hit mainstream adoption. Today, there isn’t a universal, global alternative payment method accessible to all that can replace cash.

Lessening dependence on cash can be expedited but drastic measures to replace cash can only take place if there were a universal, global alternative payment method accessible to all that can replace cash. To achieve this, we need more global first solution providers and we need local first solutions providers to partner locally, regionally and globally with interoperability as a central theme while at the same time catering to local behaviour, needs and preferences.

An interesting concept would be Alipay as a global merchant acquirer for a global e-money scheme. Indeed, semblance of this concept is already alive in the form of TNG’s global e-wallet alliance albeit with single partners in each market and through use of a common currency i.e. bitcoin, to reduce exchange risk for its users.

The use of mobile biometrics and addressing data protection will address inhibitions to use of mobile payments. Global drivers namely the implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the mandate to use stronger customer authentication via the revised payment system directive (PSD2) in Europe and Mastercard’s implementation of biometrics identification including fingerprint and facial recognition, by April 2019 for its customers will give Asia Pacific mobile payments the much needed boost. Likewise, local drivers need to align globally.

For example, Malaysia’s newly minted minimum standard for mobile payments needs to quickly align globally for it to be effective in replacing cash. With 5G all set to transform industry, our future ecosystem will become more and more intelligent and very much connected. There is tremendous potential for growth in the payments industry, particularly alongside the rapid growth of connected devices in Internet of Things but the solutions have to be cashless and mobile.

In summing up, the future of mobile payments needs to be global first, interoperable and secure. Intentional or not, cash and cards are global solutions. Multiple global e-money schemes might be what the industry needs but for sure, we need to think bigger from now and start thinking global. It is not just the solutions that need to be global, connectivity too.

By Quah Mei Lee, Industry Principal at Frost & Sullivan

Stone & Chalk links up Melbourne, Sydney fintech centres with launch of new ‘mega-hub’

Fintech innovation hub Stone & Chalk is uniting fintech across the eastern seaboard with the launch of a new national capability across its new home at the Goods Shed North in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD innovation precinct, and its residency in the Sydney Startup Hub.

With Melbourne and Sydney combined representing over 80 per cent of all fintech activity across Australia, the new east-coast “mega-hub” will give start-ups, scale-ups, corporates, and investors nationwide opportunities for collaboration and resource-sharing.

Given this Melbourne/Sydney fintech concentration, and with Stone & Chalk already the largest hub in the region, the new mega-hub is set to become a national asset that could cement Australia’s eastern seaboard as a natural centre of gravity for fintech in Australia and across the ASEAN region.

Its launch coincides with the opening of the Victorian Government’s startup agency, LaunchVic, also in the Goods Shed North, where Stone & Chalk Melbourne will now be housed alongside CSIRO’s Data61, That Startup Show, Startmate, Stone & Chalk partner SproutX, and The Medtech Actuator.

0 (2)Alan Tsen, general manager of Stone & Chalk Melbourne said: “What many people don’t realise is that fintech intersects with a large number of other industries. Being able to collaborate under one roof with of a variety of industry verticals is a huge advantage of being positioned within the highly diverse Victorian Innovation Hub.

“We’ve already partnered with other key parts of the Victorian ecosystem to bring this cross-pollination to life, and so are excited to bring our residents even more possibilities for collaboration across other verticals through our residency in the Hub. We believe that bringing all of these possibilities together into a national program will assist the continuing growth of the Australian fintech ecosystem as a whole,” concluded Alan Tsen.

The launch of the mega-hub follows the recent signing of the “UK-Australia FinTech Bridge” between Australia and the UK, which noted that “Australia is a strong global player in fintech with Melbourne and Sydney both ranked in the top ten global financial centres”.

Stone & Chalk CEO, Alex Scandurra, also ran the Barclays accelerator program in London before joining Stone & Chalk, and was inspired by the effects of fintech on the broader UK economy when envisaging the potential benefits of a mega-hub. He wanted to build density for the sector on local shores in the hopes of also creating flow-on effects for adjacent industries.

Alex Scandurra said: “If Australia is to realise the goals of the National Innovation & Science Agenda and become the ‘innovation nation’ we speak about wanting to be, it will require a strong mentality shift away from a competitive mind set amongst start-ups, towards one of collaboration and mutual success.

“This collaboration should also be extended between industry and start-ups. As an example, our Accelerated Commercialisation programs bring together corporate partners with start-ups and scale-ups to solve real commercial opportunities within a structured framework. Only by taking a collaborative approach across the board will we come close to achieving our innovation dreams.”

The work of Stone & Chalk start-ups and scale-ups spans the realm of possibilities within financial services, ranging from open banking and cybersecurity, to blockchain commercialisation, the internet of things, connected devices, insurtech and even agricultural finance.