Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

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IBM Global SmartCamp Finals: Next Week In NYC

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IBM’s SmartCamp Global Finals are slated to be held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on February 7th.

The SmartCamp initiative was launched in 2010 with the goal of identifying early-stage entrepreneurs who are developing business ventures that would align with the IBM Smarter Planet vision, and give them the visibility, mentoring, and resources that only a large company like IBM can provide.

On the 7th, eight startups from around the world will compete in New York City for the title of “IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.”

The IBM SmartCamp Global Finals will bring together leading venture capitalists, industry experts, press, analysts, entrepreneurial organizations and academics to network and celebrate entrepreneurship.

The Global Finals will feature eight startup finalists from around the world, from Kenya to France to Singapore. The eight finalists not only come from all walks of life, but they offer a broad range of innovative solutions that all have the potential to make the planet a whole lot smarter.

Finalist HistoIndex, a startup from Singapore, has an imaging solution which will allow for earlier detection and better treatment of fibrosis.

GetWay, a big data startup from Brazil, enables any industry to precisely monitor real-time sales data in retailers spread all over a territory.

And QuintessenceLabs, from Australia, has harnessed the properties of nature as described by quantum science to fortify the protection of data in-transit, at-rest and in-use.

You can be a part of the excitement on February 7th at the SmartCamp Global Finals, where you’ll have the opportunity to network with innovators, business leaders, and experts from around the world, hear the startup finalists’ presentations, and witness the naming of a new IBM Entrepreneur of the Year.

Go here to learn more and to register to attend the event. As an FYI, I had the great privilege of helping cover the event last year in San Francisco, and recorded a video with Scott Laningham (embedded in this blog post) where I summarized what I learned.

Personalizing Cancer Treatment

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I hate cancer.  I really hate it.

I mean really.  Really really really.

I’ve lost more friends and family to cancer than I care to count.  I’ve lost an uncle to cancer. My two aunts. My grandfather.  My grandmother.

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IBM's Watson technology is being put to new use in personalizing cancer treatments in a partnership with world-renowned cancer treatment provider, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

In the last year, I’ve lost two good friends, and another one before them, several years ago, all wayyy too early (early 30s to mid 40s).

I hate cancer.

So I was pretty stoked about our announcement yesterday where my virtual brother, as Scott and I recently joked with Watson GM Manoj Saxena, is getting another form of unemployment.

First, there was Watson’s gig at Wellpoint, helping doctors with diagnoses.  Then we learned Watson was heading to work at Citibank to help out on Wall Street.

Now Watson is being put to use at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in an effort to help oncologists obtain detailed diagnostic and treatment options based on updated research that will help them decide how best to care for an individual patient.

MSKCC’s world-renowned oncologists will assist in developing IBM Watson to use a patient’s medical information and synthesize a vast array of continuously updated and vetted treatment guidelines, published research and insights gleaned from the deep experience of MSKCC clinicians to provide those individualized recommendations to doctors. It will also help provide users with a detailed record of the data and evidence used to reach the recommendations?

You can learn more about this new evidence-based approach to cancer treatment in the video below.


Oncology treatment is a complex arena, and yet cancers are the second most common cause of death in the U.S., second only to heart disease.

In fact, the American Cancer Society projects that 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year with outcomes varying wildly across the country.

Cancer isn’t a single disease with one footprint of cause, but rather, with some having hundreds of sub-types, each with a different genetic fingerprint.

Significant discoveries in molecular biology and genetics in the past two decades have delivered new insights into cancer biology and strategies for targeting specific molecular alterations in tumors. But in the process, these advances have also ratcheted up the complexity of diagnosing and treating each case.

“This comprehensive, evidence-based approach will profoundly enhance cancer care by accelerating the dissemination of practice-changing research at an unprecedented pace,” said Dr. Mark G. Kris, Chief, Thoracic Oncology Service at MSKCC and one of the clinicians leading the development effort. He noted that 85 percent of patients with cancer are not treated at specialized medical centers and it can take years for the latest developments in oncology to reach all practice settings.

Using Mobile Phones and Social Networks to Fight Non-Communicable Diseases

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Here’s some shocking statistics: According to the World Health Organization, nearly two-thirds of all deaths occur due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which contribute to more than 60 percent of deaths worldwide.

Over the coming decade, some 388 million worldwide will die of one or more chronic illnesses and the cumulative losses in global economic output due to NCDs will total $47 trillion by 2030.

But before you go jump off a tall building, some new solutions developed by university teams could soon be harnessed to help manage the glowing global problem of such NCDs like asthma, diabetes, stroke, and cancer.

As part of the NCD Challenge, sponsored by IBM and pharmaceutical maker Novartis, a global competition was held to bring together industry and academia to create innovative, easy-to-use solutions that help fight the human and social burden of NCDs.

Like a social-media enabled support system for pregnant women with gestational diabetes and an advanced smart-phone service, both of which could have tremendous impact in managing diabetes and other diseases.

Developing World Solution: 2Vidas

Winners of the competition were the Hass School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, and ESADE Business School-Universidad Ramon Llull in Barcelona, Spain.

The developing world solution, from Berkeley, involved “2Vidas,” a pharmacy-based membership program for low- to middle-income pregnant women to address the growing problem of diabetes in Mexico.

The project’s aim is to make a lasting health impact on two lives during a finite period in which women have increased motivation to take better case of themselves for the health of their babies.

The program works by providing pregnant women access to monitoring tools at local pharmacies, support through peer-led sessions, and encouragement via positive SMS messaging that rewards self-management and offers health tips.

The potential economic impact is the ability to save women 58-98% of out-of-pocket monitoring costs, depending on frequency of use, and the health system an average of $110 per enrolled women per year through improved diabetes control — lowering the risk profile of the mother’s pregnancy and the baby’s propensity for NCDs.

2Vidas membership program will deliver an estimated $10.4 million in systemic cost savings and $475,00 in added value creation over five years.

Developed World Solution: Dr. Diabetes

Developed by the ESACE Business School-Universidad Ramon Llull, the Barcelona-based team’s effort, “Dr. Diabetes,” utilizes a handheld device with an application and two cloud servers.

It is a total solution designed to provide diabetes awareness, monitoring, and management to patients with chronic illness, initially for China.

It also provides early awareness to the public and streamlines diabetes management for patients. The solution provides medical data via cloud computing to physicians for accurate diagnosis, and to pharmaceutical companies and hospitals for efficient research and development.

The solution is designed to be scalable to support other NCDs. It is designed to lower the risk of complications, decrease treatment costs to patients by up to 73%, and decrease their hospital visits by 65%.

Winning teams were recognized this week during the NCD Awards Ceremony at IBM headquarters in Armonk, NY, and Novartis headquarters in East Hanover, New Jersey.

People interested in learning more and in joining the conversation on the topic of fighting non-communicable diseases can do so in the People for a Smarter Planet on Facebook, and via Twitter at #NCD.

They can also join in the “Smarter Healthcare” group on LinkedIn.

IBM SmartCamp Global Finals: IBM’s Manoj Saxena Outlines The Commercial Opportunity Of Watson

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When it comes to being an entrepreneur, IBM’s general manager for its Watson Solutions group has been there, done that, and got the t-shirt.  Twice.

IBM Watson GM Manoj Saxena explains to the IBM SmartCamp finalists the commercial opportunity IBM's Watson technology presents to the world, even as he shares his own unique experiences as an entrepreneur.

When Manoj hit the stage at this afternoon’s IBM SmartCamp Global Finals in San Francisco to explain why he’s back at a big company like IBM, he started with his own start in mind.

Though he’s been with IBM for five years, and had an early background in corporate America at 3M, he started his own company in 1998 (Exterprise), which was acquired in 2001 before he started another company, Webify, which was later acquired by IBM.

One of the reasons he has since stayed at IBM, Manoj explains, is that “it’s the place to be if you want to have impact and change the world.”

He continued: “As you grow older, you start to understand what your core competence is, and mine is converting PowerPoints to products to profits.”

Manoj explained how startup culture and reality has changed dramatically from the dot com boom to present times.  In the past, you would build it and they would come, and it was all about eyeballs, traffic, and the amount of money raised as a badge of honor.

Today, if they come, you can then go build it, but you’d be well advised to validate THEN scale, and that actual revenues are the path to profitability.  Moreover, it’s advisable to take as little money up front as possible, so that you can focus on building value, a business, and not just a startup.

Ultimately, Manoj explained, companies are bought, not sold, and if you focus on building a business around a greater purpose, the riches will come.

He then turned to Watson, and the role the Watson technology is playing as IBM works to build a smarter planet.

Watson, Manoj explained, was a part of an IBM research project that followed in the spirit of the Deep Blue/Kasparov chess match of 1997, but that this time around, more focus was put on the commercialization of the technology.

What made Watson so unique was that not only is it smart at answering questions, but also that it can process and analyze 200 million pages in three seconds. The business implications of such a capability in our emerging data-drowning environment are critical. There are now 2 billion people on the Web, and “businesses on a smarter planet where people are dying of thirst in an ocean of data.”

So, Watson has been geared towards some select industries initially, namely healthcare and financial services, with others yet to come.

On the healthcare front, Manoj revealed some startling statistics. One in five diagnoses today are estimated to be inaccurate or incomplete, and there are 1.5 million errors in the way medication are prescribed, delivered, and taken in the U.S. alone each year.

And yet 81% of physicians report spending five hours or less per month reading medical journals, even as medical information doubles every five years.

Which is where Dr. Watson’s technology can help doctors with their diagnoses.  Not to replace doctors, but to help them winnow down to the most likely diagnosis based on Watson’s ability to rapidly analyze millions of likely scenarios and generate and evaluate those hypotheses to identify the “best” outcome.

As Manoj suggested, think of it as a navigation system for doctors.

Written by turbotodd

February 2, 2012 at 11:48 pm

IBM SmartCamp Global Finals – San Francisco: Not Your Typical Camp Experience

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I never was much one for camp, save for the Boy Scouts day camp I used to attend every Texas hot summer.

There was one particularly memorable time at camp.  One of the parents was driving us home for the day, and the next thing I knew, I was rolling along the pavement.

Me, not the car.  The car kept going, until the parent realized I had inadvertently opened the door and rolled out onto the shoulder of the road.

Fortunately, nobody was behind us, and I got back into the car, a little worse for the wear, and even played in my Little League baseball game that evening despite the new strawberry on my leg.

But that was a different kind of camp, in a very different time and place.

And over the past year, IBM has been holding camps all over the world.  “Smart Camps,” where IBM venture capitalists look for the brightest startup companies around the world.

Because for IBM, innovation from the startup community is essential to our mission of building a smarter planet.

No company, including IBM, can all of that on their own.

So over the past year, IBM’s been searching the world for the best and the brightest startup companies.

And as I write this, I’m on my way to San Francisco, California, “startup central,” if you will, to learn more about the finalists in IBM’s Smart Camp competition, and to learn more about the innovative new solutions they’re working on to help address some of the toughest challenges cities face every day, including those like traffic, healthcare, retail, and communications, among others.

So what is IBM’s role in all this, aside from the competition itself? IBM is helping convert startups to “speedups,” by helping provide coaching and connections to IBM clients and partners.

IBM is working to help get these startups to market faster, while also providing IBM clients with the hottest new technologies.

Some Background On IBM SmartCamps

A quick flashback to see how this has fared in the past: The finalists for the 2010 SmartCamp finals went on to generate more than $50 million in VC/angel funding in the year following their SmartCamp appearance!

This week, nine technology start-ups from the business analytics realm, and from around the globe, are competing to be named “IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.”

These nine finalists were selected among nearly one thousand applicants, and by winning their local SmartCamp competition, earned a spot in the finals to go head-to-head with the best in the world. There were nine SmartCamps held in 2011, including in Austin, Texas; New York, NY; Bangalore, India; Tel Aviv, Israel; Shanghai, China; Rio de Janiero, Brazil; London, England; Istanbul, Turkey; and Barcelona, Spain.

Some of my favorite cities around the world!

The IBM SmartCamp Global Finals will bring together hundreds of leading VCs, industry experts, press, analysts, and academics to network and celebrate entrepreneurship.

For now, I’m going to decamp the plane and head into San Francisco, where the week’s tidings are already underway.  Keep an eye on this blog for further coverage.

IBM To Acquire Cúram Software

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IBM has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cúram Software Ltd. to help governments improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accessibility of social programs for smarter cities.

Today, IBM acquired Curam Software, a leading provider of social program software solutions, delivering best-in-class solutions for social enterprises globally including, health and human services, workforce services, and social security organizations.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cúram Software is used in more than 80 government agency projects around the world to provide the most appropriate social programs to citizens and their families in a timely manner, deliver services more effectively, and continuously monitor progress toward achieving people’s social and economic potential.

Who Is Cúram Software?

Cúram Software is the leading provider of social program software solutions, delivering best-in-class solutions for social enterprises globally including, health and human services, workforce services, and social security organizations.

Using Cúram’s solutions, agencies can immediately reap the benefits of client-centric business processes and an outcomes-driven integrated service delivery model Cúram’s solutions, underpinned by the Cúram Social Industry Platform, combines the advantages of software built specifically for social programs, an enterprise platform and service-oriented architecture with the business and technical flexibility required to allow agencies to implement solutions to meet their strategic objectives.

Cúram, which means “care and protection” in Irish, was founded in 1990 and is based in Dublin, Ireland, with offices throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and India.  One of the company’s investors was Enterprise Ireland, which helps Irish companies achieve global success.

How Is Cúram Software Used?

Cúram social managment software is used by health and human services, workforce services, and social security organizations around the world to deliver welfare, social insurance and both individual and employer based social programs.

It allows cities and governments to provide a single view of benefits and services available across agencies, levels of government and private and not-for-profit organizations.

The Social Industry Platform includes processes to deliver all types of programs and offers the flexibility needed to quickly update them as policy makers react to different economic times.

Cúram Software’s Platform also allows government and providers to focus on lowering overall program costs by ensuring that the benefits and services provided address core issues and that people become more self-sufficient.

Cúram And IBM’s Smarter Cities Initiative

Through its Smarter Cities initiative, IBM helps cities and governments serve citizens better by adopting more intelligent and efficient ways to analyze data, anticipate problems and coordinate resources.   IBM has led more than 2,000 projects to achieve these goals and through its acquisition of Cúram Software, IBM expects to extend its leadership in this area.

IDC Government Insights estimates the new Smarter Cities information technology market opportunity at $34 billion in 2011, increasing more than 18 percent per year to $57 billion by 2014.

Today’s news also builds on IBM’s Smarter Cities initiatives in Ireland.  Last year the company opened its first Smarter Cities Technology Center in Dublin at IBM’s R&D Lab,  where IBM works with city authorities, universities, small and large businesses to research, develop and commercialize new ways of making city systems more connected, sustainable and intelligent.

With the addition of the Cúram Research Institute — which is working to develop and deploy new business models for managing social programs — IBM will enhance its ability to help clients increase the social and economic potential of people and their families.“

We are working to help cities and governments at all levels transform the way they interact with citizens while improving efficiency,” said Craig Hayman, General Manager of IBM Industry Solutions.  “We all have stories to tell about standing in long lines or making countless phone calls to gain access to government services, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Together with Cúram, IBM can transform the way citizens do business with government in a way that benefits everyone.”

Since 1999, IBM and Cúram have collaborated on federal, state, local, and provincial-level social program solutions around the world.  More than 90 percent of Cúram’s clients use IBM WebSphere middleware and nearly 70 percent of its clients use IBM hardware.  Cúram’s software is certified for use with the IBM Government Industry Framework and has been part of IBM Global Business Services’ Integrated Case Management solution since 2001.

“After 13 years of experience working with IBM, we know our companies are an excellent fit”, said John Hearne, CEO, Cúram Software.  “Many of our clients already use IBM technologies and services, and they will benefit from working with Cúram and IBM as one.  Through IBM’s global reach, we can grow our client base by bringing the benefits of Cúram’s Social Industry Platform to citizens around the world.”

IBM’s announcement of its plan to acquire of Cúram Software follows a series of moves IBM made this year to enhance its offerings for cities and governments.   In June, the company introduced the IBM Intelligent Operations Center, which provides a unified view of all city agencies so officials can predict events and quickly respond.  Shortly thereafter, IBM announced it planned to acquire i2, a leading provider of intelligence analytics for crime and fraud prevention.  The acquisition was completed in October.

After the acquisition is completed, Cúram Software will be integrated into IBM’s Software Group, which is a key driver of growth and profitability for the company.  Cúram has approximately 700 employees.

In addition to its headquarters in Dublin, the company has offices in Herndon, VA.; Toronto; Frankfurt, Germany; Canberra, Australia and Bangalore, India.  The acquisition is anticipated to close by the end of December subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and applicable regulatory reviews.

To learn more visit www.cúramsoftware.com.

A Challenge For Better Health

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According to the World Health Organization, nearly two-thirds of all deaths occur due to non-communicable diseases, of which almost 80 percent are in developing countries. Over the coming decade, some 388 million people worldwide will die of one or more chronic illnesses.

However, with concerted action, research and new innovations, at least 36 million premature deaths could be averted by 2015.

That’s where the new NCD Challenge comes in.

This past week, IBM and Novartis announced the NCD Challenge, a competition among a number of the world’s leading universities designed to tap the inventiveness of students to find new ways to address the rise of non-communicable diseases in both developing and developed countries.

Illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma and diabetes are a global growing health concern with a far-reaching impact on the world’s healthcare systems.

The NCD Challenge is engaging teams of university students and faculty to design creative and entrepreneurial solutions to this growing problem.

The NCD Challenge is engaging teams of university students and faculty to design creative and entrepreneurial solutions to the rise of non-communicable diseases in both developing and developed countries.

Competing teams in the NCD Challenge will have a broad range of flexibility to develop new solutions that can scale to support both large and small populations in developing and developed countries. Each will compete to create new ways to promote disease awareness, to use technology to combat NCDs, and promote more efficient ways to provide care.

The teams are supported by IBM and Novartis with mentors and subject matter coaching to provide industry expertise that will complement their knowledge and research. IBM and Novartis created the competition to bring together industry and academia and act as a catalyst for new thinking in this area.

“Encouraging innovation and engaging university teams to address the unmet needs of millions of patients affected by chronic illness could have a far-reaching impact on our healthcare system,” said Katherine Holland, general manager, IBM Life Sciences. “IBM and Novartis are jointly sponsoring this competition to encourage the creation of new solutions that will make a difference to one of the world’s major health epidemics.”

Universities participating in the competition include: University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business; Duke University School of Medicine; Schulich School of Business; University of Melbourne;  London Business School; Said Business School, University of Oxford; University of Fribourg, in collaboration with Inselspital Bern;  Karolinska Institutet; Copenhagen Business School; and Jordan University.

The competition will run through December 9, 2011. Winners will be announced in January 2012.

The NCD Challenge is a key part of IBM’s Celebration of Service, a program designed for IBMers around the world to volunteer and help with civic challenges and societal needs.

This year marks IBM’s centennial and healthcare continues to be one of its most important areas of industry focus. The company spends more than $6B a year on R&D and IBM is one of the few technology companies with large teams of physicians and other clinicians on staff to ensure healthcare’s most pressing needs are met.

You can learn more about the NCD Challenge here.

Written by turbotodd

October 10, 2011 at 3:35 pm

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