As 2012 nears its end, we have reached the time of year for predictions of which trends and technologies will influence our lives in the coming year. Silicon Valley will no doubt be a place for first movers, and here is the chance to tap into what is to come.
A tendency that has been on the rise in 2012, and which we will see to a bigger extent in 2013 is the emergence of the personal ecosystem, where your devices will be connected and therefore being able to tell you what is going on in your home, at work or how you are doing with regards to your personal health. This can be done through the increasing amount of sensors in our smart devices as well as the accessories that are now obtainable for smart phones. Not only will our devices be able to tell us the status quo, they will also get to know us so well that they will start suggesting information which they believe will be useful for us based on where we are going. Yes, our phones, tablets, computers and other electronic equipment will be able to predict future choices we have to make and help us pick the right one!
While being surrounded with more and more complex technologies the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) will still be important when designing user interfaces and experiences. The goal is to provide value to users and cutting unnecessary disturbances away. The human-computer interface will not only be kept simple but will increasingly move from touch based interaction to other forms of interaction such as gestures, voice control, eye tracking and who knows when we will move to telepathically communicating with our devices through our brainwaves. As Terry Winograd, a founding member of the Stanford D-school who has advised a number of companies started by his students including Google, recently stated at a lecture, “It is no longer a question of man plus machine. The human-computer interaction is moving from one entity interacting with another to being a completely new form of entity with synergy effects”.
Further, the cloud of opportunities and digital content is pointing in a direction of less ownership but more emphasis on sharing and services. Sharing relates not only to digital content and services such as music and video streaming but also to sharing ones apartment while being away such as it is done through Airbnb or sharing your car through Lyft and Zipcar. These are manifestations of sharing that are already popular and growing, only time can tell which other services will continue this pattern in 2013. This transition is clearly evident with new business models as we move away from sales of software and physical products towards leasing, rental and service fee based revenue models.
If you are curious and want to read more, have a look at these two Fast Company articles:
A great delegation of Danes representing start-ups, established organisations and public organisations visited Silicon Valley to gain insights on health care in the US. Health CareVan 2.0 aimed at exploring how health technology can help patients and stakeholders support and smoothen the health journey, and provide better quality-of-life, whether this be in the formalized hospital system, clinics or at home. Through inspiring sessions, keynotes and site visits, every aspect of the patient’s health journey from promotion, prevention and treatment to rehabilitation was studied. Included amongst the days of conferences and sites-visits was a workshop at the Druker Center.
In this workshop Danish and American care providers were introduced to the organization of health care in their respective countries, and what were the key challenges to be overcome in each nation. After the initial overview, the workshop focused on limiting social isolation and the successful aging amongst seniors. The Danish and American participants – all active in the health care sector – discussed the topic and found contrasts as well as comparisons in the approach, funding, stakeholders and measures taken in eldercare between the two countries.
While Denmark has a very strong system in place for dealing with health care in general as well as caring for the elderly, seniors in the US rely more on their immediate network. Though elderly care is extensive and very well-organised in Denmark, one may ask whether we are taking a backseat and relying too much on the system in Denmark? Further, can the US care healthcare industry learn from Danish care-at-home initiatives?
All in all it was an afternoon of great discussions, knowledge sharing and reflections upon the current reality of senior care in the US as well as in Denmark. One thing is for certain, meeting sector professionals from another country on a Wednesday afternoon planted seeds for directions of senior care development and relationships will enable further sharing in the future.
Read more about the experiences of the delegation taking part in Health CareVan 2.0 here.
Today it is possible to work across great distances by use of modern communication technologies. This is a great advantage for us at Innovation Center Denmark as we are acting as a bridge between Denmark and Silicon Valley. Emails, calls and video conferences keep us in touch as we are not often able to be physically present. But there is one minor issue that the rapidly growing world of technologies has not solved yet, and that is time! We still have not found the tool that takes the fact that we live and work in different time zones out of the equation.
Therefore, we still need to consider the fact that Denmark is nine hours ahead of us in Silicon Valley. So we have to work around the time issue in the old fashioned manner. We are lucky to have great colleagues and business partners in Denmark and can often call them in the evening (Danish time that is…). But if we have meetings with Denmark we need to get into the office very early, or stay rather late.
Mikkel, the new innovation intern, and I, Susanne, the new Invest in Denmark intern, had a bit of a taste of that last week. The innovation team had a US to Denmark video conference with the Danish SCALEit companies who are soon to join us here in Silicon Valley, which Mikkel had the pleasure of facilitating. He ended up sleeping on the office floor afterward, but was was good to go in the morning for yet another day at the office.
I participated in phone conferences with Denmark this week that began at 7am, which thanks to the willingness to stay late in Denmark is not even that isn’t too early, but combined with my commute from San Francisco, it was a little tough – I had to get up at 4 am! Luckily, the exciting projects that we have going on at the Center make it all worth it. While time remains a factor that we have to plan for, it is not a challenge that we think twice about meeting.
By Susanne Kolle, Invest in Denmark Associate