Thanksgiving In The 21st Century: A Far Cry From How The Pilgrims Did It

Well, it’s that time of year again. Holiday decorations are everywhere you look. Starbucks is serving its drinks in festive red cups. And shoppers are gearing up for huge Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Of course, if you drew the short straw like me this year, none of that matters. This Thanksgiving, while everyone else is out having a good time spreading and basking in holiday cheer, you’ll be spending your day in the kitchen.

But what if you didn’t have to? What if you and your guests could spend the day out and about while your turkey cooked itself? Imagine setting the bird in the oven, monitoring its progress, and even having it baste itself, all while you and your loved ones enjoyed one another’s company.

Not only would this eliminate unnecessary stress and increase your enjoyment of Thanksgiving, it would help ensure you cook the tastiest turkey.

Connected cooking through kitchen automation

If you’ve ever watched Star Trek, you’ve likely seen the food materializer. If not, here’s how it works: You simply press a button, and food magically appears in front of your very eyes – cooked and ready to eat. That’s how easy cooking should be.

Although we’re a few years away from an instant-order kitchen like this, technology does exist that can help simplify the meal-making process.

If you’ve ever prepared Thanksgiving dinner, you know it takes time. There’s prep work to do. You have to cut the vegetables. You have to make the stuffing. You have to put out the cranberry sauce.

But none of that compares to the constant monitoring your meal requires. You need to time everything just right. You need a plan for when to put things in and take things out of the oven. You need to remember to baste the turkey every 20 minutes. You need to keep an eye on the temperature of the oven so your turkey turns that perfect golden brown color. Frankly, it’s exhausting, and it really takes away from the excitement of your holiday.

With innovations in connected cooking, your meal can cook itself. Once you’ve completed your prep work, just pop your turkey and vegetables into the oven, place your cranberries and potatoes on the stove, adjust the cooking settings on your mobile device, and your work is essentially done. Smart basting tools, self-stirring pots, video-streaming capabilities, and auto-off push notifications all work together to let you actually enjoy your holiday.

Three ways innovations help in the kitchen

Technology is ushering in a brand-new age of cooking. In today’s modern world, the latest innovations will revolutionize what you can do in the kitchen by:

  • Increasing the uptime of your appliances: If your appliances are smart enough to cook your food, they’re smart enough to tell you when they’re going to break. The same self-awareness capabilities that help factory machinery predict downtime could be used to help your major household appliances predict when a failure is going to occur and provide you with the best options for repair.

Giving you a:

  • Set-it-and-forget-it option: With a smart kitchen, even the world’s worst chef can prepare a delicious meal. Food packaging now comes printed with scannable QR codes that allow you to auto-program oven settings and times. So you can pop your food into the oven and not even bother to check on it; it’ll come out perfectly every time.
  • Sending you regular cooking updates: Running behind schedule? Fear not. Just have your oven send a text message directly to you and all your guests to let everyone know there’s still 15 minutes left until dinner That way, you can continue talking to your guests instead of constantly running back and forth to the kitchen to check on the food.

The convenience of connected cooking

I’ve seen many articles recently that question whether connected gadgets are truly necessary. Between security concerns and other issues, I understand why people would be skeptical. But when it comes to pure convenience, connected devices can’t be beat.

The ultimate dream of connected cooking is to select a recipe, have your fridge dispense the ingredients, and send your food straight into the oven. Once there, an app would control the oven settings. When your food is ready, you’d receive a notification on your mobile device so you can take it out and enjoy the perfect meal.

What’s more appealing than a fridge-to-table dinner that requires minimal effort?

The Internet of Things is an amazing technology. So amazing, in fact, that it’ll help you make the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.

To meet the market’s expectations for increasingly fast, responsive, and personalized service, business speed will be everything. Find out how innovative processes can enable your enterprise to remain successful in this evolving landscape. Learn more and download the IDC paper “Realizing IoT’s Value – Connecting Things to People and Processes.

Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

Remote Patient Monitoring: A New Standard of Care for 21st Century Healthcare Delivery

I just came from the quadrennial meeting of the 21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, where I noticed some things worth sharing. There’s been a tectonic shift in industry framing of aging — from costs of infirmity to value of capability and contribution of elders. Not too long ago there was resistance to these notions. Today,  the World Health Organization Strategy on Ageing has codified and recast these and other concepts in a new action plan focused on functional ability that’s  being received with universal acclaim (HuffPost).

What strikes me most is that to achieve this collective vision of healthy & active living at all ages we must also see a tipping point in deployed infrastructure for care beyond the hospital setting. Providers and policymakers must accelerate and expand support for caring for people remotely and in their home. Unless remote care becomes ‘standard of care*’  with medical care, we will never get costs under control and society will forever lack a sufficient remote care digital infrastructure to support independent living into old age.

*Standard of Care: The quality of care that a health care provider should have provided, measured by the level of care that a reasonably skilled health care professional would have provided in similar circumstances. (According to

Enhancing Access

Remote patient monitoring could become a new standard of healthcare.

Don’t get me wrong. Remote and in-home care, especially remote patient monitoring (RPM) is happening, and faster than before.  In recent years, there has been an abundance of evidence demonstrating that RPM, integrated into a care plan, leads to benefits for patients, their families, communities and national health care systems overall. Through RPM, physicians, nurses, elder caregivers and other healthcare providers can gain deeper and more objective insights into patient health, and in many cases, help lead to earlier detection and diagnosis, and therefore earlier and more effective treatment and management of multiple conditions. As one ages, there are also benefits for RPM’s role in helping to maintain “functional ability,” itself essential for a healthier, more active and lower-cost aging process.

In an example of RPM delivering tremendous results, research from the University of Mississippi, Ascension Health and Care Innovations shows that RPM technologies can greatly reduce emergency room visits and hospital readmissions. Such tested RPM applications include videoconferencing with healthcare providers, tablet-based patient education and devices that can prompt and track diet, exercise and medication adherence.

RPM in particular is saving medical costs for systems that use it and improving outcomes for their patients. According to the Veterans Health Administration, RPM can reduce hospitalizations by as much as 40 percent for some diseases, leading to annual savings of $ 6,500 per patient. The estimated annual cost-savings potential of RPM, if adopted widely, could be as high as $ 6 billion.


Transforming Healthcare Policy

Access to that level of care is elusive for most unless you happen to be within one of the few systems that have deployed it. Furthermore, most deployed systems are addressing just one or a few specific conditions. There are of course exceptions in some countries outside the United States (e.g. Singapore ), but largely, comprehensive RPM care is limited and inconsistently available.  Well-defined standards of care could help RPM reach its full potential.

I believe achieving RPM as standard of care is achievable and not in some distant idealized future. The rate of deployments is increasing, the evidence on efficacy and cost savings is overwhelming and irrefutable,  patient and clinician satisfaction when they have deployed is high, and payment systems are changing to recognize and reward  remote care use.

Consider that the average Medicare spending per person doubles between the ages of 70 and 96. Chronic conditions like COPD, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia, which often develop with age, account for nearly 90 percent of U.S. healthcare costs. By connecting patients with physicians and other care providers virtually and enabling quicker ability to address emerging health concerns, RPM can save enormous health costs with respect to reduction of physician and ER visits, early diagnosis of diseases, and mitigation of hospital admissions and readmissions. Over time, investments in the widespread adoption of RPM could help control costs and improve overall care – for governments, healthcare providers and families.

We believe that, to fairly and cost-effectively treat an ever-growing number of people needing care, RPM can and must become a “standard of care” targeting not only post-acute care management for heart attack, stroke and orthopedic and neurological surgeries, but also treatment for chronic conditions like diabetes, COPD, heart disease, and dementia. Our hope is that by 2020, RPM is a medical standard of care and by 2025 at least 50 million people are benefiting annually in the United States from its deployment in medical and independent living use cases.  The technology industry is addressing the technical challenges and the remote care services vendor ecosystem has perfected the care workflows solutions.  Now, all key industry stakeholders must work together to proliferate and democratize access to remote care.  Platforms for RPM, initially deployed for medical uses, can be the digital bedrock of all distributed systems for medical and functional ability support on a national scale.

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How ‘brain wearables’ can address 21st century needs

The human brain is the most complex system in the known universe. It is imbued with enormous potential that we have yet to fully understand or to harness. But we’re making progress, for many good reasons.

By studying how the human brain functions and how it responds to stimuli, we can potentially train our minds for optimal performance and, perhaps, overcome physical disabilities or detect neurological abnormalities for treatment. We stand now on the cusp of what has been called ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’, a revolution that is growing out of the integration of the physical, digital and biological realms. The ability to directly connect electronic devices to the human organism in order to affect physical objects around us has the potential to drive change forward at an exponentially increasing pace. Our understanding of our limitations will be shattered, and new vistas will open up, as we explore the possibilities that arise when we bring minds, machines, and the material world together.

Put simply, we stand to reap enormous benefits if we can enlighten ourselves as to why and how we think and feel – to improve how we interact with and experience the world around us.

Today, innumerable such efforts proceed in specialised laboratories around the world, with a rather limited number of research subjects. But everyone’s brain is unique and changing in unique ways. The term neuroplasticity means that our brains change shape and function based on personal biological factors as well as our individual experiences in life. So we’re likely to gain commensurately greater insights from a broader participation in such studies.

And that’s where brain wearables come into the picture.

Enter: brain wearables

A market for brain wearables has promised to put neurotechnology into the hands of ordinary people. This is important because of the uniqueness of every brain; the greater the sample, the more robust the insights it yields.

Today these devices fall into two main categories. One uses electroencephalograms (EEGs) – essentially, surface brain wave activity – in a non-invasive, read-only mode, which can provide data on the wearer’s mental and emotional state. The other basic approach relies on transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS), which sends electrical signals to the brain for neuro-priming, which is intended to promote “hyper-learning.”

I work in the EEG-related field of brain wearables, which offer a means to further our understanding of the human brain in a useful form factor and at a reasonable price point.

Potential benefits

We are using brain wearables to conduct longitudinal studies over time in more than 120 countries to discern how different stimuli and situations affect different brains, helping us understand, for instance, how different people react to handling stress or how we can assist them in achieving optimal performance.

In practical terms, understanding and encouraging high performance is one focus of our work, which would have obvious benefits for athletes, soldiers, professionals, artists – nearly everyone, really. And the broadest possible application would be to gain a better understanding of how various stimuli – and our own, often very individual responses – affect our thoughts and feelings. The end result could be to inform an improved self-awareness and a better understanding of ourselves to mitigate irrational or unproductive behaviour.

Early detection possible

Ultimately, those of us in the brain wearables field would like to make progress on the early detection of neurological issues and overall brain health.

One in three people, of the more than seven billion on Earth, are affected by brain-related illnesses, including depression, anxiety, dementia, autism, attention-deficit disorder (ADD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), stroke or trauma. Apart from widespread human suffering, these disorders are estimated to cost the global economy some $ 2 trillion per year. In the U.S., specifically, an aging population has the potential for extended lives, for which quality-of-life will require healthy brains.

Brain health is also considered a key factor in many other bioinformatics advances. I think of it as a quintessential 21st century issue.

Staying ahead of potential pitfalls

Though I’m positively buoyant about the known and potential benefits of brain wearables, it is also our duty to be vigilant about the potential risks.

Data privacy and security are perennial concerns for everyone. These concerns are heightened when personal health-related matters are at stake. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) provides legal protections and it is up to technologists to ensure that data privacy and security protections are state of the art.

Currently we are careful to apply significant effort and care to user consent issues for participation in studies we conduct. The critical issue, in my view, is preserving individual  choice and the personal integrity of every individual.

I have few real concerns at this stage, because “wearables” are just that; you can put them on or take them off and anonymising data in studies is standard practice. But if brain wearables or related technologies were to become embedded in the human body, there’s an obvious risk of abuse. Today, arguably, our thoughts and feelings are our own, but we know that chemical reactions govern these and thus they could be manipulated, leading to a loss of individuality.

Democratisation of technology

Our approach is the opposite of a dystopian use of brain monitoring technology. Our philosophy is to democratize technology and make tools such as brain wearables more affordable, easier to use. Our technology platform is based on open access software (e.g., extensible APIs), aimed at both broad uptake (if the market finds them useful), and the broadest possible base of innovation to benefit all. We want to avoid creating another aspect of a digital divide, with brain wearables available only to a few who can afford them. We believe this approach is in step with society’s shared values.

We work with partners across many domains and more than 120 countries, an open acknowledgement that we don’t have all the answers. The direction that brain wearables take is not up to us as pioneers in the field. It’s an open conversation. We simply want to position the technology and raise awareness for the greatest breadth and depth of potential contributions to the field. The more participants in brain wearable trials the more we learn about the behavior of the human brain and ways in which its health and optimal use can be encouraged.

Widespread adoption is the crux of our success. A broad and diverse dialogue on the issues of brain health and technology will enable the enhancement of healthy brains and detect signs of cognitive decline and disorders. Latest from the homepage