Wow – this is an amazing video on just how much smartphones can help reduce costs, increase healthcare efficiency and improve patient well-being and outcomes.
We may not be fully there yet in terms of the widespread availability of this hardware and software, and then there’s getting it accepted by the medical establishment, but this is certainly a big step in the right direction.
A search in the iPhone App store for the term ‘Glucose” returns 217 apps and a similar number for the term ‘ECG’, while a search for ‘Glucose” in the Google Play Android apps store returns over 1,000 results
Things are changing fast in medicine thanks to mobile – exciting times ahead.
The World Bank issued a report yesterday showing that the number of mobile phone subscriptions in use worldwide, both pre-paid and post-paid, has now reached over 6 billion.
The report went on to reveal that more than 30 billion mobile applications, or “apps,” were downloaded in 2011 alone – these apps extend the capabilities of phones, for instance to become mobile wallets, navigational aids or price comparison tools. However the apps also have a cost associated with their use – they drain the phone’s battery.
Some of these apps are energy hogs – they require a lot of energy to run, and so they drain the phone’s battery quickly (maybe they are legitimately using the camera, the GPS radio, and the 3G network simultaneously). Other apps have bugs in them whereby they may not properly close out battery use after a particular function and they continue to drain the battery. Until now, there has been no way to identify which apps were the ones draining your battery’s charge.
I have written a couple of times here before wondering why there was no energy management app for smart phones. Now there is – Carat.
The study indicates that many free, ad-supported applications expend most of their energy on serving the ads, as opposed to on the application itself. As an example, the core part of the free version of Angry Birds on Android uses only 18% of the total app energy. Most of the rest of the energy is used in gathering location, and handset details for upload to the ad server, downloading the ad, and the 3G tail.
This behaviour was similar in other free apps, such as Free Chess, NYTimes which were tested on Android and an energy bug found in Facebook causing the app to drain power even after termination, was confirmed fixed in the next version released (v1.3.1).
The researchers also performed this testing on Windows Mobile 6.5 but in the published paper, only the Android results are discussed.
Inmobi’s Terence Egan pushed back against some of the findings noting that
In one case, the researchers only looked at the first 33 seconds of usage when playing a chess game.
Naturally, at start up, an app will open communications to download an ad. Once the ad has been received, the app shouldn’t poll for another ad for some time.
Hver the time it take to play a game of chess (the computer usually beats me in 10 minutes) a few ad calls are dwarfed by the energy consumption of the screen, the speakers, and the haptic feedback…
The original application, which was downloaded over 100,000 times, helped customers monitor energy use and submit meter readings to avoid estimated bills. In June alone over 18,000 meter readings were submitted using the app.
With the new version customers can
view their account balance
see their last bill amount
check when payment is due and
view graphs of their personal energy consumption of the past 24 months
British Gas iPhone app – electricity
Benjamin Braun, Head of Online Services, at British Gas said:
More customers already contact us over the web than by telephone and with these new features, we expect that our App will quickly become the main way that many of our iPhone customers will manage their British Gas account.
When I read this I wondered why, if more people are contacting British Gas over the web than by phone, they decided to develop an application for the iPhone. Why not a mobile site which works across all devices. I reached out to their spokesperson David Outhwaite and I asked him if there were plans to develop a similar app for competing platforms like Android or better yet a mobile website which would work across all platforms.
David replied that
Our focus has been the iphone as that is the device from which we receive the vast majority of contact to our website. No current plans [to develop for other platforms]
The fact that this application has been so successful for British Gas shows that people have an appetite for interacting with their energy related information. Consequently, I found David’s response very disappointing.
Although I do own an iPhone, and I like what British Gas are doing with this app, I feel they are doing their non-iPhone owning customers a huge disservice by not providing them with similar functionality. Especially when you consider that the iPhone OS only commands 14% of the mobile operating system market share, what about the other 86% of British Gas’ customers?
It wouldn’t be hard to develop a mobile site which served iPhones, Android devices, and other smartphones equally well.
Hopefully British Gas will have a change of heart and produce a more inclusive mobile site soon.