Bitcoin — the Internet currency, payment system and technology — is about the birth of a new “digital” monetary ecosystem. Like every innovation it creates new regulatory and compliance challenges. There is growing interest in knowing where the money has come from and at the same time the anonymity of bitcoin makes creating an data trail a tricky task, but it’s possible to say whether certain bitcoin addresses are involved in mining, or have been associated with gambling transactions.
More recently, nationally known merchants like Overstock.com, Zynga and the Sacramento Kings basketball team have begun to accept Bitcoin payments. Even political candidates are taking donations through the system. Worldwide transaction volume keeps growing, as does the number of Bitcoin users.
Bitcoin is built on some heavy and complex data-crunching. Like any ecosystem, it will have its share of winners and losers. The Bitcoin “Innovative Disrupters” are those that have the best odds at being winners. Read more
Do Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies provide opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs to create real value? Bitcoin has proponents and naysayers. What is it really about?
The 18th century philosopher Voltaire, a proponent of the separation of church and state, is known to have said that the Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, nor Roman nor an empire. We could say the same about Bitcoin as a virtual cryptocurrency.
Cryptology has an important role to play in Bitcoin, but that is not its defining feature. Currency is historically built on the recognition of national boundaries and their associated political constructs. Moreover, the words “crypto” and “fiat” are not opposites.
In this summer’s blockbuster movie “Edge of Tomorrow,” a PR executive played by Tom Cruise goes through innumerable time loops to become a soldier by being reborn every time he is killed. In the context of software startups, successful products are built through repeated testing and improvement. Those that can do the most iterations without dying become the needle-movers.
The evolving Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem presents opportunities for startups that can create sustainable solutions. Further to our article, “Internet of Things Needle-Mover Opportunities,” we looked at companies that will form the basic foundation of technologies that address the following five IoT challenges:
- Privacy and security
- The power barrier
- Data analytics and management
- Interoperability and integration
The automated vote-counting machine was designed by Thomas Edison in 1869 to replace roll call voting in the U.S. Congress and was never used. The motor scooter was designed in post-war Italy to be a motorcycle for women and became a revolutionary transport mechanism for a larger population. The Java programing language was originally designed in the 1990s for use by set-top boxes. And eBay was created to sell Pez dispensers. History has many examples of how original use case definitions became irrelevant in the face of market economics. Like any other new technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) will create an ecosystem with its share of winners, losers, survivors — and needle movers.
Today, use cases abound on how the IoT’s connected devices can create economic value. Some analysts talk about white spaces of solutions that span industrial, commercial and consumer applications. Others talk about fundamental challenges in delivering on the promise of IoT. While white space use cases will have hits and misses, IOT-enabling technologies represent a much larger opportunity for innovative value creation.
Big data needs better visualization. Scorecards, Dashboards, Heatmaps, Alerts, Management Reporting, Operations and Transactions Reporting are all enterprise example of data visualization outputs.
Some data visualization use cases include:
- Data Scientist — uses QlikView to visualize and extend statistical models built in “R”, a programming language used for statistical modeling, to understand traffic flows and congestion patterns and advise on options to improve travel times for Amazon.com Local delivery drivers.
- Pharmaceutical Sales Representative — uses QlikView on an iPad to access current industry sales trends and doctor prescription history while on a sales call with a busy physician.
- Healthcare Chief Medical Officer — uses Tableau Software to analyze all aspects of hospital performance including population management, emergency room effectiveness and Affordable Care Act compliance.
- Crime Analyst— uses Microstrategy to maintain a consolidated view of crime levels and optimize staffing allocations to dispatch police into high crime areas.
- Retail Store Manager — uses QlikView to analyze which products are selling best which impacts store assortments and which products get featured vs which ones get discontinued.
- Telecom Customer Service Agent — uses Spotfire to monitor call center statistics and how it translates into customer satisfaction and retention.
From these use cases you can see that there are many different ways of asking questions and telling a story. The story in the enterprise typically is around the these Use Cases:
- Interactive Modeling – Speed-of-Thought Analysis, What-if Analysis and Forecasting, Rapid Scenario Planning
- Scorecards – Personalized scorecards, Measure against goals, “At a Glance” information on Business Performance, Convey information in intuitive format
- Dashboards – Support “what-if” scenarios, Drill down capabilities, Visualize Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Management Reporting – KPI monitoring, Briefing Books, Summarized views
- Operations and Transaction Reporting – Alerts, summarized views of day-to-day activities of the batch and raw data reporting
Technology (preventative apps like Apple Health and HealthKit; EHR, claims and reimbursement analytics; Physician Practice management etc.) will reinvent healthcare as we know it. I expect the healthcare transformation to start incrementally and develop slowly in sophistication. Though the early changes will appear clumsy and underwhelming, by 2030 they will seem obvious, inevitable and well beyond the changes we might envision today.
Why change? Consider this:
- Honeywell, a Fortune 100 technology and manufacturing company, needed to manage the ever-escalating cost of insuring its 130,000 employees and their dependents. Honeywell has reported that health care costs were growing approximately 8-10% per year.
- Self-insured employers like Wal-Mart want to make health care cost and quality information available to their 1.2 Million employees. Useful information that can be used by employees to select physicians based on how their rank, or how much they cost, resulting in savings for both the employee and the employer. Decision support enabler.
Historically, employers like Honeywell, Wal-Mart and their employees have not had access to comprehensive information about the cost and quality of care as they evaluate benefit designs across multiple health plans and treatment options.
In some cases, U.S health care providers and other market participants have actively resisted efforts by employers and others to obtain information about the costs and quality of health care services. Why? because opaqueness means money. UCSF researchers uncovered an enormous discrepancy in what different hospitals charge for the same procedure, ranging from a low of $1,529 to a high of $183,000. The median hospital charge was $33,611. The startling cost variation illustrates an inefficient system.
Despite this resistance, the health care industry generates extensive data that is relevant to determining the cost and quality of health care services. These data reside in myriad formats and disparate databases, without a common infrastructure, and have therefore been of limited value to employers and employees in controlling costs and improving outcomes.
In many cases, information relating to health care services has restrictions on its use, such as contractual agreements that some health plans and providers have historically entered into to not disclose price information. These factors make it challenging for employers and employees to use these data for the purposes of measuring cost and quality and making informed decisions. Read more
- IBM is moving to a private health exchange…Extend Health private exchange will be handling plan options for 110,000 IBM retirees
- Walgreens is moving employees to a Corporate Health Exchange. Of the 180,000 Walgreen employees eligible for healthcare insurance, 120,000 opted for coverage for themselves and 40,000 family members. Another 60,000 employees, many of them working part-time, were not eligible for health insurance.
- Trader Joe’s — decided to send some employees to the new public exchanges. Trader Joe’s has left coverage for three-quarters of its work force untouched but is giving part-time workers a contribution of $500 to buy policies. Because of the employees’ low incomes, the company says it believes many will be eligible for federal subsidies to help them afford coverage.
- Time Warner will direct retirees to an exchange to get health coverage
For the past year I have done strategy and implementation work in the employee Healthcare benefits and Private Exchange area. I wanted to share my insights into the massive structural changes taking place in health insurance. The move to patient-centered, consumer-driven, and value-based models is real.
Employee Health insurance in the U.S. is at the cusp of a major transition from an employer-driven payor model to a model directly involving many more employees and consumers. Private health insurance exchanges with a defined contribution approach represent a significant step in this journey. Also some clever risk shifting strategies are emerging where employers are moving part-time workers onto public exchanges.
The market size is enormous. Healthcare spending is forecasted to be ~$3.1 trillion in 2014, with $620 Bln of this paid by U.S. employers. In 2013, employers contributed 32% more in health care expenses than 2008.