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SA health innovation in spotlight

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Philips and the Innovation Hub have announced the top 5 finalists of the Innovation Fellows Competition. The event’s aim was to uncover innovative ideas that could change the local health care industry.

The lifeblood of most modern industries today is innovation, as it sets the tone for progress and enables businesses to gain a competitive advantage, create additional jobs and within the health sector specifically, change the lives of people by offering patients’ an enhanced level of care.

Earlier this year, Philips partnered with The Innovation Hub in Pretoria to launch the first Innovation Fellows Competition in South Africa with the aim of uncovering and supporting the next big innovative ideas that will not only help revolutionise the South Africa health industry, but also assist in addressing regionally relevant challenges in healthcare.

The Top 5 finalists of the competition have now been selected from a list of outstanding submissions garnered from the 61 local entries and will be awarded R 12,000 each. In addition, they will be partnered with a mentor who will guide and tutor them on the necessities needed to putting together a winning business plan and pitch. The overall winner, which will be announced in November, and will receive R 200 000 as a research and development budget for their #nextbigidea in improving access to primary healthcare.

“New innovations can have a substantial impact on health care service delivery by allowing for better access to care thanks to more affordable products for instance, enabling faster diagnosis of illnesses or more effective treatment of diseases,” says JJ Van Dongen, Senior Vice President and CEO Philips Africa.

Philips Innovation Fellowship finalists group shot (From left to right) Eddine Sarroukh Head of Philips Research Africa; Dean Hodgskiss Finalist; De Wet Swanepoel Finalist; Carol Thomas (Via Skype) Finalist; Ragesh Pillai Finalist; Sudesh Sivarasu Finalist and JJ van Dongen CEO Philips Africa

Philips Innovation Fellowship finalists group shot (From left to right)
Eddine Sarroukh Head of Philips Research Africa; Dean Hodgskiss Finalist; De Wet Swanepoel Finalist; Carol Thomas (Via Skype) Finalist; Ragesh Pillai Finalist; Sudesh Sivarasu Finalist and JJ van Dongen CEO Philips Africa

Showcasing the innovative work of the Top 5

Van Dongen went on to say that the most exciting part of this competition for Philips is unearthing talent from South Africa, whose innovations will serve as local solutions to South African health care challenges. These include;

·       Carol Thomas’ iMobiMama IT platform and Mobile Kiosk that will increase access to maternal care highlighting antenatal care in public and private sectors.

·       Sudesh Sivarasu proposes to develop a low-cost portable mechanical non-invasive continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) ventilator that is mechanically operated and will be used to tackle Asthma in children aged five to 10 years old.

·       Ragesh Pillai is looking to make the management of diabetes easier which involves controlling blood sugar levels through monitoring one’s diet, exercising and checking blood glucose levels regularly to prevent the side effects of diabetes such as kidney failure.

Pillai’s aim is to tackle the challenge of improving diabetes management through diabetes management software service designed to facilitate remote monitoring and communication between patients and their care givers at low cost.

·       Finalist Dean Hodgskiss’s solution aims to increase the capacity of healthcare workers and medical equipment at primary healthcare sites through the utilisation of a mobile communication app specifically developed to operate effectively under challenging African telecommunications conditions. The proposed solution is an application which runs on Android, iOS and Windows, will provide caregivers in remote areas (even ones with very poor and unreliable internet connections) with the ability to connect to anyone else using the application located anywhere in the world.

·       Lastly, De Wet Swanepoel wants to provide access to early identification of hearing loss, using the low-cost hearScreen mHealth solution, which will result in more timely intervention for optimal developmental in children.

“We are inspired by these finalists and are looking forward to providing real healthcare solutions that will make a real difference in people’s lives,” concluded van Dongen.

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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