US patents in 2015 – who are the leaders?

US patents in 2015 – who are the leaders?
I thought this chart from the firm Statista was interesting and topical given my post from last week. What particularly caught my eye was their observation that IBM is number one for the 23rd straight year. In addition, over 2,000 of their patents focus on cloud computing and cognitive computing, both areas of particular interest to insurance and the broader financial services industry. And for those that wonder (like me), Apple was in 11th place, just 18 patents short of 10th.   Infographic: Top 10 U.S. Patent Recipients | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

Watch out. Apple with Mayo is heading your way

Watch out. Apple with Mayo is heading your way
Hmmm . . . That combination is pretty tasty in a Waldorf salad, but it’s a bit hard to think of other recipes that do appeal. The Apple Watch is very attractive—one analyst hoped it would be stylish enough to wear to the Oscars. (I’ll let everyone know what I decide to do next year). But from a healthcare and health insurance Internet of Things perspective, questions still remain. Early information is that the Apple Watch’s biomonitoring functions are pretty modest: pulse and movement (and distance?). Did anyone say fitness band? Somehow “killer app” doesn’t sound quite right in this context, but that is the real question in terms of making people with serious medical conditions (or serious medical vulnerabilities) want to buy the Apple Watch. In roughly ascending order of technical and ergonomic challenges—temperature, blood pressure, glucose levels, blood chemistry of all different types, urine analysis, and (why not?) genome-driven personalized medicine—are off in the future, in some cases well beyond the horizon for a wearable (time telling, messaging, location-revealing) device. Meanwhile there is always next year’s Oscars. btw: about the Mayo:  https://www.apple.com/pr/library/2014/06/02Apple-Releases-iOS-8-SDK-With-Over-4-000-New-APIs.html    

When a developer conference catches the worlds attention…

When a developer conference catches the worlds attention…
In this case the developer conference is Apple’s WWDC, scheduled for 10am PT today (6pm for me in the UK). There’s the usual round up of expected announcements along with a web based keynote bingo app. Why so much interest? The position of the iPhone versus Android as leading market share in smart phones is a hotly contested subject, what is clear is the iPhone continues to have a dramatic impact on the evolving mobile web. In addition emarketer has just released their estimate that there will be 53 million iPad users in the US alone by year end. It seems Apple will update the operating system on all these devices as well as refresh it’s laptop line up at least (yes, they still sell those). There have been rumours for years that Apple is set to change the world of the television, the largest screen in the house. The AppleTV products have been novelties to date that haven’t lived up to this challenge, perhaps this year Apple will announce support for Apps on the TV. In other news Windows 7 is now set to overtake Windows XP as most installed Microsoft platform, just ahead of Windows 8 being released. Windows 8 has been hailed by some as the killer for the iPad, the more popular Windows platform but designed for touch based interfaces and leveraging Microsoft’s successful Xbox system. We will have to wait until the end of the year to better understand the price point and impact. What does this mean for insurers? Well WWDC will give the world a couple of months notice of changes coming to the Apple products. Perhaps more importantly however, it is the sign that things are not slowing down. No sooner are insurers starting to comtemplate Windows 7 than 8 is out, and actually Windows 8 is targetting an entirely different platform (ARM chips and touch interfaces). Staff and customers alike will want to interact with insurance companies in the easiest, nearest method available and by this time next year that might be by speaking to the television after an advert for the insurance product has appeared – whether it’s Samsung SmartTV’s, GoogleTV, AppleTV, Zeebox, Shazam, Xbox, Kinect and Microsoft Glass – or something entirely different. The pace of change isn’t slowing and more worryingly for insurers, the pace of adoption is increasing, even in these austere times. How are you preparing your core systems for these new technologies, rolling out staff enabling software and structuring your self-service channels to accommodate these shifts? For most insurers it will be a case of wait and see what works. For the technology vendors supporting insurers research and development is likely already underway and new lines of research may commence later today.

BlackBerry Security vs Apple's Appstore – Will the PlayBook vs iPad split IT and Business?

BlackBerry Security vs Apple's Appstore – Will the PlayBook vs iPad split IT and Business?
There is no question that mobility and highly mobile devices will play a key role in insurance, both for customers but also as a means for conducting business. Apple have created a great deal of press with their iPhone and iPad products and are now making headway into insurance companies. Indeed in the last two weeks in the UK it was announced that Lloyds of London are now trialling iPads to enable electronic processes in a previously heavily paper based environment. Also in conversations with CIOs in the UK, the iPad and iPhone is proving popular with senior executives. Surely then BlackBerry have arrived too late with their not yet released PlayBook? Actually, BlackBerry may have arrived just in time as far as security specialists in insurers are concerned. Most people aren’t aware that the key reason BlackBerry is so popular with large corporates is the management and security features built into the platform. We’ve all read about the incidents where laptops have been left on trains and even read about organisations fined many millions of pounds through data loss events. Apple are investing in this area but are currently far behind BlackBerry in security features. Google’s Android platform is even further behind. It may well be that internal security teams are banking on PlayBook’s success as a way of delivering something iPad like to an organisation but retaining the necessary controls and measures to avoid significant embarrassment to the organisation. So the race is on. Will Apple secure their first mover advantage and build in enough enterprise level requirements to their platform in time or will BlackBerry’s strong history in enterprise solutions allow them to recapture lost market share?