Archive for Emerging Technologies from United Kingdom

Handhelds for Doctors

by on July 12, 2009 at 11:49 am
Innovator of Handheld Digital Medical Records

Innovator of Handheld Digital Medical Records

At the Cambridge University Pitt Building, in a program led by Omobono Digital Services, we viewed show and tell presentations by some of Cambridge’s most promising start-ups. Among several good ideas was a great one presented by Dr. Al-Ubaydli. Conversion to digital medical records has been an American national quest for the past decade and a priority for the Obama Administration. Dr. Al-Ubaydli has been working with the Feds (NIH) for the past six years to bring his hand-held medical records download program to fruition. He suggested that University of Cambridge is a great incubator to work from and he collaborates with doctors and engineers in the States and elsewhere to bring the technology to market.

Great example of global technology development, incubated in university labs, solving big problems through collaboration of doctors, hospitals, governments, and industry.

Photo Credit: Renee Blodgett http://www.downtheavenue.com/

“Augmented Reality, GPS, RFID, things like this make the world a more beautiful place,” @IndySaha.

by on July 9, 2009 at 8:34 am
Indy Saha, Group Planning Director/Digital Strategy Director, TBWA/LONDON "The Disruption Agency"

Indy Saha, Group Planning Director/Digital Strategy Director, TBWA/LONDON "The Disruption Agency"

Backstage Pass- Login, login, login

by on July 9, 2009 at 7:23 am

BT Mobile Broadband - USB modemI estimated last night that I spend 1/3 of my time trying to debug and solve connectivity issues[1] both at home and on the road. Though perhaps when I’m at home, more of that 1/3 goes toward updating software[2].

Please note – This video isn’t intended to put anybody on the spot, but when Susan was having so much trouble on Monday getting connected to wi-fi at the Reboot Britain meeting, it just seemed like old times to me! At big meetings like this (several hundred people) the wi-fi is frequently the crunch. Just getting an IP address, and then being able to stay connected 30 minutes or more, can be a challenge. To their credit, the venue did have really good wi-fi signals in all of the rooms at the conference center! However, I stayed on my BT Mobile Broadband connection the entire time (the little illustration is their USB modem device), and though the bandwidth was challenged (inside a brick, steel, concrete building) it was reliable.


[1] Connectivity includes finding wi-fi, dealing with “blocking” problems (more on that later), spam overload, and helping others get connected (which is major).
[2] I probably update a program every 2 days. This isn’t just Microsoft Office, but dozens of other programs I use. I use MacUpdate as a paid service to notify me of updates, although I’d say that 1/2 of the programs I use will automatically alert me when updates are available.

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Seedcamp pointer

by on July 8, 2009 at 1:01 pm

seedcamp-100x100I’m going to just quickly mention that on Tuesday we met with some Seedcamp companies, at the  nesta-70 offices in central London. Craig Newmark has put up a nice quick summary with links in case you want to check them out. Craig is a fellow Traveling Geek. I will pick my favorites later, although I liked all of them, and will let you know what each technology is going to be useful for in my professional life. You will find them all fascinating and probably will end up using one or more of them some time in the near future.

I know already that my first favorites will be technologies that help find and then aggregate information that will make your blog or web site more informative for your readers. Or that make your job as a blogger easier because they help you locate not only your own writings (which believe it or not is a problem for many bloggers) but new information from sources that you trust.

BT Openzone Wireless Broadband

by on July 8, 2009 at 9:57 am

BT Mobile Broadband - USB modem

I wrote about the open wi-fi network in central London – back when I was just “hoping” that it would give us coverage while in London. Indeed it looks the network is around and that there are many wireless hotspots. I don’t know yet how pervasive the outdoor coverage is, but coverage at shops (coffee shops for example) seems pretty much available.

But the service that’s saving my life here is BT Mobile Broadband, which is available for £15/month (special promotion) on a “commercial” plan. (See photo of their [new] USB plug-in device above)

Advertised as providing “up to 7.2Mb (actually I would say 7.2mbps – or megabits per second) I was getting 2.5mbps on Sunday afternoon, and through the week have been getting upwards of 640kbps almost all of the time, which isn’t as good, but is roughly equivalent to a DSL line in the US. It’s also not quite as good as wi-fi, but if you’re at a public-access wi-fi spot, you’re unlikely to get anything better than the 640kpbs speed anyway.

On Monday at Reboot Britain [see Howard Rheingold’s article on the conference, where he spoke] we were inside a steel and brick building, in an inner room, and the local wi-fi was so overloaded it couldn’t maintain a connection for longer than a few minutes [this is common for large conferences of geeks], and I stayed on the BT Mobile service the entire day and it was rock solid, though at the lower data rate. That’s why I say it “saved by life.”

If you’re in Britain, need data on the road, and can’t tether your computer through a phone, this service seems like it would be indispensable. [I don’t know whether non-British national can purchase it short term…but if so, it would be great.]


[Disclosure: BT corporate is providing the device for me and the other Traveling Geeks, along with service, for the week I’m in London. I have no obligation to write about it or promote it.]

“I write about Silicon Valley because it’s the most interesting region in the world, it’s the birthplace of tremendous disruptive forces,” @TomForemski, Silicon Valley Watcher. #WDYDWYD? #TG2009

by on July 6, 2009 at 11:00 am
"I write about Silicon Valley because it's the most interesting region in the world, it's the birthplace of tremendous disruptive forces."

"I write about Silicon Valley because it's the most interesting region in the world, it's the birthplace of tremendous disruptive forces."

“Technology has the power to unleash the imagination.” “It should be available to everyone,” says Tristan Wilkinson, Intel director for public sector EMEA. @inteltristan

by on July 6, 2009 at 10:26 am
"Technology has the power to unleash the imagination - it should be available to everyone."

"Technology has the power to unleash the imagination – it should be available to everyone."

Redefining Digital Inclusion

by on July 6, 2009 at 9:18 am

We met with Tristan Wilkinson this morning at Savoy Place in London. Tristan, who is Intel’s Director for Public Sector for Intel EMEA, wears many hats and has several interests.

Below Tristan with Perveen Akhtar, Intel UK PR Manager

Tristan Wilkinson Intel Breakfast at Reboot Britain July 5 (6)

He tells us about a program called One Goal which will be launched in August and piggyback off the South African World Cup. The goal is to get 30 million online signatures in an effort to help make poverty history. Take note: 75 million children still don’t have access to primary school education in the world.

Tristan asks, “do those that enjoy the benefits of technology have a moral right over those who don’t? If you don’t have access, you’re missing so much.” He adds,”for example, when did a blue collar worker need access to the Internet and many of these tools simply to get a job? It’s particularly important in this economic climate.”

He talks about the broken education system where we’re still assessed by written exams, rather than an interactive system that allows students to exchange ideas and use technology to learn.

Essentially you’ve got a 21st century learner in a 19th century environment and the two are starting to cancel each other out. And, what are the other things that allow these technology tools to be unleashed? We have to figure out a way to embrace and value informal learning, such as self-study.

The thread is one that isn’t a new one: the digital divide, largely an economic one, however it’s beyond a financial issue, it’s also attitude; attitude among teachers and among parents.

Parents have learned about the perils of Internet use but haven’t necessarily learned about about the value that it can bring to their child’s life, particularly in the classroom.

Robert Scoble asserts that the change will come from the kids, not from top down. And, adds that it’s not about the technology or being able to afford it, it’s about lack of knowledge and education – what’s out there? what tools can help me find a better job? go to a better school?

We discuss key drivers. If success and nirvana is a digitally educated population, we shouldn’t have to wait twenty years for people to catch up to embrace these changes…with technology change accelerating at such a dramatic rate, there needs to be an effort to bring those who are being left behind forward.

Tristan asserts that the problems are very fragmented and that there needs to be a more concerted effort to bring groups like us together to take action.

Sky adds, “the best thing that educators can do is to be totally open to the new devices that already have some of these services embedded….but we have legislation.” Robert has become demoralized and is one of the reasons he doesn’t get involved in this debate regularly.

We also discuss the role of the press….how do the press educate parents and educators and what form it takes. “It’s not that my children are going to get online and be stalked but that if they don’t get online and learn how to use these new technologies, they won’t get jobs, they will be left behind. Parents need to understand that the jobs of the future are going to require them to support their kids to learn how to use technology. There may not be any public or private funds for it but the change needs to happen.

We need to redefine Digital Inclusion. The definition of digital inclusion today is basic access. It doesn’t include basic skills such as understanding some of the technology and social media schools to network and make friends not just locally for globally. It increases their job and life opportunities significantly.

It’s time to move that definition beyond simple access. We need a new definition that policy makers, technology creators, parents, and educators can rally around. There will be a revolution when more and more students get their hands on some of these devices and start using them in the classroom.

Digitrad Launches Yes.tel, Digital Business Card Service

by on July 5, 2009 at 8:31 pm

DigitradLogoSmall 300x595 Digitrad, a company specializing in unified communications, launched Yes.tel today in the U.S. Yes.tel provides instant access to a person’s contact information from any PC or mobile device.

Using one user-friendly platform to manage a multitude of digital identities, consumers can seamlessly access and update their personal information consolidated into one domain from their laptop, desktop or their mobile phone.

A subscriber based service, costing $19.99 annually, Yes.tel allows registrants to select a user .tel name of their choice, which includes a local phone number with a unified voicemail, an integrated email re-direction system, anti-spam and antivirus services.

Yes.tel user records are consolidated and stored within an information-encrypted Domain Name Server (DNS), allowing a certain level of access to the public. Once a user registers a domain and distributes it to friends, family and colleagues, other users will be able to look-up the domain and have full access to all of the information associated with that domain, which will be immediately re-directed to the device and saved.

Disclosure: Digitrad is a sponsor of the Traveling Geeks blogging tour to London.

Reaching Theoretical Broadband Link Speeds (in the US)

by on July 3, 2009 at 8:11 am

Comcast speed visualizationI’ve just spent 48 hours “beating myself up” over the Comcast (cable) high-speed Internet system here in San Francisco. I say beating myself up because I was so convinced the problem was Comcast that I spent hours on the phone with them, but ultimately most of the problems were in my own network. [Not all, but most.]

In US cities, the license to install and operate cable television networks is a city-granted monopoly. When cable TV was first being installed, each city opened a bidding process, and cable operators bid to be granted the franchise to install and operate the cable system in that particular city. If they won it, they then had exclusive rights. So in San Francisco, we have telephones provided by AT&T (which originally was Pacific Bell Telephone Company) and we have cable TV provided by ComCast (only – no other provider). Satellite TV lies outside this structure and is available everywhere on a competitive basis, but that’s a different issue.

Comcast also delivers Internet connectivity (and telephone service) via their cables. And that’s the rub.

Comcast suggests they can deliver broadband speeds of up to 12mbs (megabits per second). This kind of speed is pretty good, actually, and is lots higher than I can get on shared office connections at my client sites. It’s also faster than wi-fi can provide, so if you’re using wi-fi on your computer, the Comcast speed is kind of a moot point…it only affects me if I’m plugged into an Ethernet connection in the wall.

The thing I wanted to point out is the graph above showing (left to right) that Comcast give you huge speed when you first connect and start downloading a file (for example) and then it slacks off to a slower speed. It gives you the impression of quick download by starting the transfer really quickly – and if the file is small, you‘ll get it quickly, but the rest of the file comes in at a more leisurely rate, although it is in fact pretty close to the advertised rate. In my case the rate was just under 8mbits/second.

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