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SXSW 2018: Digital Health Trends

Every March, thousands of thinkers, futurists, and creative people from nearly every industry flock to Austin, Texas to take in the trends and innovations shaping the future of film, technology, and music. We were among them, taking it all in through a health focused lens, and SXSW 2018 left us exhausted and inspired. The growing ubiquity of health was evidenced by the surge of the festival’s health track, including its first ever Wellness Expo. Patient centricity, health data, social responsibility, and women in tech dominated the conversation. We’ve curated the all hot health topics, along with our POV on implications in this comprehensive recap. Hope you enjoy reading this report as much as we did curating it!

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SXSW 2018: Digital Health Trends

  1. 1. WPP HEALTH &WELLNESS @ Digital Health Trends from the Interactive Festival March 2018
  2. 2. 2 SXSW is an annual forward-focused gathering of creative minds in Austin, Texas. Every year it gathers over 70,000 of the brightest thinkers, futurists and creative minds from nearly every industry. The purpose of the event is to “create an opportunity for creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers, to bring together people from a wide area to meet and share ideas.” Recently, SXSW began offering a health track of speakers and panels, and this year offered a Wellness Expo for the first time. Fortunately we work in a category that touches every person, every industry, every technology – and truly great healthcare communications fall in the sweet spot between science, technology and art. There was no limit to health related insights to be had. SXSW left us exhausted and inspired – we are fortunate to be working at such an exciting time. We hope you enjoy the following recap from the event and find it useful for your business. You are likely reading this because you want to make your company as impactful as possible, and help as many people as possible – which is why we love working with people in this industry like you. SXSW 2018
  3. 3. SXSW year by year A small group of people met to chat about the future of entertainment and media, and decided to organize an official event for the following year. 1986 1987 The inaugural SXSW event had 172 acts and 700 registrants Film & Multimedia events introduced 1994 The internet contributes a major presence for the first time 1996 SXSW Multimedia becomes SXSW Interactive 1999 2015 SXSW launches Interactive Health and MedTech Expo Capitalizing on the UT Austin Dell Medical School – opened in 2013 as a med school based on the best tech in the world 2009 Foursquare is launched and is the breakout app of the festival 2012 Social Discovery Apps are the tech to watch at the Interactive Festival 2018 Finalists of the SXSW Accelerator Pitch event include Cambridge Cancer Genomics, Aetheris, HealthTensor, Nanowear, Nextbiotics
  4. 4. 4 Differentiating Trends vs. Trendy Tech In a not-to-be missed Keynote address, Amy Webb, Futurist and founder of The Future Today Institute, presented her annual tech trends report. She gifted us her Four Laws of Technology Trends, that explains the difference between a technology trend and technology that is just trendy. All technology trends share a set of four conspicuous, universal features: 1. Tech trends materialize as a series of un-connectable dots that begin as weak signals on the fringe and move to the mainstream. 2. Tech trends are driven by basic human needs. 3. Tech trends evolve as they emerge. They are not static. 4. Tech trends are timely, but they persist over long periods of time.
  5. 5. 5 2. Taking Social Responsibility : Pharma and healthcare companies shared their initiatives and progress to make the world a better, safer, healthier place to live. 3. Science + Art + Technology collaboration: Pharma companies are leaning-in on innovation incubators – fostering creative environments for smart, nimble startups in hopes of evolving their business model. 1. Patient centricity: Entrepreneurs are coming up with health solutions to help patients first, but also help brands reach consumers on their terms, where they are. 4. Diversity and Women in Tech: The Women in Tech community was out in full force at SXSW – presenting keynotes, sharing creative ideas and generously offering support to other women in the industry. 2018 Trends
  6. 6. Serving vs selling, putting the patient first It isn’t news to health marketers that patients have become increasingly engaged in their own healthcare decision making, shifting the paradigm of control and demanding healthcare providers and stakeholders to shift their strategy to serve the needs of patients as consumers rather than sell. There were a number of exhibitors and panelists at SXSW this year sharing their own version of using technology to put “patient at the center” – offering solutions that impact and improve the consumers day-to-day health and life. This means being where the consumer is – offering real value, not just tech gimmicks. Patient Centricity 1.
  7. 7. Patient Data Tracking: Verily – Project Baseline Google owned Verily has partnered with Duke University and Stanford medicine on first of it’s kind observational study to collect, organize and analyze broad phenotypic health data over the next four years. The goal is develop a well-defined reference of good health and a rich data platform to better understand the transition from health to disease and identify risk factors of disease. ‘The study includes clinical, molecular, imagine, sensor, self-reported, behavioral, psychological, environmental health-related measurements from onsite visits, continuous data collection through sensor technology and regular engagement via an online portal and mobile app.’
  8. 8. Chatbots conversationHEALTH is a digital health startup that delivers personalized conversations between healthcare brands and their target consumers, patients, and HCPs. Interactions are powered by human-assisted AI to drive engagement, adherence, loyalty, and outcomes, through both text and voice-based channels. conversationHEALTH creates conversational solutions for consumers, patients and HCPs, including: consumer awareness about a condition, patient support, and HCP resources. Wearables – Motiv San Francisco based Motiv created a ring that monitors heart rate and sleep better than wrist- worn trackers. A recently added feature is Sleep Restlessness tracking which can monitor how often you toss and turn while you sleep. It’s heart rate tracking capabilities have also become much more sophisticated.
  9. 9. Everybody’s talking about it… We’ve all heard the stats… 1 in 5 adults in the US owns a voice-activated smart speaker (47.3 million people), 41% of adults conduct at least one voice search per day, 50% of all searches will use voice by 2020. So what does that mean for us marketers? It is important to start thinking about this now, be curious. Consider developing a voice strategy, identify business problems. Voice technology will make brand experiences conversational in the next few years. Eventually, we will have ambient voice technologies embedded in our environments. Voice – the next digital disruption
  10. 10. Carnegie Mellon completes Harpy Program. It understood 1000 words. Microsoft introduces Clippy Microsoft introduces speech recognition feature for Office XP IBM’s Watson wins Jeopardy! April 14: Apple introduces Siri Microsoft introduces Cortana at annual BUILD developer conference Amazon officially launches Amazon Echo in US Microsoft launches Cortana on Windows 10 desktops and mobile devices Microsoft Cortana added to mobile platforms Amazon introduces Alexa & the Amazon Echo, available to Prime members only IBM introduces the IBM Shoebox, the first digital speech recognition tool. It recognized 16 words and digits. Dragon launches Dragon Dictate, the first speech recognition product for consumers (only $6,000) Google launches Google Now Amazon introduces the Alexa Skills kit 1961 1972 1990 1996 2001 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 SoundHound launches voice- powered virtual assistant app, HOUND Amazon launches Amazon Echo Dot & Amazon Tap Google introduces the Google Assistant as part of messaging app, Allo Microsoft adds Cortana voice control to Xbox One Amazon Launches Echo in UK & Germany Samsung acquires virtual assistant startup Viv Amazon cuts price of 2nd gen Echo making it even more accessible at $49 Google launches Google Home & Smart phone Pixel Chinese Manufacturer LingLong launches Echo Competitor, DingDong Actions on Google Platform launches Google Home Samsung introduces Bixby alongside Galaxy S8 device Alexa skills surpass 10,000 in US Google Home launches in UK Google introduces multi- user support for Google Home; can recognize 6 different voices Amazon introduces the Echo Look Baidu unveils its first device, Xiaoyu, in China Harman Kardon reveals new speaker, using Cortana Amazon introduces calling/messaging feature for Echo Devices Apple introduces HomePod Amazon Echo Show launches Alibaba launches GenieX1 Smart Speaker How did we get here?
  11. 11. The Google Fun House Google went all-in with their Google Home device, looking to chip away at the Amazon Echo market share. Google showcased quite the spectacle with their Google Fun House, with different AI powered functions and products presented in every room. There was a bouncing car outside (voice activated), dancing flamingos in the garden, a margarita making machine and a light room. These may seem like superficial executions of voice, but the point was to show the visitors that you really can ask for and do almost anything using voice technology.
  12. 12. Social Responsibility Working in healthcare opens our eyes to many of the problems facing our communities including those less fortunate across the world. We have the responsibility to capitalize on our resources to effect change. There were a number of booths within the exhibit hall showcasing the good work that non-profits, biopharmaceutical and healthcare companies are doing to help those in need. The energy was contagious – many booths offering opportunities to get involved or even participate while attending the festival. 2.
  13. 13. Social Responsibility Pfizer’s booth supporting the UN Global Goals showcased 16 global initiatives to improve population health and offered attendees the chance to make a specific, personal commitment to support a variety of related causes, and document the commitment in a photo booth. Sadiq Khan Mayor of LondonPfizer Sadiq Khan – Mayor of London – shared his thoughts about how tech and government can come together to improve outcomes for all. He focused on burgeoning issue of online hate speech, reading half a dozen Tweets he has received, showing how this content is not stopped by tech companies, impacting victims mental health and career choices. He also focused on how big tech companies can’t be above the law, citing the Uber/London dispute. Tech moves very fast, and often regulations don’t exist for particular technologies, however the onus should be on tech to work with regulators to reform laws to make business fair for all while still allowing growth and advancement.
  14. 14. Multiple panelists spoke about the importance of avoiding perpetuation of human biases through AI. We’re at a historic moment in our development of AI capabilities and have the responsibility to make AI more human centric. Because AI is created by humans, and intended to behave like humans, it’s incumbent on all of us to guide its development with human concerns. If we build our AI future on the data of the past we risk perpetuating societal biases. A compelling example of an analysis using facial recognition and NLP was used to compare male and female roles in movies revealing that speaking roles are consistently dominated by men. Based on existing data sets like this, machine learning will be trained to underrepresent communities. The democratization of AI requires the participation of more people, and more diverse people, in its creation. It’s not just a tool for the technology giants, but a resource for all walks of life. We need to ensure diversity of thought with disciplines beyond data and computer science. We also need to ensure AI education is part of early childhood education curriculum with an emphasis on girls, racial minorities, and other groups whose perspectives have been underrepresented. Democratizing AI
  15. 15. True Pharma + Tech Collaboration The best healthcare communications are a combination of science + technology + creative. We saw many pharmaceutical and healthcare companies embracing technology partnerships through incubators and accelerator programs where collaboration can lead to programs and services that improve patients lives. Novartis has even hired a new Chief Digital Officer to lead these efforts and reports directly to the CEO. Open innovation models offer the ability to work alongside other experts, be educated and find inspiration from people outside of your corporation’s mindset. 3.
  16. 16. Tech + Pharma Collaboration Bayer Grants4Apps Bayer has created an open innovation incubator, looking to collaborate with like-minded healthcare innovators on self- care initiatives. They had representatives speak at a few events, and had a talent recruitment booth. The incubator focuses on nutrition support, external pain management, digital self-care solutions, and skin and sun protection. Fast Company Panel demonstrating real alignment btw Pharma, Payor, Provider: • Panelists focused on solving well-articulated and documented healthcare quality, cost, and access challenges • Specific topics included telemedicine for mental health (Lantern Health, Pacifica), where all 3 stakeholders are helping get the services up and running, offered to patients, and improving access to both providers and Rx • Panelists represented Merck, UPMC, GE Health Investment, Telemedicine App Medici
  17. 17. Women in Tech (and HealthTech) The female executive and entrepreneur presence at SXSW was astounding – delivering must-see keynotes and panels, sharing creative technologies at booths and gatherings for female empowerment and networking events. Events included: Women in Blockchain Meet Up, Tech-no-color: Advancing Women of Color in Tech, IEEE Women in Tech Meet Up, 2018 Women in Digital SXSW Official Rally + Party, Women Led Cities: Co-Creating a Feminist City, Femtech: Women & Health Tech in the Trump Era, Body Politics: The War on Women’s Health, The Value of Women Investing in Women 4.
  18. 18. Notable Female-Led Companies in Tech Michelle Longmire, Founder & CEO of Medable: Apple made huge inroads into health with their “kits”, the ResearchKit for medical researchers running clinical trials, and CareKit for clinicians who want to engage their patients outside the office setting for ongoing care, monitoring, and digital interventions. The major barrier to uptake for these kits has been the lack of technical capabilities and resources on the clinical side. Hence, Medable has created a portfolio of apps that enable researchers and clinicians to roll out these services without needing to build their own technology capabilities – over 200,000 patients are already using the apps with their clinicians, and the line of academic centers and biopharma sponsors continues to ramp up quickly. There is an opportunity to leverage this emerging “channel” of HCP/patient interaction and be part of the trend- setting group that will learn what works best. Meghan Gaffney Buck, Founder and CEO of Veda Data: a new evolution in Big Data/AI, now offering “Data Science as a Service”, focused on payors who generate massive datasets every day and need help keeping the data linked accurately to the right doctors and patients. Machine learning is the secret sauce that uses all of a client’s historical data to learn how to most accurately create and save these links so the databases can deliver actionable insights. Interestingly the original technology was used to accurately identify stars and galaxies across different views from different locations and organizations.
  19. 19. What else did you miss? 19 Cleo Wade – Poetry ReadingHeadspace Sony - WOW A few other fun brands we interacted with Headspace, the meditation app, offered SXSW attendees “Room to Breathe” – a quiet, private place to disengaged. Cleo Wade, Instagram Poet and “millennial” Oprah Winfrey, read poems from her recently released book, Heart Talk. A great reminder to never underestimate the power of personal branding (check out her Instagram) and social media. Influencers are some of the smartest people in the biz. iVitamin .health IVitamin is the UBER of IV Vitamin therapy that features unique IV drips, administered by certified staff to replenish your body of depleted nutrients. Treatments include: dehydration, wellness, weight loss, low energy. Launched in 2017, .health is the new domain extension for brands, organizations, and people who provide high-quality health products, services and information. The Sony WOW house had much to see and play with, including but not limited to: aibo the robotic dog, Xperia communication robots, A(i)R Hockey and VR soccer.
  20. 20. 20 Questions? Reach out to Thank you for contributions from: Destry Sulkes, MD, WPP Health & Wellness Tom O’Connell, WPP Health & Wellness Chris Millsom, ghg | greyhealth group
  21. 21. 21 Read on: Check out for more WPP Health & Wellness insights for 2018.
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Every March, thousands of thinkers, futurists, and creative people from nearly every industry flock to Austin, Texas to take in the trends and innovations shaping the future of film, technology, and music. We were among them, taking it all in through a health focused lens, and SXSW 2018 left us exhausted and inspired. The growing ubiquity of health was evidenced by the surge of the festival’s health track, including its first ever Wellness Expo. Patient centricity, health data, social responsibility, and women in tech dominated the conversation. We’ve curated the all hot health topics, along with our POV on implications in this comprehensive recap. Hope you enjoy reading this report as much as we did curating it!


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