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DDCC 13Bengaluru ●● Monday ●● 30 May 2011
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iPads a Distant Reality In Indian Healthcare : Kapil Khandelwal, EquNev Capital, www.equnev.com


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Kapil Khandelwal
EquNev Capital

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iPads a Distant Reality In Indian Healthcare : Kapil Khandelwal, EquNev Capital, www.equnev.com

  1. 1. c m y k c m y k DDCC 13Bengaluru ●● Monday ●● 30 May 2011 Microsoft readying next tablet OS for 2012 release. Technomics Xerox in talks to move ‘few hundred jobs’ to HCL Technologies. Google, Facebook lose social network patent ruling. New York, May 29: Had Sony stuck with the Airboard portable computer it launched in 2000, Satoru Maeda rather than Apple’s Steve Jobs might have been feted as the creator of tablet PCs. “I was the inventor of the Airboard,” says Maeda between mouthfuls of fried prawn and dumplings at a Chinese restaurant in down- town Tokyo. He was refer- ring to a flat panel device that predated the iPad by a decade yet boasted video, touch screen typing and Internet access. A hefty price tag and patchy picture quality were among the reasons the prod- uct, which in hindsight looks like it was ahead of its time, didn’t initially take off. Inter- nal politics and a series of disruptive divisional reorgan- isations ensured the product never got the management focus it needed to succeed, Maeda says. Morphing it into Location Free TV -- a device through which you can watch local TV channels anywhere -- wasn’t enough to convince Sony or the marketplace that it was going to work. The project once touted as being as revolutionary as the Walk- man was dropped entirely in 2008. Maeda said he knew a year earlier that Sony under Howard Stringer, who became CEO in 2005, was going to kill his invention. His boss sent him an e-mail saying he was taking it over. “Sony old boys liked Air- board and Location Free TV because it was doing some- thing new, which is what they did at Sony,” said Maeda. “The current Sony people have no experience with such things because they haven’t introduced any new products for about 10 years.” Still beset by turf wars, secrecy, complacency and a bloated innovation-killing corporate bureaucracy, Maeda and other Sony refugees insist their former employer is in dire straits and Stringer, who is 69, is run- ning out of time to deliver on his promise of reinventing the company. Certainly Stringer can boast of his role in developing 3D film-making and the victory of the Sony-backed Blu-ray technology in the next gener- ation format wars. But Sony, despite its iconic brand, remains out of step with the rest of the global technology world and its talent for crowd-pleasing innovation has largely evaporated. A hacking scandal in April that exposed more than 100 mil- lion accounts on its online gaming network to possible data theft not only hurt its image but threatens an online strategy meant to unite a dis- parate corporation and could upset a carefully crafted suc- cession plan for when Stringer steps down. It wasn’t so much the secu- rity breach itself but the delays in informing cus- tomers of the problem and Sony’s subsequent inability to quickly close other weak spots vulnerable to hackers that has left a stain. “Too big to succeed comes to mind,” a former senior manager involved until recently with Sony’s PlaySta- tion game console said, declining to be identified because of the sensitivity of the comments. “I was at PlayStation, considered the most flexible of the Sony units, but ironically that was crippled by over-secretive IT security, a lack of a coherent management structure and a lot of deadwood at the top. It was harder to work across Sony units than to work with outside partners,” he said. It isn’t only former insiders who see the magnitude of the problems. A procession of top executives at U.S. tech- nology companies who spoke at a Global Technology Sum- mit last week didn’t mince their words when asked about Sony. Robert Glaser, chair- man of Internet media soft- ware company RealNetworks Inc, likened Stringer’s task of rehabilitating Sony to “intro- ducing capitalism to a Soviet- bloc country after 50 years of communism.” Sony watchers speculate that Sony may have been loath to admit it had been hit by hackers and wanted to play down the attack. It took Stringer another two weeks before breaking his silence on the issue and then he unapologetically defended the delays, saying they weren’t bad by corporate standards. The defiance did- n’t go down so well with some PlayStation customers. To make matters worse, there were disclosures about three other problems with the secu- rity of Sony websites last week. The company was forced to shut down a site it set up to help users affected by April’s breach after it found what it called a “secu- rity hole”. Sony’s stumbling is happening in a world where companies like Apple and Google are moving at an astonishing speed. “Sony has to change if it’s to compete in that race,” says Geoff Blaber, an analyst with UK-based technology research firm CCS Insight. “Sony is seek- ing to deliver content and services across multiple devices and platforms, but product groups and corporate structure is very, very frag- mented compared to Apple.” Whoever follows Stringer to the top of Sony, pressure will be on the new boss to quickly exit from thin-margin or loss- making operations such as phones, televisions, and peripheral businesses, including financial services, analysts predict. Another of Sony’s options may be to seek closer cooperation with U.S. Internet giant Google. Sony is already warming to Google’s Android operating system, notably partnering with the Internet search leader on Google TV. The US company could help tie together the Japanese compa- ny’s treasure trove of content and products with Google’s software and innovation — if that were to happen, indus- try watchers argue, Sony could then hope to take on Apple. For Stringer, the legacy he leaves may be that of the cost-cutter rather than the renaissance man he promised to be when he became the first foreigner to lead the Japanese company. “Stringer cut fixed costs especially for production sites, making Sony more resilient to stagnant revenue growth,” said Yasuo Nakane, an analyst at Deutsche Secu- rities in Tokyo. It has allowed him to keep pace with pro- ductivity improvements at rivals such as LG and Sam- sung. Prudent management, how- ever, isn’t enough to lift the despair that has descended not just on Sony but on some other major companies in deflation-ravaged Japan since the bubble burst two decades ago. Pondering Sony’s future again over his dumplings in Tokyo, Airboard creator Maeda is equally as glum. “I don’t think Sony can change,” he says. Not unless, he adds, “Sony has a leader like Steve Jobs.” — Reuters Lockheed hit with a cyber attack L ockheed Martin Corp, the US govern- ment’s top informa- tion technology provider, said on Saturday that it detected and thwarted “a significant and tenacious attack” on its information systems network one week ago. “As a result of the swift and deliberate actions taken to protect the network and increase IT security, our systems remain secure,” Jennifer Whitlow, a Lock- heed spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement. “No customer, program or employee personal data has been compromised.” Lockheed’s information security personnel are working around the clock to restore employee access to the “information systems network” targeted in the May 21 attack, the state- ment said. Bethesda, Maryland- based Lockheed, the Penta- gon’s number one supplier by sales and the world’s largest aerospace company, has kept the “appropriate US government agencies” informed of its actions, it added. — Reuters Zuck only eats meat that he kills M ark Zuckerberg has certainly been called cut- throat before, but nobody meant it lit- erally. Yet Mr Zucker- berg, the founder of Facebook, has told Fortune that he is only eat- ing meat he kills himself. This news apparently came to light when he told his Facebook friends on May 4, “I just killed a pig and a goat.” “He cut the throat of the goat with a knife, which is the most kind way to do it,” said the Silicon Valley chef Jesse Cool, who’s been working with Mr Zuckerberg on his new endeavor. “I’m eating a lot healthier foods,” Mr Zuckerberg told Fortune. “And I’ve learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals,” he says. “It’s easy to take the food we eat for granted when we can eat good things every day.” Last year Mr Zuckerberg committed himself to learning Chinese. — NYT I’m not real, but neither are you, so just fake it! May 29: There’s a scene in the 1988 blaxploitation par- ody “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” where, as the hero enters the boudoir of a woman he’s just met, he confesses he’s not as well endowed as he may have indicated at the bar. The woman, relieved, says she has confessions of her own, then proceeds to remove her colored con- tacts, wig, fake derrière and breasts and, finally, her prosthetic leg. It’s funny partly because anyone who’s dated knows that appearances can be deceiving. But now a new Web site, Cloud Girlfriend (cloudgirl- friend.com), proposes that completely faking it can be the start (or the entire basis) of a relationship. The concept is simple, if unorthodox: Users build fantasy profiles by selecting a photo from a bevy of attractive people and creat- ing a fictitious biography and name. A series of sim- plistic either-or questions (books or movies) shapes a personality and matches it with other fantasy profiles. If the match agrees to “date,” they can start send- ing messages to each other. From there, the relationship can remain a fantasy; or, if the users decide to reveal their true selves, it can progress or die. The original idea for Cloud Girlfriend was a little different, and more devious. It would have created fake Facebook accounts of ideal girlfriends or boyfriends (say, a model who saves endangered species) to post messages to one’s Facebook wall. Users would receive the emotional benefit of sweet talk without actually being in a relationship, said David Fuhriman, a founder of the site. And these fake mates would also make the real, live target of their affection look more desirable, pro- voking the jealousy of Face- book-stalking exes. There was immediate interest: In the month pre- ceding the site’s start in late April, 85,000 people signed up, Mr Fuhriman said. But in the meantime, Cloud Girlfriend received a letter from Facebook’s lawyers, warning that fake profiles are forbidden on the site. The new incarnation of the company raises interesting questions: Can two con- sciously misrepresented people flirt privately and rewardingly? And can that experience blossom into a relationship? The online gaming world indicates there’s potential. Mr Fuhriman has described the site’s current iteration as a combination of Match.com and Second Life, an online role-playing game wherein users create avatars — idealised selves — to navigate virtual worlds. Players in such games have fallen in love and even married. Sarah Smith-Robbins, a professor at Indiana Univer- sity specialising in social media, said that because avatars are highly customis- able forms of self-expres- sion, other players can infer things about the player’s true personality from them. Relationships starting with total fabrication could suc- ceed, she guessed, but per- haps not often in meaning- ful ways. “It’s going to be the equiv- alent of a nightclub,” she said, adding, “Maybe you hit it off, and you go home together, but the next day it’s a completely different world.” — NYT ‘CLOUDY’ AFFAIR KAPIL KHANDELWAL A midst much hype, Apple launched its iPhone 4 in India. Incidentally, full page ads in newspapers in the past didn’t help increase the penetration of Apple iPad, which was launched a few months ago. Apple though followed the same ‘mantra’ for marketing its iPhone 4. Today, iPad penetration in India remains a miserly two percent amongst the doctors, leaving aside the ‘diehard fans’ of Apple products. As an inquisitive cus- tomer, I purchased a Mac in 2008. I feel that their after sales services and change management is a far cry to lure me to buy Apple’s products over Microsoft’s. So much of Apple-bash- ing, but the fact is the doc- tor-medical rep relation- ship in India is a bit com- plex and change manage- ment is a far cry to bring in iPad revolution into healthcare. Let me first talk about the key issues about the iPad and the incidental services to bring in the impending tablet revolu- tion in healthcare in India from the doctor’s point of view. First and foremost, the size of an iPad is both a boon and a bane. For a doctor, it is difficult to carry an iPad around. For the medical rep though, it is good enough for mak- ing an impactful presenta- tion. Seven-inch screens of Blackberry, Samsung and Dell are 45 percent smaller than an iPad’s 10 inches. Secondly, value-added applications are still not available. Although Apple leads with over 5000 healthcare applications as compared to 500 each on Android and Microsoft Mobile operating sys- tems. Thirdly, the last mile connectivity to the iPad in India is a suspect. The pan India 3G coverage is still flaky. This may mean changing ‘location- aware’ and location 3G service enabled SIM cards to ensure that you get the service wherever you are. Fourthly, the iPads are missing the pen and paper ability to write that other tablets offer. These fea- tures enable annotation of images or scribble com- ments on the go. Lastly and the most importantly is the price factor in India. On a pur- chasing power parity (PPP), looking at what a Dollar can buy in the Apple homeland versus in India. The iPad prices here should be half of what its price is in the US. This may increase the device’s penetration to about 20 percent, espe- cially among doctors. I believe that reducing the size to seven inches may also reduce the prices by around 45 per- cent — size reduction is proportionate to price reduction. From the pharma com- panies point of view, there are rumours of stock pil- ing Appleware to pilot their demos and flash in front of the doctors. The key issues are still out there for the jury to judge the success so far. Firstly, medical reps (MRs) are waking up to the iPad’s tracking abili- ties. In addition to its abil- ity to constantly record its location, MRs are finding that their company soft- ware also records their activity while the iPad is switched on. This comes in the wake of global pharma companies reduc- ing their MR force drasti- cally. However the reduc- tion in MRs is not due to iPads’ introduction. Secondly, Pharma com- panies should consider many factors such as doc- tor’s preference, average age of the specialist doc- tors, sophistication level/format of the infor- mation in the detail, and a host of other considera- tions — to determine if iPad is right for their own MRs as a tool for detail- ing their products. We are still a long way from a perfect iPad revo- lution in Doctor-Medical Reps Relationships. How- ever, satisfaction with iPads by both the doctors and medical reps is still a distant reality. I hope Apple’s top executives in India are listening and not dumping their wares on high-pitched full page advertisements through service providers. A dose of IT Kapil Khandelwal is Director, EquNev Capital, and a leading healthcare and ICT expert. Kapil@KapilKhandelwal.com iPads — a distant reality in healthcare eBay and PayPal sue GoogleYINKA ADEGOKE NEWYORK May 29: EBay and its online payment unit, PayPal Inc, sued Google Inc and two executives for stealing trade secrets related to mobile pay- ment systems. The two executives, Osama Bedier and Stephanie Tile- nius, were formerly with Pay- Pal and led the launch of Google’s own mobile pay- ment system in partnership with MasterCard, Citigroup and phone company Sprint. The suit highlights the growing battle by a wide range of companies from tra- ditional finance to Silicon Valley trying to take a major stake in what has been described as a $1 trillion opportunity in mobile pay- ments. The mobile phone is seen as the digital personal wallet of the future. The eBay suit said Bedier worked for nine years at Pay- Pal, most recently serving as vice president of platform, mobile and new ventures. He joined Google on January 24 this year. Tilenius was at eBay from 2001 to October 2009 and served as a consultant to the company until March 2010. The suit says Tilenius joined Google in February 2010 as vice president of e-com- merce. Bedier is accused in the suit of having “misappropriated PayPal trade secrets by dis- closing them within Google and to major retailers.” The suit accused Tilenius of recruiting Bedier, thereby breaking a contractual agree- ment with eBay. It also claims Bedier attempted to recruit former colleagues still at PayPal. Ebay said PayPal and Google worked closely together for three years until this year on developing a commercial deal where Pay- Pal would serve as a payment option for mobile application purchases on Google’s Android phones. It said Bedier was the senior PayPal executive leading and finalising negotiations with Google on Android during this period. It also claimed Bedier trans- ferred up-to-date versions of documents outlining Pay- Pal’s mobile payment strate- gies to his non-PayPal com- puter just days before leaving PayPal for Google. “By hiring Bedier, with his trade secret knowledge of PayPal’s plans and under- standing of Google’s weak- nesses as viewed by the industry leader (PayPal), Google bought the most comprehensive and sophisti- cated critique of its own problems available,” the suit said. Google spokesman Aaron Zamost said the company had not yet received a copy of the complaint would not be able to comment until it has had a chance to review it. Google and PayPal have done battle in the recent past in online payments via computers with the launch of Google Check- out in 2006, but Checkout has had a minimal impact on PayPal’s market dominance. The suit was filed at Superi- or Court of the State of Cali- fornia, county of Santa Clara, Case No: CV20l863. — Reuters Howard Stringer, chief executive of Sony Corporation, addressing a function recently A screenshot of cloudgirlfriend.com, which proposes that completely faking it, can be a start of a relationship. bITs Sony: Did Stringer’s makover fail?