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Leroy Jones, Jr. is the creator of Talking Technology with Leroy Jones, Jr.

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mHealth: App Distributors Survey

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Interesting survey on health insurers and apps.

Check it out.


"Seven years ago survey respondents said "hospitals" and "physicians" would be the most important future distribution channels, but they have lost a lot of their luster as have "healthcare webpages" and "pharmacies", the report noted."



(via MedcityNews)

The FCC: Steps Up for Rural Communities

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Recent years have been good to Americans with access to high-speed broadband.  Record numbers of us have smartphones and home broadband, according to a Pew report this year and average U.S. broadband speeds have more than tripled since 2011.


But far too many Americans still lack broadband access, especially in rural areas.  The FCC's 2016 Broadband Progress Report concluded that 39% of rural Americans did not have access to fixed broadband (25 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up).  By comparison, only 4% of urban residents lack access.

 

Moreover, high-speed internet prices are also significantly higher in rural areas.  A recent analysis claimed that rural residents pay as much as 300% more for comparable service than suburban residents.

 

As a son of rural America it is good to see a bipartisan consensus forming on improving rural broadband, both in Congress and at the FCC. Give credit to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who has made rural broadband improvement a cornerstone of his service as Chair.

 

Last week, under Pai's leadership, a unanimous FCC approved separate procedures to speed the Commission's two most important rural broadband initiatives.  These procedures involve data collection and decision challenges for the upcoming Connect America Fund II and Mobility Fund II auctions, which begin in 2018.  The details are complex (see here and here) but together, their adoption signals a heightened seriousness at the FCC for helping residents in small towns and communities to gain the broadband access that Americans in urban areas have had for years.

 

The stakes with this issue are huge.  A 2015 study by university researchers found that among similarly situated rural counties, those with more households connected to broadband had higher incomes and lower unemployment than those with fewer. The study also found that rural counties with lower broadband adoption saw slower growth in the number of firms and total employment than similar counties with higher adoption.

 

As one of the authors, Professor Sharon Strover, told The Wall Street Journal this spring:


"Having access to broadband is simply keeping up. Not having it means sinking."


This lack of broadband hits hard in many rural communities - for example, the 911 dispatcher in Missouri who was unable to track approaching storms because the Internet kept going out. This lack of viable access is also contributing to the population stagnation felt in many rural communities across the Midwest.

 

With the exception of the last few years, U.S. broadband policy for decades operated free from the partisan shouting that paralyzed progress on other issues. The past few years saw a breakdown of this unity but happily, things seem to be moving in the right direction, at least on rural deployment. 

 

Chairman Pai deserves credit for this. Here's hoping that he can keep this progress going.


LJJ

(TechnicalJones)

Moving Forward with Rural Broadband

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Recently, the website The Conversation, which bills itself as a forum for academic analysis, posted a fascinating article on the implications of America's changing demographics. 


Authored by two Penn State professors whose research was funded by the NIH, the article begins by noting that, "Racial and ethnic diversity is no longer confined to big cities and the east and west coasts of the United States."

 

Specifically, the authors show how this trend toward greater diversity "is not limited to urban America. Dramatic increases are evident in rural places as well." Ninety percent of rural areas in the U.S. became more diverse between 1990 and 2010, they write.

 

The points raised in their article are particularly timely given the FCC's recent vote to promote rural broadband. As demographic profiles of small towns and communities continue changing, these communities' needs change too.  This makes their need for broadband access and connection speeds comparable to urban areas especially important.

 

Thankfully, it looks like Washington understands this. Last week, the FCC unanimously approved launching the second phase of its Mobility Fund, which funds expanding wireless voice and broadband services in underserved areas. The FCC also approved the next step in its Connect America Fund auction, which supports voice and broadband service deployment in under-served high-cost areas. 

 

The Mobility Fund order provides up to $4.53 billion during the next decade ($453 million per year for ten years) to expand 4G LTE coverage to areas that lack this service. The service will have at least a median speed of ten megabits per second (Mbps), which is enough to stream HD movies.

 

Interestingly, rather than using grants, the FCC chose to distribute these funds through a "reverse auction" system.  The plan is to have wireless companies compete against each other by submitting bids on rural coverage based on the number of square miles its service will cover. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn called the new system "a framework that will bring reasonably comparable mobile service to those who have been without."

 

While the goal is laudable and the implementation seems workable, the FCC's action does raise a legitimate concern over its likelihood of success.  As FCC Commissioner Michael O'Reilly noted in his endorsement, "While I certainly want to maximize the [benefits], if the requirements are unrealistic, we run the risk that potential bidders will decide not to participate or that providers will have to return funding several years from now."

 

This sort of auction problem would not be new to the FCC.  In the 1990s, when the FCC conducted its spectrum auction for PCS services, it implanted unrealistic guidelines and as a result, more than half the licenses from that auction were later returned for non-payment. This set back U.S. development of mobile broadband for years.

 

The FCC's Connect America Fund vote also involves an incentive auction.  The Commission voted to spend nearly $2 billion in incentives for fixed and wireless rural broadband deployment.

 

But overall, the FCC has taken an important step forward to support rural broadband. Chairman Ajit Pai has made expanded broadband access for all a signature goal of his Chairmanship and this is a tangible step forward.


LJJ

(TechnicalJones)

Mobile Tech: What happens in 2017?

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What do you think will be going on within the world of mobile tech in 2017?

Looks like things will be real interesting!


"Mobile technology in 2017 will have a heavy concentration on simplicity, speed, and ease of use."



mHealth: Will you wear it?

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Will you wear it?

Seems that the mHealth wearables market keeps growing!

Check out this interesting news:


"Boosted by the remote patient monitoring industry and provider acceptance of digital health devices in the home, shipments of remote monitoring wearables are expected to increase by more than 400 percent by 2021."


(via @mHealthIntel)


mHealth: Digital Assist

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Would you trust or feel comfortable with this?

Take a look at the article below:
 

"Powered by AI and enhanced by the IoT, digital assistants have the potential to connect consumers to mHealth services in the home - if a few bugs can be worked out first."





mHealth: Tools & Care

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The Business of Global Healthcare IT

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mHealth: Speed Up EHR Providers

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mHealth: Does it or will it work?

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The question I always ask mHealth folks. 
Does it or will it work?

Check out this interesting article on that issue:


"But, as an article published at the Journal of the American Medical Association points out, the number of viable, safe and beneficial mHealth apps is a big unknown; many apps could potentially be problematic for users and caregivers."



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