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Google I/O 2019 Key Takeaways

Innovation in the Open: Google I/O, an annual developer conference organized by the executive team has a similar format to that of  Google Developer Day. I/O 2019, the annual smorgasbord of all things Android, unveiled the long-awaited highlights of Android Q Beta 3, a Wear OS ‘Tiles’ and Pixel 3a impressions.

Launch of Pixel 3a and 3a XL in response to other brands

Among all the latest additions to Google’s plate, Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL were of biggest interests. In Spite of costing half the price of Google Pixel 3 and 3XL, both the phones have the same camera specifications. Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are featured with 5.6 inches and a 6-inch screen at a price of  $399 / AU$649 and $479 / AU$799 respectively and include Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Google Fi and US Cellular. However, it has a slower chipset and a plastic build yet it stands out to be a great bargain at such a price.

Google claims iPhone X’s low-light mode is a bit lagging. It is a direct response to iPhone XR and Samsung S10e. Designed in shades of black white and purplish, the plastic casing has room for a 3.5 mm headphone jack and the active edge brings up Google Assistant. With battery life quoted at 30 hours, it is going to be among the first devices to offer AR map mode.

Android Q Beta 3 is here

The 10th generation of Android OS, Android Q Beta 3 was launched at Google I/O 2019. It was announced to be available for 21 phones including Pixel, Nokia, OnePlus and more. The Android Q has doubled up its security and privacy features including Maps Incognito mode, reminders for location usage and sharing and TSLV3 encryption for low-end devices.

Google announced that there are over 2.5 billion active Android users around the world. With Android Q now you can watch videos with the sound off and audio instantly turning into the text to be read, the Android Q will also be compatible with foldable devices providing a thrilling experience. This feature works on all videos that have never been manually close-captioned, no internet connection would be required and it shall be completely legible to the eyes. Some other features of the new Android version launched includes ‘Smart reply’ across all messaging apps and ‘Focus Mode’ that switches off apps you choose to avoid distraction.

Long live Nest Hub Max

Google Home Hub is dead. Dropping the Google Home monikers Google is rebranding the device with the Nest name bringing in line with the security systems.
The Nest Hub is featured with a 10-inch large display and wide angle lens security camera, of 127 degrees Nest cam to be exact. The device supports video calls using a wide range of video calling apps. It also has a voice and face match feature, the camera and the mic are physically turned off by a slider that cuts off the electronics for privacy concerns. The Nest Hub can double up as a kitchen TV if you have access to youtube TV plans. Volume in this device can be controlled by freehand gestures.

Google remains a search giant

In I/O 2019, Google has implemented the timeline for new stories. Podcast will be found on search of any story. The special auto-delete also aims at greater privacy. On users choice stories can be automatically deleted after a period of 18 months or 3 months or so.  For any search in Google, 3D model will be available which can be placed in any space desired. With the “Driving Mode” feature, Google can now automatically turn on your location and provide you the map directions for the desired location.

Google lens

It is an increasingly useful application in Google’s app arsenal. On pointing the camera at the receipt it’ll show you tipping info and bill splitting help. A combination of mapping data and image recognition will let Google Lens make recommendations from a restaurant’s menu, just by pointing the camera at it. It also provides details of the food and recipes just by analyzing the menu.

Other Highlights

  • Google Duplex got smarter with ‘Duplex on the web’ feature.
  • Google Stadia, shall be the future of gaming.
  • Google Assistant got 10X faster, understanding the content better simultaneously respecting privacy.
  • I/O 2019 mentioned project ‘Euphoria’ with technologies to give people with speech impairment, there voices back. However, it shall not be rolled out anytime soon.

As a cherry on the cake, the afterparty for Google I/O 2019,was hosted by The Flaming Lips, calling it a wrap.

What were the announcements that you are most excited about?
Were you waiting for some more launches?
Let us know by commenting.
To know us in person, drop a Hi at hello@mantralabsglobal.com

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MantraTalks Podcast with Parag Sharma: Delivering Digital-first Health Experiences for Patient Care in the New Normal

6 minutes read

The healthcare industry took the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic from the very beginning. It was, and still is, a humongous task for hospitals to deal with the rising number of COVID patients as well as handling the regular consults. 

To delve deeper into the state of healthcare in the COVID times, we interviewed Parag Sharma, CEO, Mantra Labs Pvt Ltd. Parag shares his insights on how technology can help in delivering digital-first health experiences for patient care in the New Normal.

Parag is a product enthusiast and tinkerer at heart and has been at the forefront of developing innovative products especially in the field of AI. He also holds over ten years of experience working in the services line and has been instrumental in launching several startups in the Internet & Mobile space. His rich domain expertise and innovative leadership have helped Mantra climb to the top 100 innovative InsurTechs in the World – selected by FinTech Global. 

Catch the interview:  

Connect with Parag- LinkedIn

COVID-19 and Its impact on Healthcare Organizations

Considering the COVID situation, according to you how has COVID-19 impacted the IT & service operations among healthcare organizations?

Parag:  Since the onset of COVID-19, the healthcare sector has been deeply impacted. Institutions are facing a serious crunch in manpower. IT support systems which were usually manned and managed by a large team of IT professionals are not available in the same strength. Resource allocation’ is one of the biggest concerns due to physical and mental exhaustion of the healthcare workforce. 

Hospitals are facing issues such as operational disruption due to staff quarantine, supply-chain delays and sudden decline in patient footfalls, difficulty in sustaining fixed costs, etc. People are not comfortable getting out of the safety confinements of their homes due to the rising risk of getting infected with the virus. Hospitals will have to reassess their future strategy and budgets in light of the uncertain economic situation.

Preparing for the Future

What can hospitals do to ensure the continuity of their customer-facing operations in the wake of a second Pandemic wave?

Parag: There are many things that hospitals can do to manage themselves in this hour of crisis. Being more digital than what they are would be one step forward for all of them. They can bring their IT systems to the cloud so that the person can access data and manage their work remotely. They can enable their patients to book appointments and enquire about services through apps and chatbots which won’t require them to call the reception or come to the hospital. These are some of the services which hospitals can provide to their customers with minimum physical contact. 

Related: Manipal Hospital’s move to a self-service healthcare mobile application

Hospitals can extend Telehealth services to their patients. Recently, telehealth has proved to be useful especially when there is asymmetry between the number of patients and healthcare providers. I think it will be very useful for healthcare institutions to deploy telehealth solutions to provide medical facilities to people who have so far been outside the benefits of healthcare.

New Expectations in Health Experiences

Is consumer behavior defined by the ‘new normal’ going to change the way we access healthcare from this point on?

Parag: Yes, people will expect a completely different way to access healthcare services from now on. Hospitals should gear-up and rise to this occasion. The pandemic has also provided a new opportunity to adopt a completely different approach in the way healthcare is delivered. They always felt that medical care cannot be provided remotely but now this is happening and people are appreciating remote healthcare services. Hospitals and healthcare institutions are convinced that telehealth and remote care will be more successful soon.

Technology in Healthcare can Bridge Operational Gaps

What are the operational challenges, as far as digital capabilities go, that hospitals are facing currently? And, what steps must they take to bridge these gaps?

Parag: Operational challenges are not just digital challenges. But a lot of these challenges can be addressed with technology. For example, Electronic Health Records which hospitals manage within the premises can be moved to the cloud so that the person can access these records on the cloud itself and need not come to the hospital. 

Related: Medical Image Management: DICOM Images Sharing Process

Secondly, if you deploy telehealth and telemedicine solutions, irrespective of where your patients are or doctors are, hospitals can deliver the required care to its patients. You can even extend your diagnostics services to your patients by giving them an application through which they can seamlessly book appointments for consults, diagnostics, or pathological services and resolve their queries, etc. Simply by giving a seamless interface either through bots or applications can go a long way in providing better health experiences to the customers.

Role of Chatbots in Superior Customer Experiences

According to you, what role does chatbots powered by Artificial Intelligence have in the Healthcare CX landscape?

Parag: Chatbots are the simplest example of the implementation of AI-based technology in healthcare. There are a lot of things which bots can do simplistically. For example, if a patient wants to book an appointment with the doctors, instead of going through a complex web applications and interfaces, what if I can simply write “I want to book an appointment with the doctor Dr. XYZ at 4 pm” and the bot can figure out in case the time slot is available with that particular doctor, it will confirm the appointment followed by a payment process if the payment has to be made upfront. 

Apart from this, you can extend your bots to provide e-consultations where doctors can do remote consultations via audio and video features of a chatbot. So there is a huge scope for bots beyond answering routine queries by customers or booking appointments. It does not stop just there. You can extend chatbot functionalities to support functions such as admin, HR, finance, and business process efficiency so that they can provide better services to their customers.

Related: Healthcare Chatbots: Innovative, Efficient, and Low-cost Care

Chatbot Use Cases in Healthcare

Could you tell us some possible bot use cases for delivering better customer experiences to digital health users?

Parag: Apart from booking appointments and resolving customer queries, these bots can conduct remote consultations, internal processes, health symptom checker, out-patient video consultation, second opinion consultation, ordering medicines, psychological counseling & mental wellness, scenario-based risk advice, Heroism Recognition for employees, etc. Also, it can be further extended to help patients enquire about health insurance related queries, and all the interactions between insurance companies and hospitals can be provided to the patient. 

Related: Healthcare & Hospitals Use Cases | Digital Health

The Road Ahead

COVID-19 has forced hospitals to revise patient support strategy with limited operational staff that is bringing every day a new challenge. A way out is to heavily rely on digital innovation.

In India we have a disparity between the no. of healthcare providers and care seekers. Without technology, I don’t think there is any way healthcare institutions will be able to scale to a level where they can provide meaningful services to such a large number of people. Hospitals can invest in setting up an information exchange; making the process as seamless as possible; and removing all possible inefficiencies from the supply chain through technology.

Future growth for hospitals will come from digital technology because patients will opt more for digital platforms. And it is up to hospitals to catch up with the pace at which modern technology is developing. We, at Mantra Labs, have achieved several use cases including hospitals/diagnostic centers that are able to deliver superior health experiences.

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