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5 Key Takeaways for iOS Developers from WWDC20

3 minutes, 21 seconds read

Apple WWDC20 brings together the global Apple developer community of more than 23 million in a phenomenal and virtual way. Kicking off the 31st edition of their flagship WWDC conference as the biggest WWDC to date; Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO said “Today we’re announcing our transition to Apple silicon, making this a historic day for the Mac” 

Last year, at the WWDC event, Apple announced some fine machine learning and artificial intelligence updates and demonstrated how the developers can benefit from the customization. This year, on Day 1 of WWDC 2020, Apple made some landmark announcements unveiling a smorgasbord of updates for the iOS Developers community. 

5 key takeaways from WWDC 2020 for iOS Developers

1. New Depth API in ARKit 4

ARKit 4 introduces new ways to capture information about the real world using a new Depth API. This API is designed to work with the LiDAR sensor in iPad Pro. It enables entirely new types of apps, such as on-site architecture, design, landscaping, and manufacturing. 

2. Simplified Core ML

Machine learning development in Core ML is now easier and more extensive. With the introduction of additional tools for model deployment and encryption, new templates in Create ML, and more APIs for vision and natural language, Core ML is capable of fine-tuning models and making predictions on user’s devices. 

Core Machine learning forms the fundamental building block of any domain-specific framework and functionality. With Create ML and API’s for vision and NLP, one can build models for sound activity and object detection; and transfer learning for text classifications.

With over 100 model layers now supported with Core ML, the ML, it is believed that models can be built that deliver experiences that deeply understand the vision, NLP and speech like never before.

Also read: Speech is the next UX

3. Extended Touch Gesture Control in PencilKit

PencilKit now features Scribble, which makes it easy to create apps with text entry fields that users can write in with Apple Pencil, handwriting for any UITextField. Developers will also have access to stroke data using PencilKit as stroke API gives access to the strokes as the user draws. It seamlessly handles both Apple Pencil input and system touch gestures.

Also read: How does AI recognise your hand gestures and movements?

4. Extensions in SwiftUI

Apple added no breaking changes to SwiftUi but just extensions. Swift Package Manager adds support for resources to easily share Asset Catalog bundles and localizations. 

New open-source packages have been introduced for Numerics, ArgumentParser, and System making Swift a great language for more use cases. SwiftUI now contains app-structure APIs for all Apple platforms, e.g. @main, @SceneBuilder, Settings etc. Now developers can write an entire app in Swift UI using the life cycle API and share it across all Apple platforms. 

5. Wider Scope of Testing in TestFlight 

TestFlight has been helping developers in testing beta versions of their apps. In the WWDC 2020 announcement, it will now support up to 100 team members for fast build distribution. Moreover, iOS Developers can Invite up to 10,000 external testers through email address or by sharing a public link.

Wrapping-up

During the WWDC 2020, many new APIs were announced that can enable iOS Developers to create amazing app-experiences. It also includes the AirPods Motion API that gives developers access to movement data in real-time. Also, Developers can now enable users to upgrade existing third-party app accounts to Sign in with Apple accounts.

Apart from Apple’s updates and releases, it is also creating an additional channel for developers to share feedback on developer’s forums. Developers are encouraged to share their feedback on the forum so that the team at Apple continues to update on the fixes and enhance the App Store experience for the entire developer’s community. 

Check out – 1-on-1 Developer Labs

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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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