Mobile World Congress (MWC) is Europe’s biggest technology gathering and, with 72,000 delegates, 16 congress halls and possibly the largest collection of mobile phone salesmen and women in the world, is a daunting event on many levels.
But it’s also an increasingly important meet-up in the world of digital health as more and more mobile network operators, phone manufacturers, app developers and peripheral device innovators fix on our mobile phones as the key device for delivering personal digital healthcare.
This year’s Mobile World Congress was held from Monday 24 – Thursday 27 February in Barcelona. Some of the biggest product launches there focussed on integrated health and fitness monitoring capabilities, like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear 2 watch. No doubt something similar from Apple will be along at some point soon!
I‘d been invited by UK Trade and Investment and the Technology Strategy Board to chair a session on what makes the UK a great place to innovate in Digital Health where I was able to introduce some existing partners and some new friends to a very receptive audience, including:
- Professor George Crooks, Clinical Director of NHS 24
- Justene Ewing, newly installed CEO of Scotland’s Digital Health Institute
- John Griffiths, CEO of Care Systems Integration and winner of the CISCO Raptor prize
- Rich Bailey of mobile network operator EE.
It was a lively discussion with both UK players and international technology providers looking to use the UK as a testbed for new products and services and, perhaps more importantly starting to speak a common language of digital health. A common language was also being spoken by the European Connected Health Alliance who for the first time ran a dedicated health conference as part of MWC.
We may not yet be able to draw the stadium size crowds of ultimate keynote speaker Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, but digital healthcare is fast becoming a core growth area in the mobile world.
- Andrew Chitty is executive director and co-founder of Digital Life Sciences