Technology and the end of traditional hospitals?

Will technology one day make hospitals obsolete? It sounds impossible. Yet according to a recent report from CBS Atlanta, an international study on technology and health discovered that a majority of people across the globe think that traditional hospitals will be obsolete thanks to tech advances.

Obsolete?

The CBS Atlanta story covers a survey by Intel Corporation. Based on the survey, 57 percent of respondents believe that changing technology could make traditional hospitals obsolete. What’s going to replace these long-time care centers? The Intel survey respondents point to the promise of customized personal care, something that can be enabled by improving medical technology.

Mobile care

Here’s what survey respondents wish to see: They’d like to rely on personalized mobile technology to assist them to treat ailments at home. They’d also like to utilize this tech to maintain their health. The goal is to eliminate those costly and time-consuming hospital visits. This demand for personalized tech is so strong that 30 percent of respondents said they’d even trust themselves to do their own ultrasounds.

No privacy issues?

According to the CBS Atlanta report, respondents were so excited about personalized, mobile care that they are willing to sacrifice some of their privacy to try it. According to survey, 84 percent of respondents said they would not balk at sharing personal health information if doing this would lead to a more efficient and cost-effective medical system.

The next five years of tech innovation, according to IBM

What technology trends are we going to see over the next five years? A good place to look is at tech innovator IBM. Forbes columnist Greg Satell recently looked at what’s ahead, highlighting IBM’s predictions for the next five years of technology change. Here’s a brief look at what Satell found.

Schools get smarter

It’s an issue: U.S. school children are slipping behind their global peers, especially in the important areas of math and science. IBM, though, sees a solution: tech-savvy classrooms. As Satell writes, IBM predicts that teachers will become more skilled in their use of classroom technology to reach a larger number of their students. Presently, while many students receive an excellent education, way to many others are left behind. IBM predicts that technology will make this less true.

Shopping gets high-tech

IBM predicts, too, that technology will radically transform retailers. How big of a change? IBM predicts that one day soon we’ll walk into a store and have our smartphones automatically search the retailer’s inventory for the exact shoe or coat we would like. Then you can use your smartphone to send a message to a salesperson that will deliver your items. Pretty neat, isn’t it?

Medicine gets a tech upgrade

What’s the biggest problem with medicine today? Satell writes that medications affect different people in different ways. What’s totally safe and effective for one patient may cause serious side effects in another. IBM predicts that within five years, doctors are going to be able to sequence the DNA of individual patients. They can then access a cloud-based center of research and clinical studies to determine the most effective medication for each patient.

Is Windows 8 on its last legs?

Is this the end of Windows 8? If recent reports in the tech media are accurate, the much-maligned Windows operating system could be coming to an end. InfoWorld writer Woody Leonhard recently took a look at the rumors. If what he’s found holds true, Windows 8 could soon get replaced by a trio of new offerings.

Threshold

Leonhard’s story concentrates on Threshold, the name that Microsoft is allegedly using for its next wave of Windows update. As outlined by Leonhard, the goal of Threshold is to help consumers to perform high-level activities across all Microsoft platforms, Windows, Windows RT, Windows Phone and Xbox. If the company can achieve this goal, Leonhard writes, it could be a good step toward removing the bad taste left by Windows 8.

What’s coming

Leonhard cites a writer from ZDNet who states that Microsoft is now developing three primary versions of Windows, all of which should be more effective than Windows 8. First, you will have a more modern Metro consumer version, a traditional consumer version and an old-fashioned traditional Enterprise version.

A better Windows 7?

Here’s the hope expressed by Leonhard: The next version of Windows, whatever it is ultimately called, will function as an updated version of Windows 7. Most computer users really liked Windows 7, and why not? It was clean, effective and easy to use. Windows 8, in contrast, is frustrating and comes with a steep learning curve. A boosted Windows 7, though? That would be the best Windows news to come about in years.

Tech can make the workplace a more efficient place

New technologies have made workplaces more efficient. It’s easy, for example, for workers to use video conferencing tech to hold meetings with their fellow workers around the world. But new tech can also leave employees feeling isolated. After all, new communication technology has eliminated much of the face-to-face aspect of the business world. But Natalie Burg, writing for tech provider Unify, says that tech doesn’t need to make the workplace a less human place. It’s all up to companies to deploy their technology the right way.

Using it right

As Burg writes, many employees bemoan the fact that little communication these days happens in a face-to-face setting. Instead, conference calls and e-mail chains are the principal ways that workers communicate with one another. Workers log long hours working as part of a virtual team. While many workers might be dissatisfied with this, Burg writes that this dependence on tech doesn’t have to be a bad thing…if companies utilize tech in the proper way.

Evolving workplace

Burg says that companies don’t need to abandon technology. Instead, they need to make sure their tech evolves to help keep the human element in the business world. For example, companies often talk about work-life balance. Technology can in fact help employees achieve that. As Burg writes, it’s actually a a valuable thing if employees have the ability while sitting at the dinner table to send a quick e-mail message to a colleague across the globe. This tech allows the employee to leave the office an hour earlier, definitely a good thing.

Creating happy, productive workers

Mobile technology is key to creating a happier workforce, Burg writes. Employees want the capability to chat with their co-workers from the road any time of the day. They don’t need to be chained to their desks the whole day. Mobile tech is great way companies can use high-tech to create more content workers, not stressed individuals.

Why digital comics are so hot

Tablets have given a big boost to retailers. All things considered these devices, which have become mini computers that you can fit in your hand, are huge business. Forbes columnist Ethan Gach writes that Walmart sold more than 1.4 million tablets during its Black Friday sale in November. But Gach also talked about one more surprising beneficiary of tablet sales: the makers of comic books.

A perfect match?

The publishers of comic books, including the biggies of Marvel and DC, were at first unwilling to embrace digital publishing, Gach wrote. But the companies soon realized the profit potential of having consumers read their books on their computer screens. Tablets are a perfect match for comics, and reading the graphic tales on these mobile devices is truly a pleasurable experience. Not surprisingly, then, big tablet sales signify increased business for comics publishers, Gach writes.

Comixology

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the growth of the tablet market is Comixology, an online retailer of comics. A few months ago, Comixology reached 200 million comic-book downloads, Gach writes. That’s a remarkable number, given that the comics industry has not been a hot one as of late.

The advantage

Comixology operates in the digital arena. Consequently it can offer a greater variety of comics than your average comic-book shop. Brick-and-mortar retailers face limited space. Digital sellers like Comixology don’t. They, then, will offer more obscure titles, benefitting the comics industry in general. And for fans? Digital comics are a good way for them to read most any title they want.