Partners Should Really Be Looking at Cutting-Edge Tech
The fact that technology is taking off in healthcare and finance is old news, but we’re not talking cloud servers here. The channel has historically not been comprised of early adopters of emerging technology. Consider how long the consumer world was cashing in on IoT before we really started to see traction in our sector. But with how rapidly technology is evolving and being adopted by big business, partners really need to start paying attention. Even if you aren’t dealing directly with the tech trend, the foundational technology that supports these emerging use cases is a huge opportunity for partners.
Jagged Little Pill
The Food and Drug Administration has just approved the first ‘digital pill’ in the U.S. with the purpose of tracking whether or not patients are actually taking their prescribed medications. The connected sensor generates an electronic signal when it hits fluids in the stomach, which is received by a patch worn on the ribcage. That patch then transmits the data using Bluetooth to a mobile application, where it’s uploaded to a database accessible by the patient’s doctors and anyone else they wish to have access to it, such as family members.
A slew of pharmaceutical companies and researchers have developed similar technologies that have yet to gain FDA approval. The technology opens the floodgates for privacy concerns, and no wonder. It’s bad enough that we can be tracked via our mobile devices and share our most personal details and interactions with home assistants like the Amazon Echo. But swallowing an IoT device just feels different. It isn’t something you can take off or turn off (though you can revoke access to your records at any time). Frankly, it’s creepy…but it’s also probably an inevitable use of IoT in healthcare.
It’s pretty clear how partners can leverage emerging technology like this to their advantage. The digital pill requires hardware sensors, mobile applications, HIPAA-compliant connectivity from the device to the cloud, security measures to safeguard patient records, compliance and governance guidelines, database management, data mining capabilities, frontend portals and platforms, and probably on-prem storage solutions for archiving. Creepy or not, healthcare is clearly a vertical in which technology is opening a lot of doors for forward-thinking partners.
Everywhere Partners Want to Be
American Express announced this week that it’s partnered with Ripple and Santander to develop B2B, blockchain-enabled, international cross-border payments. Blockchain, for those who need a reminder, is a decentralized, distributed database that provides an immutable record of data transmission in real time.
This is a big deal, guys. AmEx is one of the first finance giants to develop a foundational use case for blockchain, with the goal of reducing the time, cost, and complexity associated with traditional money transfers. This initial program is geared more toward international payments and securities (i.e. transactions that don’t touch average cardholders), but it isn’t hard to imagine a day in the very, very near future where average consumers can pay their AmEx bill. And by reducing the number of intermediaries necessary to process these transactions, it might significantly alter the way the business finance industry operates.
There are some significant hurdles blockchain and crypto-currency will have to clear in order to really gain widespread traction. Because the technology is decentralized, the funds aren’t housed in one single country—which gives crypto users an opportunity to evade taxes and governmental regulations. But this initiative doesn’t use crypto; it just provides an instantaneous way to transfer funds already housed in banks. Earlier this year, former chairman of the Federal Reserve spoke at Ripple’s Swell conference and told the audience that “when bitcoin becomes a threat [to financial institutions and government] they’ll take whatever action” is necessary to nip it in the bud.
But it’s clear there are some major sea changes happening in the finance world right now. Partners with an understanding of nascent technologies like the blockchain, point-of-sale systems, mobile payment platforms, and all of the ins and outs of governmental regulations are in a very sweet spot. They can literally help shape the future of finance and change fundamentally the way financial transactions are conducted. Cha-ching.