5 non-health tech stories you should care about this week

Plus, Wi-Fi gets smarter and toy makers offer lessons for technology developers.


While it may be April 1, it’s also Friday, which means it’s time to take a look at what you may have missed in the world of technology outside healthcare.

Here, we present this week’s list of five interesting general technology stories that people in healthcare should pay attention to. These issues could have an impact on health tech in the future. No fooling.

1. “Microsoft, Google make their pitches to unseat Amazon in the cloud” (Network World)

The past two weeks have been a bonanza of cloud conferences and they provide useful insight into the ongoing IaaS cloud wars between Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

2. “Wireless tech means safer drones, smarter homes and password-free WiFi” (MIT News)

In a new paper, a research team led by Professor Dina Katabi present a system called Chronos that enables a single WiFi access point to locate users to within tens of centimeters, without any external sensors.

The group demonstrated Chronos in an apartment and a cafe, while also showing off a drone that maintains a safe distance from its user with a margin of error of about four centimeters.

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Physician Targeting Using Real-time Data: How PurpleLab’s Alerts Can Help

By leveraging real-time data that offers unprecedented insights into physician behavior and patient outcomes, companies can gain a competitive advantage with prescribers. PurpleLab®, a healthcare analytics platform with one of the largest medical and pharmaceutical claims databases in the United States, recently announced the launch of Alerts which translates complex information into actionable insights, empowering companies to identify the right physicians to target, determine the most effective marketing strategies and ultimately improve patient care.

3. “Samsung’s new app gives its tech troubleshooters remote access to customers’ phones” (VentureBeat)

The Samsung+ app launched in the U.S. last year, replete with in-app video and text chat, a built-in telephone support feature, FAQs, and diagnostics, all designed to help customers circumvent issues they’re having with their phone or tablet. With the latest update, not only has the app been given a complete makeover and expanded to offer support for electronics — such as TVs and home appliances — but with Samsung Assist thrown into the mix, it’s clearer than ever that the Korean tech titan is trying to replicate a physical support environment similar to that of Apple’s Genius Bar

4. “What Technology Companies Can Learn from Toy Makers” (Harvard Business Review)

Indeed, there is a lot that managers, IT teams, and tech-laden professionals can learn from the way that toy and gaming companies tackle the incursion of technology into play. In particular, it can help us address three recurring concerns about technology in the workplace: that it’s displacing face-to-face interaction and connection, that it’s eroding our social and professional skills, and that it’s making us passive consumers instead of active creators and contributors.

5. “First Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets shipped to Kickstarter backers” (The Guardian)

The groundbreaking headsets, retailing for $599 and now backordered until at least July, allow high-quality, super immersive virtual reality viewing in a small package – a remarkable innovation those in the space have been holding out hope for for years.

However, mass adoption of the technology may still be a ways off: consumers need a powerful (and expensive) gaming PC to operate the headset, and the founder of Oculus said he has no immediate plans to make the headset compatible with Apple’s Macs.

Photo: Flickr user Francisco Gonzalez