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technologie Archives — NewTeam

The Internet of Things calls for caution

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During the Internet of Things congress in the Mercure hotel in Amsterdam, Danny Mekić (NewTeam partner and technology expert) talked with Marino Strik from NXP Semiconductors and Leo van der Putten from Clickey about the pros and cons of connecting everyday objects to the internet. The increasing level of technological connectivity makes it an important question whether we’re still in control of our own lives. Danny Mekić set the tone by stating that the smarter the technology is that we surround ourselves with, the dumber we become ourselves.

Moreover, as it turns out, the intentions of the various parties that control the chips in our Internet of Things devices are often unclear, as are those of the companies that gather data from things like driverless cars or our healthcare records. Is it a good idea to let major, quoted American companies run off with that much information? Danny Mekić thinks the government has a role to play in this. In his opinion, the government should take a step back from developments like these by minimising restrictions on new technologies, while maximising safeguards for citizens’ constitutional rights.

He also warns that it’s important that the government should require the private big names of the technological landscape to be transparent in their usage of collected data. The ability of the individual to choose whether or not to be included in their digital databases is essential for making sure we don’t become slaves to technology. He also argues for mandatory warnings whenever there are algorithms at work, such as the ones creating personalised online search results for you or the ones on holiday booking sites that charge more to some customers than others. It isn’t nearly always clear to users that they might be discriminated against on the basis of their profile.

In other words: even though the future offers an incredible range of innovative, beneficial opportunities, it’s important to keep a cautious eye on these developments as well, says Danny Mekić.

Presentation about technological developments relating to health care

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This year, the Nederlandse Vereniging van Arthroscopie (Dutch Arthroscopy Society) organised an international anniversary congress at the Huis ter Duin hotel in Noordwijk aan Zee. The event was attended by 400 orthopaedic surgeons interested in the latest developments in the area of arthroscopy. It was a two day event with various appearances by scientific speakers. The programme on the theme of ‘innovation’ featured a more practical talk this time, discussing technological developments relating to health care. This presentation was held by Danny Mekić (CEO of NewTeam and expert on technology).

During his presentation, Danny Mekić talked about the prospects of the surgical profession, discussing new scanning technologies and the applications of 3D printing. He also discussed the future of health care, including the possibilities of big data and the role of doctors in the future. Because patients can more and more often use technology to make their own diagnoses, the doctor’s role is going to change.

Although some professions are threatened by new technologies, surgeons will only become more important in the future, says Danny Mekić. “Surgeons are becoming more and more capable and more and more precise at treating patients’ problems. That requires more than just knowledge and an understanding of the human body; it’s also important for surgeons to keep up more and more with technological developments that are or could be relevant to their field.”

Danny thinks this will be an exciting time for the healthcare sector, because he expects there will be more and more need for investments intended to improve healthcare in the long run, rather than on the short term, which the management of hospitals (where the surgeons work) will need to work on. In order to use 3D printing, first we’ll need to gain more experience with it. “It’s exciting because this could end up creating tensions, or it might not.”

“Robotics are coming into reach”

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Many entrepreneurs in the Amerstreek area take an interest in robotics; that much was obvious during the Entrepreneurs’ Café by Rabobank Amerstreek on Monday evening, the 11th of May. Cees Gelderen, Director of Businesses, welcomed at least 250 attendees. They’d come to meet NAO in real life. This tiny robot was accompanied by guest speakers Danny Mekić, expert in technology, and Mike van Rijswijk, innovation strategist.

Creativity as an export product

Danny Mekić was declared most successful young entrepreneur in 2009 and is now a multidisciplinary expert. He’s taken an interest in technology and innovation since he was little. Danny believes the Netherlands need to be more innovative: “Creativity and innovation are the export products of the Netherlands. Science is ready; now it’s the people we’re waiting for. There’s a lot more room for innovation left. We just need to be willing to adapt our organisational structure, strategy or business model.”

Nanotech bandages

As technology keeps becoming smaller and cheaper, it comes within reach of a larger and larger number of people and companies, with applications such as preventive healthcare for example. But it doesn’t stop there. Think of self-driving cars, like Google is developing. Think of drones delivering packages or being used for security purposes. Think of 3D printers that can create anything. And how about nanotech bandages with sensors that keep an eye on your health? But there are also ethical concerns that rear their heads; for example, should the safety of a crossing pedestrian come first to a driverless car, or that of its own passenger? If dodging the pedestrian would make the car slam into a tree, should it? Not to even mention all those new technologies putting our privacy on the line.

NAO

As a management consultant, it’s a challenge to Mike van Rijswijk to keep finding new technologies and find out what entrepreneurs could use them for. “This is why the robot NAO has become part of my family,” he tells us.  His kids are growing up with NAO. Mike demonstrates making the roughly 10,000 euro robot sit down, stand up again, walk, dance, and even play soccer.  Since there are several different apps available for controlling it, it can be put to use in various ways. This is because Nao was initially marketed for educational purposes. NAO is a fun way for children to learn how to program. But in the area of healthcare, there’s a bright future for NAO’s big brother too, who can do many useful things there. For example, it could aid in lifting patients into their beds or help with the treatment of dementia.

Be bold, show entrepreneurship and go for it

But what can an entrepreneur do with this? Danny and Mike emphasise that you shouldn’t wait until the technology is here. It’s important for entrepreneurs to already start thinking now about what it can be used for. Much is already possible, but you do need to be receptive to it and see the possibilities and applications.  To put it in Van Rijswijk’s words:  you have to be bold, show entrepreneurship and go for it!