Innovating in Health and Social Care Blog
Guest blog by Tim Marsden, Urban Foresight, Facilitators of the Innovation Challenge.
Arguably, the pace at which technological development is happening now is faster than at any other time. Certainly, within living memory. Companies are continually evolving products and services, to become quicker, faster, better and more reliable.
We live in an increasingly ‘data rich’ world – people are consuming more data ‘on the go’ than ever before and there is far more data available for companies to utilise.
Typically, when a product is purchased, the Brand owner loses their stewardship over the product. With the advent of ‘big data’ and the ‘internet of things’, it is much easier for the Brand Owners to see where and when their products have been consumed. A recent, albeit simple, example includes Coca-Cola’s ‘name on a bottle’, which encouraged consumers to engage with the brand in a way that hadn’t been experienced before. As technology has evolved, we are now seeing the miniaturisation of electronic components, which are in turn being embedded into other products, so consumers can engage directly with a product. Brand Owners are getting much more visibility, engagement and data than they ever have before.
The health and social care industries has traditionally taken a conservative approach to incorporating new/cutting edge technologies into their products or services. It is of course true to say that the health and social care industry is one of the most regulated industries within the UK.
The pace of change combined with a traditionally conservative approach to technology adoption has often made innovation in this field more challenging than it could be. Or should be.
Connected healthcare and connected social care is increasingly important within the Health and Social Care field. The ‘internet of things’ is allowing more and more products to become connected to support healthier lifestyles, as well as to support care in home-based settings.
The UK has always been a leader in the health and social care environment, with a long history of inventions and innovations. Many of the world’s biggest healthcare companies are headquartered within the UK. The UK has world-class R&D facilities in the UK. There are established supply-chains (logistics, packaging, components, ingredients…) and we have the technological infrastructure to help facilitate change.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, this has become ever more focussed and highlighted to many that companies can work together to generate magnificent results in a short-time frame. This has helped push some SMEs work into the public domain, which perhaps otherwise wouldn’t have received the publicity it deserved.
The pandemic has helped accelerate the UK Government’s development programme for vaccines, for example. It has also supported many companies working together, where they otherwise might not have done.
It has also supported and highlighted the magnificent achievements of the R&D centres which already exist in the UK – but has also highlighted areas where the UK needs to accelerate.
5G is no different in this area.
There are many companies already providing products and services within the healthcare space which offer connected functionality through for example, Zigbee, Bluetooth, 3G and/or 4G.
The S5GC Innovation Challenge is a remarkably exciting opportunity for organisations in the UK to take the next step with their product or service. The prize on offer by The S5GC presents a unique opportunity for the winning organisations to take the next step technically, and accelerate their route to commercialisation. It also offers an opportunity to meet the ‘challenge owners’ – people who may utilise the product on offer.
There are many SMEs in the health and social care field, many of whom are offering innovative and cutting-edge solutions to real-world problems. Some of these are already on the market, many more are in the development stages. If that rings true with you, then perhaps this Innovation Challenge may be part the solution you’ve been looking for.
Here’s hoping the S5GC Innovation Challenge can help fast track your route to commercialisation!