Author: Amanda Giasson

Mobile technology proving useful in clinical trials

Exco In Touch is using mobile tech to expand its efforts to aid pharmaceutical companies with drug testing.

A Nottingham drug trial firm, based in Edwalton, is utilizing mobile technology to oversee patients who are participating in clinical trials for new drugs.

The company has grown substantially over the course of six years.

Exco In Touch’s turnover has evolved from a few hundred thousand pounds to £5 million (over US$8 million) since 2008 and it is likely to continue its climb this year. The company is in high demand as its client base includes over half of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies.

At present, the firm has 60 staff, 40 at its Wheatcroft Business Park location and 20 overseas in the United States. Its current objective is to boost its team by a third at the Wheatcroft Business Park.

Exco’s mobile technology works on a range of devices.

Doctor and entrepreneur Neil Rotherham, the firm’s executive chairman, who co-founded ClinPhone (which has since been purchased by an American company and renamed Perceptive Informatics) said Exco In Touch uses “sophisticated technology to interact directly with the patient.” ClinPhone utilized a telephone-based technology in a similar way, but Exco’s technology is far more technology - mhealth

The company’s software platform is compatible with laptops, mobile phones and tablets. It allows the drug testing firm to maintain contact with new drug trial participants, collect data on their progress and help participants to meet trial requirements.

“What we’ve designed is a system which uses technology that fits in with people’s lifestyles and helps them to complete the trial in the right time, the right order and producing the right data,” said Dr. Rotherham. He stated that obtaining clinical trial information accurately and in a well-timed manner “has become increasingly important for regulatory reasons.” He added that collecting that information on paper is not as accurate or as timely as it is compared to a digital and mobile method.

There is a lot of potential for mobile technology or m-health to aid people who suffer from chronic health conditions and diseases. It can help them manage their health and assist doctors in monitoring patients. Dr. Rotherham believes that mhealth technology will help people better manage their illnesses and lower the stress on healthcare.

Technology news made with Skype Translator

Skype and Microsoft Research collaboration has resulted in major technological advancement in telecommunication.

Microsoft has recently made technology news by revealing a new translation service for the freemium VoIP (voice over IP) and messaging app Skype, which has the ability to identify spoken words and translate these words into a different language and, in almost real-time, speak back the translation.

After 15 years of research Microsoft intends to launch the new service by the end of the year.

Presently, Skype has an estimated 300 million monthly users who utilize its service via smartphones, tablets, computers and television. At the end of 2014, Skype Translator will be available for Windows 8. However, Microsoft also has the intention to make it available to other operating platforms in the future.

Skype’s corporate vice president, Gurdeep Singh Pall, said “Skype has always been about breaking down barriers. And the language barrier is huge. It has been a blocker to productivity and human connection.” He went on to say that “Skype Translator helps us overcome this barrier. It’s going to make sure you can communicate with anyone without language barriers.”

The technology was demonstrated by Pall in California at the Code conference. He held a three minute conversation with one of his German colleagues via a Skype video call. Pall spoke in English and his words were translated into German while his colleague spoke in German and Pall and the audience heard the German to English translation in almost real-time.

There were a few mistakes during the conversation, but these were extremely minor compared to those that occurred when the service was first demonstrated two years ago, translating English to Chinese. This shows the technological improvements that have been made in such a short time.

Microsoft’s technology news could preserve Skype’s competitive edge.

Skype was acquired by Microsoft back in 2011 for $85 billion. Globally, Skype continues to be the most used video and voice chat. However, it has a lot of competition from other popular messaging services like WhatsApp, FaceTime and Hangouts. The translation feature could be what allows Skype to keep a leg up over its competitors.

It is likely that there will be more Skype-related technology news in the future as more advancement are made and because Microsoft has yet to announce if the new translator service will be free or not.