It's time for part two of our interview with Head of Global Sales Alex Gibson.
Missed part one? You can recap here, for lots of insight into Alex's responsibilities within the commercial team as well as his thoughts on the importance of B-Secur's partnerships with some of the world's leading semiconductor companies.
This week, Alex talks more in detail on his personal perspective of the tech industry and predictions for the future, specifically within the wearable market.
Wearable arrhythmia detection devices are becoming increasingly popular, with sales set to double by 2022. In your professional opinion what is the reason for such a hike in consumer demand?
"Firstly, we have Apple to thank for helping to bring ECG and in particular a deeper awareness of the importance of heart health issues such as sinus rhythm, into the mainstream back at the end of 2018.
"Since then we have seen a number of high profile consumer devices adding ECG as a key feature and we will certainly see more to come.
"Another key macro trend we are witnessing is the evolution in remote health care, accelerated by COVID-19.
"The demand for medical-grade devices that can monitor heart rhythm and health from the safety of your own home is accelerating as a result of COVID-19 and will ultimately save lives. That’s the business we are in."
"A third element, related to this is the blurring of the lines between consumer and health.
"Before COVID-19 this line was quite clear, but now we are witnessing a trend towards medical devices coming to market that look and feel like consumer devices. They are easy to wear and lower cost but without negative impact on the data quality and accuracy.
"A recent US survey indicated that ECG was the second most sought after feature behind step count for consumers when choosing a new device so I think we can say ECG is truly here!"
B-Secur is exploring some truly revolutionary uses for ECG biometrics, most notably in health and wellness. What’s the most exciting use case for you?
"For me, it’s not so much one specific use case, rather that we can see ECG being developed on a range of IoT devices that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
"Spot checks on watches are the high profile use case, but for me there is a missed opportunity to add more ECG features e.g. Stress and User Identification, so that your health data can remain uncorrupted by other users.
"We are also talking to a wealth of companies now that see value in bringing ECG to their devices from rings, medical devices, massage chairs and even, would you believe, toilet seats!
"We have always tried to stay ahead of the game in terms of customer demand and the silicon vendor roadmaps. As the underlying AFE technology develops, OEM's are increasingly asking for a combination of bio-sensing capabilities e.g. ECG, PPG, EDA.
"I see a very exciting future as we move into these areas and combine technologies. This will drive more functionality for the device and consumer and even deeper insight through cloud and analytics."
The recent coronavirus pandemic has taken the world’s healthcare systems by surprise, what role do you see telehealth playing in the long term?
"I think this is the one area that we can try to take something positive from COVID-19: i.e. the way in which it has forced the health system to accelerate and innovate around hospital-at-home monitoring.
"All of my doctor's appointments are now done via video conference on my phone and increasingly we will be asked to provide readings and data from devices that we own or are provided for us, reducing the need to physically visit a GP or hospital.
"There has been a rise in cloud based platforms offering this kind of service but there still remains a fundamental disconnect between how doctors and clinicians see the world and that of the everyday consumer especially when it comes to the trust that is placed in the data itself. This is why it’s critical that device accuracy improves, but also we create systems and processes that have buy in across the board and are capable of supporting this remote based approach.
"We also have to be honest about how much can be done outside of a hospital. IoT devices will never provide a complete replacement to in hospital diagnosis. The ever increasing presence and access to affordable, medically accurate devices will only serve to increase everyday consumers awareness of important health matters so that problems can be spotted way before they become life-threatening."
As you look ahead in the next several years, what do you see as B-Secur’s priorities?
"It is time to scale the distribution and licensing of our technology onto any IoT or medical device, and expand into wider bio-sensing and analytics. There is much to do but we never lose sight of our core value proposition: accuracy and performance.
"As the digital health and bio-sensing revolution continues to accelerate, people will increasingly place their faith in the data presented to them from devices they buy off the shelf – with HeartKey® we can ensure that data is accurate to the level of a medical device and doesn’t have to cost the earth!"
"I am sure there will be some unforeseen events which may change our direction as a company (who honestly predicted the global health and economic impact of COVID-19?) but we have always been able to adapt and flex our business and strategy to meet the needs of the market, so I am confident we will have a very successful 2021 and beyond."