United Way: Local campaigns squeezed as donations fall short of growing needs

first_imgAs Southwestern Ontarians grapple with financial challenges, United Way campaigns across the region report a growing — even desperate — need for the programs they support as their yearly fundraising drives kick in.Adding to the urgency, the agencies say, is uncertainty about the future of some provincially funded social programs with a cost-cutting Progressive Conservative government in power, and the fact that requests for help in their communities are greater than the dollars raised.After a federal election in which housing affordability and child poverty loomed large as issues, the United Way campaigns — the region’s largest community fundraisers — say they’re witnessing the fallout first-hand.Many of the issues are inextricably linked, an often overwhelming tangle of systemic poverty, addiction and mental illness, says Tricia Weese, a Uniway campaign leader in Chatham-Kent.In Southwestern Ontario, those issues are added to the number of children — roughly one in five — living in poverty. Two London ridings, London–Fanshawe and London North Centre, have among the highest child poverty rates in Southwestern Ontario, eclipsed only by Windsor West, which has one of the highest rates in Canada, a coalition of 120 anti-poverty groups recently reported.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.“We’re seeing a more visible representation of that,” said Kelly Ziegner, president and chief executive of the United Way Elgin Middlesex, the region’s largest Uniway chapter, which distributed $7 million last year to programs in the region.“That really has elevated the awareness of that issue in our community.”The growing housing crisis — a scarcity of affordable units in the region, coupled with soaring rents that have put apartments beyond reach of many — only has worsened things, said Kelly Gilson, executive director of United Way Oxford.“For many families and individuals that are marginalized or that are struggling with things like mental health and addictions . . . the situations are actually in many cases more dire,” Gilson said.As basic household costs become tougher for some families to manage, the results ripple out, Weese said. If rent is a struggle, for example, healthy eating might not be possible.Calling area needs “urgent,” Ziegner pointed to London For All, an ambitious poverty-reduction strategy led by the United Way. Instead of dealing with problems such as food security and housing affordability in isolation, the plan takes a wider approach by “getting all the right players at the table” to work on each recommendation.Many people seek out help for immediate needs, like a hot meal, but Ziegner said “the long game” is critical when dealing with both the scope of the issues contributing to area poverty and how intertwined they are.“It’s about building resilience with individuals and families more broadly,”said Ziegner. “To ensure communities are removing barriers to employment . . . If people have access to transportation to get them to the job. If people have access to affordable child care, so that they can work and provide for their families, and build a sustainable income.”A community approach to tackling poverty is key, Gilson agreed. She said addressing stigma surrounding poverty and its causes, bringing volunteers together and improving services are key.“All of those pieces will go a long way towards keeping that safety fabric — that social service fabric — alive and well in our communities,” she said. “We continue to reach out, to work with other partners, to focus our investments where we know we can have a meaningful impact.”Many of the region’s United Ways, which provide funding for community-based charities, have a “cradle-to-career” focus, providing support for programs that help impoverished children progress, Weese said. Giving kids added supports, such as after-school and healthy food programs, can help break the cycle of poverty, she said.“The need is definitely out there. There’s just not the government funding that there has been in years past,” Weese said. “These programs, some of them solely rely on a good chunk of their operating budget from United Way.”With growing uncertainty about Ontario funding for a raft of social programs, despite recent reversals by Doug Ford’s Tories, municipalities and area not-for-profit agencies are shouldering more of the burden.For the Uniway campaigns, the crunch comes in the gap between what’s raised and what agencies that rely on United Way funding request. In Chatham-Kent, for example, there is only $1 of funding available for every $4 in requests.In response, many area United Ways are changing gear, shifting focus from fundraising goals to “needs” targets, while trying to raise awareness about issues such as homelessness and poverty.tterfloth@postmedia.comTwitter.com/DailyNewsTTDID YOU KNOW?Two United Ways in the region — serving Oxford and Elgin and Middlesex counties — no longer publish financial targets for their fundraising campaigns. Instead, both focus on raising awareness about poverty. In Sarnia–Lambton, the traditional fundraising goal has been supplanted by a $1.9-million “needs target” — the minimum needed to support existing programs. In Chatham–Kent, for the first time in Southwestern Ontario, a company, the real estate brokerage Advanced Realty Solutions, is chairing the annual United Way campaign. The approach is a way to “share responsibilities” among staff, many of whom have been involved in past campaigns. London–Fanshawe and London North Centre, respectively, have the 15th and 23rd highest rates of low-income children among Ontario’s 121 federal ridings and rank among the bottom 16 per cent of ridings in the entire country, according to Campaign 2000, a national anti-poverty coalition. 2019 UNITED WAY GOALSFundraising targets this year versus last (in brackets)Chatham-Kent: $1.5M ($1.565M)Elgin-Middlesex: No target announcedOxford: No target announced ($1.227M)Perth-Huron: $1.63M ($1.45M)Sarnia-Lambton: $1.9M ($1.969M)last_img read more

Additional Closings Occuring at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

first_imgShare This!©Rikki NiblettSo, in my earlier article today, I mentioned how Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show was closing, as well as a few other things on the Streets of America. At the time, I was unaware of what would be removed, but according to the Orlando Sentinel, it’s actually quite a list of attractions that will no longer be available for Guests to experience beginning April 2.In addition to the stunt show, the Earful Tower, a staple and icon for the park, will be removed. (Though no official dates has been announced for the removal of the park’s landmark.)Other attractions that are closing on April 2 will be the Honey I Shrunk The Kids Movie Set Adventure (which needed to go, a minimum of 10 years ago) and the Monsters Inc. meet and greet. Also slated to close will be the Studios Catering Co., a counter service restaurant found in the back of the park.Again, as I mentioned before, I am sure that more news will be coming out here soon about other closures and removals as we move toward expansion of the park, so I’ll make sure to keep you posted!last_img read more

Investing in a clean future

first_imgEnvironmental affairs are the core priority of the newly-launched Evolution Oneprivate equity fund. (Image: Rodger Bosch,MediaClub South Africa. For more photos,visit the image library.)Janine ErasmusEvolution One, a new 10-year private equity fund launched by Cape Town-based investment management company Inspired Evolution, aims to raise R1-billion ($120-million) for the development of technology for clean energy generation, water purification and waste management in South Africa.Evolution One intends to have its R1-billion capital in place by mid-2009. Inspired Evolution’s executive director Christopher Clarke expressed confidence that the fund would reach this target, and added that a follow-up fund would be started in three to four years.Evolution One is said to be South Africa’s first investment fund devoted solely to green technology, and plans to make between 10 and 15 investments over the next three to five years, all centred on environmental issues. Investments in the Southern African Development Community will receive priority, and reports say that 75% of the capital will be invested in South Africa with the rest spread around countries such as Lesotho, Angola, Swaziland, Zambia and Mozambique.To date the fund has received some R400-million ($46-million) in backing from the Swiss Investment fund for Emerging Markets, the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation, Castleway Properties (part of the Tchenguiz Family Trust, headed by property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz), and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.Global investment in clean technology is predicted to soar to over $226-billion by 2016, mostly from funds raised by private equity and venture capital. In 2007 alone it is estimated that $150-billion was invested in the green technology sector, excluding Africa and Latin America.Evolution One has identified a number of focus areas for investment, including clean energy generation and energy efficiency; cleaner production technologies and processes; air quality and emissions control; water quality and management; waste management; agribusiness and forestry; natural products, organics and natural health; and sustainable buildings and environmental real estate.Inspired Evolution has announced that it is currently in the process of seeking a second round of international and local investors.Technology for a clean environmentThe International Finance Corporation’s director for private equity funds Haydee Celaya said the investment into Evolution One falls in line with the World Bank’s strategy to back technologies that address environmental issues and to ensure that the projects it supports embody principles of environmental sustainability..“This demonstrates our commitment to being a leader in the clean energy and climate change sectors,” Celaya said, “and to providing support to smaller businesses that are not likely to receive funding from mainstream private equity groups.”A report from Times Online says that the World Bank is dipping into profits from the arms industry, raised from lucrative deals struck between European and American defence companies and emerging economies, to fund its Evolution One backing.The organisation is taking advantage of a system known as off-set, which is a feature of most large-scale global defence contracts. Up to 6% of the value of a deal with a foreign government is added to the base price and used to invest in education or health, but lately the trend has been for governments to use the off-set payment to develop green technologies.Around the table with EskomEvolution One has wasted no time in embarking on a round of talks with Eskom, South Africa’s national power supplier and the largest electricity utility in Africa.Eskom generates almost 90% of its power from coal and in its 2008 annual report, released in September, it states that its greenhouse gas emissions had increased from 208.9 million tons in 2007 to 223.6 million tons in 2008. The report covers the period from March 2007 to March 2008.Eskom also mentioned in the report that it planned to reduce the amount of electricity generated from coal to 70% in the next 20 years.Clarke said talks are focused on alternative power supply projects. “We’ve had discussions with some of Eskom’s treasury members on how to finance alternative forms of energy,” he said, “particularly the concentrated solar power plants that they’re looking to set up, and co-generation and solar thermal [projects].”Cutting down on greenhouse gasesA new initiative to develop a South African carbon dioxide storage atlas was announced in October 2008. The project is supported by petrochemical producer Sasol, Eskom, mining house Anglo American, and the Petroleum, Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa, PetroSA.South Africa is a major global culprit in the emission of greenhouse gases, emitting about 400-million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year. This is about 1% of the global total. The new environmentally-friendly scheme will entail capturing CO2 as it emerges from industrial flues, then compressing it under intense pressure to a liquid and injecting it into suitable geological formations such as coal seams or spent oil and gas fields.Experts have already identified potentially suitable areas from preliminary studies. The Karoo Basin has been named, as have the depleted oil and gas structures in the Mossel Bay area. An initial assessment is on the cards for publication by April 2010.Related storiesDarling wind farmUseful linksEvolution OneInspired EvolutionSouthern African Development Community PetroSAInternational Finance CorporationDepartment of Environmental Affairs and Tourismlast_img read more

Making do in Diepsloot

first_img14 July 2011 A somewhat eroded road leads away from the upmarket Johannesburg suburb of Dainfern, flanked by a thicket of trees and a vast, arid piece of open land. The road runs directly to the suburb’s polar-opposite, an overcrowded township on the northwestern periphery of South Africa’s commercial capital city. In stark contrast to its neighbour, electricity wires crisscross the landscape, running through a mixture of compact corrugated iron shacks, small state-subsidised houses and larger bank-bonded houses. Spatial planning is adverse and living conditions are inauspicious. There is a growing population of more than 200 000 living heedlessly in the cluttered and unkempt environment. A flurry of construction characterises the township, as does traffic congestion and blaring car radios, hustling traders and bustling passers-by, all working together to disturb the peace. Welcome to Diepsloot, a sprouting settlement populated by resilient migrants and immigrants, making up a cosmopolitan community. Conditions are appalling and most locals live in abject poverty. The colloquial language is a concoction of Sepedi, Zulu and Sotho. The main road into this settlement, Ingonyama Street, is undergoing a major revamp. Walkways are being paved and the road tarred; street lights and storm water drains are being installed. Along the street there are quirky people; foreign nationals like Indians, Zimbabweans and Somalians trade out of small rented backyard abodes; the streets are crowded with loitering young and old blood.Past times In Tlou Street, a busy byway off Ingonyama Street, a throng of senior citizens casually drink beer to pass the time. Children play indigenous games nearby; scores of people mill about the streets. In this part of the neighbourhood, roads are tarred and a few smarter houses can be spotted between the corrugated iron shacks. Taverns and liquor stores are open as early as 9am and the piercing sounds of a jukebox reverberate across the neighbourhood, much to the chagrin of neighbours. In this area, lively locals – young and old – spearhead a viable economy selling an assortment of merchandise. Where Tlou Street intersects with King Dinizulu there is a linear market, comprising barber shops and beauty salons, all compacted in one small plot. Beer halls are ubiquitous and car washes, fast food outlets, panel beaters, tailors, hair salons and barbershops do booming business. It is obvious Diepsloot families depend heavily on informal trading. Leshoto Mothapo of 118 Extension 4 and three of his neighbours run a car wash called Neighbour’s Car Wash. Business is good enough to employ two other youngsters. They open at 9am and close at 6pm. Like any business, they have their challenges, but they have decided to stick it out rather than return to a life of notoriety, drugs and alcohol, social ills that had been consuming their lives, they say.RDP houses Diepsloot was established as an informal settlement when South Africa became a democracy; since then, it has undergone a major overhaul. RDP houses (a generic South African term for state-subsidised houses) have been built, which are now sandwiched by rented backyard dwellings. The area has a few amenities of which it can be proud: there is a fire station; a satellite police station and metro police offices; a few schools, with others being built; a library; a recreational park with a range of play equipment; clinics; a shopping centre; premises of various guilds; an adequate sewerage system; public lighting; and graveyards. Many religious denominations can be found among residents, all with their places of worship. Zion Christian Church, International Pentecostal Church of Christ, modern day Christians and the like can be counted among them. Elderly Joseph Kgoete is feeling a bit off-colour, yet he is bubbly and full of humour. He says he was a migrant labourer employed in Olifantsfontein, but was recently laid off because of a sprained ankle. Originally from Driekop in Mpumalanga, he settled in Diepsloot Extension 2 in 1995. When he first arrived here, Kgoete says there were a few shacks and pit toilets. “What you see now came long after.” He could have settled elsewhere in Johannesburg, but chose Diepsloot because it was closer to where he worked. These days, he passes the time by drinking sorghum beer with his mates.Elderly He speaks little about his pride for the place, opting instead to talk only about his woes. Like many elderly people in Diepsloot, Kgoete has many pressing needs, from medical care to housing and transport. On his side of town, life continues unabated. Houses overlap pavements and most locals drink as a pastime. At the end of a street, “amajita” – the local youth – unwind under a tree. They pass the time with trivial chats. Across the township, untarred roads intersect tarred ones; others are being tarred. Most locals are reluctant to talk to the media. Freddy Mamabolo, however, is not one of those. He works as a volunteer for an HIV/Aids NGO (non-governmental organisation) in the area. He came from Mamabolo, a settlement with which he shares a name, in Limpopo province to Diepsloot to look for a job in the big city and a better life. “It’s not like I like this place; it’s home to none, but we live here because it is closer to Joburg where we can find work,” he explains. Mamabolo arrived in Diepsloot in 2000 and has been a volunteer for the NGO for six years. He is MoPedi but speaks broken Zulu and English, like most migrants. “Diepsloot is quite a good place. It’s a small ghetto, growing every day with 13 extensions. When I arrived here there were only seven extensions,” he explains.Unemployment He concedes that unemployment is a pressing issue, but notes that this is not unique to Diepsloot. “The challenges we have as young people include unemployment but everywhere you find that most young people don’t have jobs,” he says. Although the area is still being developed, the few amenities there are could go a long way if locals preserved and took pride in them, he says. “If all facilities can be used in a good way I think Diepsloot will go somewhere but since our people are apathetic in community activities that poses a problem,” he says. Diepsloot is composed of mixed housing, including bonded houses in the south, built near to RDP houses, all flanking the shacks of informal settlements. Social ills plaguing the area are teenage pregnancy, unemployment, and alcohol and drug abuse among the youth. The City has improved sanitation and waste removal, and the quality of water supply and expanded access to it. Public health facilities help to detect illnesses and quarantine the sick. Young people’s guilds help to raise awareness of HIV/Aids and environmental cleanliness. Diepsloot’s population is ever-rising, the result of migration and the movement of migrant labourers from fringe provinces to the City of Gold (as Johannesburg is still known) in search of a better life. This has strained resources such as land, water, energy and social services, with little help administered only to a few.Pollution The western-edge of Diepsloot is dominated by slums, poverty stricken households and little if any economic activity or growth. People here are exposed to indoor air pollution from burning firewood. There is a lack of an adequate public health infrastructure that can identify and respond to disease outbreaks and other threats. Because litter is dumped in open spaces and on street corners, increasing quantities of waste contaminate the air and cause water pollution. If Sbu Nene had it his way, he would move to Durban (KwaZulu-Natal’s major coastal city), “where there is vibe”. However, for now he relishes the vibrant social and night life and deejaying at sporadic weekend parties. Nene moved from Kensington B, in the Johannesburg suburb of Randburg, to Diepsloot in 2000. “We had no choice but to move here,” he says, adding that the cost of living was “too high” and that transport costs aggravated circumstances. He doesn’t like talking about his living conditions, noting only that he likes walking to Diepsloot Mall, a kilometre and a half from his home. “If you don’t have a R5 fare for a local cab you might as well walk and I enjoy it. It gives me time to unwind,” he says. The biggest problem in Diepsloot, Mamabolo believes, is apathy and the general perception most locals have, that “we are not here for anything but money and jobs. How Diepsloot develops and what happens to is not our problem.” Despite this, Diepsloot residents have a cohesive identity which has sustained the settlement and grown it into what it is today. And this is what is distinctive about the place – life is communal and some people are united in the future social wellbeing of their neighbourhood. Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

Heroes’ welcome for Banyana

first_img“They gave it their all. As a country, we are happy and proud of these heroines,” he said. The South African national women’s football team reached the final of the continental championship for a third time, but were beaten 4-0 by the hosts, Equatorial Guinea, in the title decider. Business came to a standstill as onlookers joined the “welcoming party”. In 2008, they also lost to Equatorial Guinea, who were also hosts at that time, in the final. Looking fatigued after a long flight which saw them stuck at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport en route home for hours, Banyana landed on Tuesday afternoon and then had problems negotiating their way through as a mass of supporters scrambled for their attention. In an interview with radio station SAfm, she said: “They are very determined. They love what they are doing and they are professional footballers. They’re not amateurs; look at the way they play. “We could so easily become number one in South Africa, just by having the right structure in place, and that would be through a professional league.” A professional league?Caf vice-president Natasha Tschiclas, meanwhile, has encouraged Safa to start a professional women’s football league in South Africa. SAinfo reportercenter_img South African Football Association (SAfa) President, Kirsten Nematandani said Banyana Banyana had done the country proud. 14 November 2012 “We have laid a solid foundation and I hope next time we should go all the way. This team is gelling and I am confident we are heading towards a ‘golden era’ for women’s football in the country,” he said. Banyana Banyana returned home from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) African Women’s Championship on Tuesday to a rapturous welcome from hordes of supporters who brought the arrivals hall at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport to a standstill. Captain Amanda Dlamini said the semi-final win against Nigeria might have taken some of the fight out of the team, but “getting so near, yet so far” was not a disgrace. Goal achievedCoach Joseph Mkhonza, who was last week named the South African Coach of the Year at the South African Sports Awards, said while the team had achieved its goal of reaching the final and beating their nemesis Nigeria, they would have loved to go all the way and win the title. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

StackMob: Backend Services Platform for Mobile Gets More Funding, More Features (+Invites)

first_imgWhy IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement StackMob will also focus on adding support for more languages, starting in the next month or two, and will begin to support Android as well. Amell says demand for Android has been huge with developers from all over the world asking for it. He estimates that Android support is about 3 months out.As the service grows, it will introduce a freemium business model with tiered monthly subscriptions, based on usage, the number of backups, the customer service level desired, the redundancy wanted, etc. But Amell says StackMob is in “no rush” to start charging – the freemium pricing is still months away.When we first heard about StackMob, the company said it would soon be offering monetization services, but at the moment, the company has paused development in that area. Because so much is changing with regard to Apple’s rules, StackMob is going to wait until “the dust settles” before it readdresses this area. Although not mentioned specifically, the recent lawsuit threats related to the patents for in-app purchases are likely another holdup for StackMob. (For those unaware, Lodsys, a holder of a patent for in-app purchases has sent out letters to iOS developers, demanding they license the patent from them. In case you’re looking for yet another example of how patent trolls stifle innovation…well, there you go.)On StackMob’s long-term roadmap is adding support for HTML5 or BlackBerry. Both are on the company’s radar, but StackMob isn’t convinced HTML5 is quite “there yet.” Developer feedback will help it determine what which platform will be added next. And if StackMob does choose RIM, it’s not sure whether it will support OS 7, QNX or both – again, it will listen to its developers in making this decision.Invites!Update: Having issues with URL, in touch with company to resolve. Please check back shortly.Update 2: LINK WORKS AGAIN!ReadWriteMobile readers can get priority access to the StackMob beta via this address: http://www.stackmob.com/rww. If you’re at all interested in using StackMob, beta access is going to be the only way in for some time – StackMob doesn’t plan to launch commercially for another 6-9 months.StackMob’s funding round, led by Trinity Ventures, also included funding from StackMob’s existing investors, Harrison Metal and Baseline Ventures. Dan Scholnick, General Partner at Trinity Ventures, has joined Harrison Metal founder Michael Dearing on StackMob’s board of directors, too. Tags:#Android#apps#iPhone#mobile#news What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts center_img The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology StackMob, a startup providing backend services for mobile applications, today announced it has closed a $7.5 million round of funding led by Trinity Ventures. The service, in private beta since March, has seen over 200 applications created using its platform, and has a waiting list of developers interested in the private beta over 1,000 people long.Want to jump in line? You can grab one of 200 invites to StackMob’s private beta below.When we first covered StackMob in January 2011, we noted that company co-founder Ty Amell described the service as sort of a “Heroku for mobile,” referring to the way Heroku, a platform-as-a-service company, provides add-ons to Ruby developers looking to integrate additional functionality into their apps.StackMob works in a similar way – developers can pick and choose what services they want to include in their applications. Currently, StackMob offers things like messaging, analytics, social integration (soon) and, one of the most popular features, API creation and management. According to Amell, its developers can’t believe how fast the API creation tool is, even asking, “it can’t be that easy, what am I missing?” sarah perez StackMob’s Roadmap: New Languages, Android Support & MoreNow that StackMob has new funding, it will use the money to invest in the creation of additional services and features. One of the newer features, due to arrive in the next week or two, is the support for sandboxes. Every developer will get a sandbox in addition to a production environment, and when they’re ready, one click of a “deploy” button will take a snapshot of the sandbox and move it into production. You can even change your API with a click of a button.last_img read more

Senate’s IoT bill aims to maintain U.S. as global top dog

first_imgHow Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… The Internet of Things (IoT) brought together a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators who launched bill that aims to ensure that America remains a leader in connected technology.As reported by Morning Consult, the Senators are advancing legislation, called the DIGIT act, that will create a working group of private sector and government experts who will perform a deep review into IoT and related technology. Once the review is done, the study group will forward recommendations to Congress on the best ways lawmakers can help the emerging technology reach its full potential.And IoT’s potential is expected to prove a significant driver of both technological innovation and economic growth. Not only are connected devices predicted to be a game-changer for consumer products like wearables and self-driving cars, but industrial IoT applications are expected to create a sea change in in such areas as manufacturing, logistics and data.According to Joshua New, a Center for Data Innovation policy analyst, the legislation “could help put the United States on track to be a world leader in the Internet of Things.”“Policy discussions frequently focus on specific opportunities and challenges, such as, ‘How can we ensure enough spectrum will be available?’ and, ‘How can we encourage good cybersecurity practices for consumer devices?’” said New. “These can be productive discussions, but if the government hopes to fully tap the potential of the Internet of Things, all of these challenges and opportunities must be addressed cohesively.”Senate seeking more private sector inputWhen the drafting of the DIGIT act, Senators sought to create legislation that did not impose any hard requirements on regulators or manufacturers. Rather it will promote a commission-style approach to feed information to Congress on how government can best support the growth of IoT in the U.S.The bill proposes bringing together private-sector and government stakeholders to consider the regulatory environment needed to foster IoT growth. The working group will also forward recommendations on such issues as cybersecurity, privacy and consumer protection.To ensure diverse viewpoints, the bill proposes that the Commerce secretary appoint government experts from such varied agencies as the Federal Trade Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Association, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Transportation.Meanwhile on the industry side, the working group would include consultations with experts among consumer groups, communications manufacturers, and other specialists from the IT world. Donal Power Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img Tags:#Center for Data Innovation#DIGIT Act#Election 2016#Internet of Things#IoT#regulatory#self-driving cars#Senate#US Senate#wearables Follow the Puck Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaceslast_img read more

Blockchain, Smart Contracts, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning in Healthcare

first_imgToday most healthcare data exists in silos. There is only limited sharing of healthcare data. There is massive, largely untapped potential for securely sharing healthcare data to improve the quality of patient care and reduce the cost of care. Healthcare is under increasing pressure to reduce the cost of care. Exacerbating this are the trends of aging populations and rampant chronic diseases. Several key new technologies are poised to disrupt healthcare, alleviate these problems, and pave the way for both improved quality of patient care, and reduced cost of care. In this article, I take a brief look at how these technologies can help, how they relate to each other, and how they enable and build upon each other.Layer 0. Healthcare Data in SilosToday, healthcare data is mostly in silos within enterprises across providers, payers, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, and increasingly also with patients and consumer health organizations. There is massive untapped potential to both improve the quality of patient care and reduce the cost of care with targeted safe sharing of this healthcare data.Layer 1. Blockchain Paves the Way for Secure SharingIn the near term, blockchain, or decentralized ledger technology, can be used across a broad variety of existing B2B networks of health and life sciences organizations to enable secure discovery, location, and sharing of healthcare data. Examples of such networks include clearinghouses, health information exchanges, provider credentialing networks, drug supply chain networks, medical device networks, and many more. See Healthcare Use Cases for Blockchain – 5 Key Factors for Success for more info on this.In these networks, it is not that blockchain will replace enterprise systems used today, or that blockchains will store all the patient information, but rather blockchains will augment such enterprise systems in the role of enterprise B2B network middleware, and enable the secure exchange of minimal but sufficient data to enable specific healthcare use cases. For more on this see Healthcare Blockchain: What Goes On Chain Stays on Chain.For example, in a given use case such as health information exchange, the blockchain could be used to store metadata about healthcare records, enabling the blockchain to function as a “record locator service.” This, in turn, enables discovery of relevant records as needed by healthcare organizations across blockchain network, and subsequent point-to-point secure sharing of such records to enable improved quality of patient care, and reduced cost of care. Longer term, blockchains will enable entirely new use cases around which fundamentally new types of healthcare organizations and new B2B networks coalesce, and the impacts of these could be revolutionary, but this will take more time. In the near term on the evolutionary adoption curve, blockchain will likely need to first prove itself out in existing B2B healthcare networks.Breaches and ransomware in healthcare have reached alarming levels of impact and frequency of occurrence. To enable blockchain to reach its full potential and minimize associated breaches and ransomware, which could quickly tarnish and stunt the use of blockchains, it is essential that we not take the security of blockchains for granted, but rather address the security, privacy, and compliance aspects up front as we design and implement blockchains. See Healthcare Blockchain: Does Your Chain Have any Weak Links? for more on this.As blockchain proves its value and healthcare grows to depend on blockchain for more and more mission-critical services, it is also imperative that we don’t take the availability (timely and reliable access) of blockchains and decentralized ledgers for granted, but also know the availability benefits and limitations of blockchain and address this key requirement up front in design and implementation of healthcare blockchains. See Will Your Healthcare Blockchain be Available When You Need It? for more on this.Interoperability continues to be a challenge, and interoperability must be maximized for blockchain to realize its full potential. This impacts both information stored on the blockchain as well as information stored off the blockchain that is pointed to by blockchain metadata. Blockchain metadata can, of course, include information such as format and version information that can be used to help enable interoperability.Layer 2. Smart Contracts Automate Transactions, Improving Efficiency and SpeedA critical mass of healthcare B2B networks using blockchains, and a critical mass of healthcare data on these blockchains, will lead to the ability to improve the efficiency and speed of transactions by automating the processing of such transactions right on the blockchain using code stored on the blockchain. These nuggets of code on the blockchain are called smart contracts. They can trigger when certain transactions are appended to the blockchain.When triggered, smart contracts execute the results of their execution and can, in turn, produce new output transactions that are then appended to the same blockchain. Note that smart contracts are not an all-or-nothing thing. Smart contracts can be introduced first for basic transactions that require only simple code. This could include, for example, simple pre-authorizations that are traditionally sent from providers to payers for processing. Through the use of blockchain and smart contracts in a clearinghouse type blockchain B2B network consisting of healthcare provider and payer organizations, these simple pre-authorizations could be handled directly on the blockchain by smart contracts rather than in the payer’s enterprise systems.This both enables speed and efficiencies to providers, and also offloads authorization transaction loads from payer systems to the blockchain network, helping to improve efficiency and drive down the cost of patient care. Over time more and more smart contracts can automate more and more types of transactions on blockchains delivering incrementally improved efficiency and speed of transactions, and associated cost reductions. More complex and new types of transactions may continue to be handled by enterprise systems within healthcare organizations connected to blockchains, but over time the fraction of transactions handled off chain are likely to decrease since there are such compelling benefits in efficiency and speed with handling as many transactions as possible using smart contracts executing directly on the blockchains.Layer 3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Enable New InsightsThe rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning has been spectacular and continues to accelerate and promises to deliver major value across a broad variety of healthcare applications from personalized and precision medicine, to many kinds of image analysis, enhanced treatments, chatbots and virtual assistants, cybersecurity, and many more.These technologies are enabled and powered by data, by vast quantities of data, and their accuracy, usefulness, and benefits improve as more data is made available to them. The fact that much of this data is spread out across and locked within multiple silos across multiple healthcare organizations, and the sharing of such data is either very limited or non-existent, means that today the maximum value of AI and ML cannot be fully realized.Blockchain and smart contracts enable secure and efficient data sharing and processing across B2B networks of healthcare organizations, and these technologies pave the way for increased discovery and access to healthcare data across these networks to power AI and ML. As blockchains and smart contracts grow they will, increasingly over time, provide a foundation that enables AI and ML to fully realize their value to healthcare, radically improving the quality of patient care, while also delivering major reductions in the cost of patient care.CollaborationWhat opportunities and challenges are you seeing with blockchain, smart contracts, artificial intelligence, and machine learning in healthcare? Comments, feedback welcome on Twitter @DavidHoulding and @IntelHealth. Intel Health and Life Sciences is actively working in these areas of innovation. Message me on LinkedIn if you would like to connect, discuss, and explore synergies and opportunities.RelatedHealthcare Use Cases for Blockchain – 5 Key Factors for SuccessHealthcare Blockchain: WhatGoes On Chain Stays on ChainHealthcare Blockchain: Does Your Chain Have any Weak Links?Will Your Healthcare Blockchain be Available When You Need It?last_img read more

Pelicans blow 28-point lead, top Nets in 2 OTs

first_imgView comments BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives Cheng foregoes graduation ceremony for La Salle victory But the Pelicans came back to force the second OT on a jumper by Holiday.Davis then scored four points during a 7-0 run for the Pelicans, putting them up 130-124 with 2:50 remaining. After a pair of free throws by Joe Harris, Rondo hit three free throws to put it away.TIP-INSPelicans: After being held to 14 points in the opening period of Friday night’s loss at Philadelphia, New Orleans put up 34 in the first quarter Saturday night.Nets: F Dante Cunningham, who was acquired from the Pelicans on Thursday before the trade deadline expired, made his debut against his former team. The nine-year NBA veteran had two points.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim UP NEXTPelicans: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.Nets: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Do we want to be champions or GROs? – Sotto SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thaiscenter_img PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis drives to the basket against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)NEW YORK  — Anthony Davis had 44 points and 17 rebounds, Rajon Rondo had a triple-double, and the New Orleans Pelicans recovered after blowing a 28-point lead to beat the Brooklyn Nets 138-128 in two overtimes on Saturday night.Rondo finished with 25 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds as the Pelicans snapped a three-game losing streak. Nikola Mirotic had 21 points and 16 boards, and Jrue Holiday chipped in 22 points.ADVERTISEMENT Allen Crabbe made eight 3-pointers and scored 28 points for the Nets, who have lost their last four games.Spencer Dinwiddie chipped in 24 points and 10 rebounds, and D’Angelo Russell came off the bench with 21 points and nine assists.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingNew Orleans led by 28 points in the third quarter when the Nets, who looked flat in the first half, launched their wild comeback, sending the game into overtime on Crabbe’s 3-pointer with 12 seconds left in regulation.Crabbe continued his hot shooting, connecting on two more 3s to open up the first overtime session, giving the Nets a 122-118 lead with 2:28 left. LATEST STORIES ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte MOST READ ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claimslast_img read more

England announce Australia’s Trevor Bayliss as new head coach

first_imgThe England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Tuesday appointed Australian Trevor Bayliss as their new head coach.Bayliss, who is currently coach of New South Wales, is due to join the ECB next month — in time to take charge of the team for the start of the Ashes in July.”Trevor has an outstanding record as coach, has global experience and is very highly regarded in the game. He has proved himself in both domestic and international cricket, has a strong reputation for man-management and has shown how to build winning teams in all three formats,” ECB Director of England Cricket Andrew Strauss said.”His expertise in the shorter forms of the game will be vital as we build towards three major International Cricket Council (ICC) events over the next four years; the ICC World T20 tournament in India in 2016 and the Champions Trophy and World Cup which will be staged in England and Wales in 2017 and 2019, respectively.”Newly-appointed coach Bayliss said: “It’s an honour to be appointed England coach. There’s a great opportunity to help Alastair Cook and Eoin Morgan shape the direction and development of their respective teams. I am also looking forward to working alongside Paul Farbrace once again as we have a similar outlook on the game, get on well after two years working together and have kept in touch.”What particularly excites me about the role is the chance to work with a very talented group of players. I firmly believe that the team has a bright future and I’ll be doing everything I can to help them realise their potential and achieve success on a consistent basis.”advertisementBayliss has an impressive track record which includes leading Sri Lanka to the finals of the World Cup in 2011 and the World Twenty20 in 2009 and to their highest position (second) in the World Test rankings.Also winning the Indian Premier League (IPL) title with the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012 and 2014; and winning the Australian Big Bash and Champions League with Sydney Sixers in 2012.A former middle-order batsman, he played 58 first-class matches for his native New South Wales between 1985 and 1993 before succeeding Steve Rixon as the Australian state side’s coach in 2004.His New South Wales side won the Sheffield Shield in his first season in charge – a feat they repeated again in 2013-14 during his second stint at the helm.last_img read more