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Healthcare reforms, scientific progresses and technology advances are pushing towards personalized medicine and leading the life sciences industry to rethink therapies and business models. Some driving forces from the technical side that seem to shift the future of medication and health solutions are machine-to-machine technologies, mobile solutions, Big Data, and cloud computing.

Machine-to-machine technology: This sounds pretty powerful: According to a 2014 Vodaphone report, 57% of health sciences companies will utilize M2M technologies by 2016. You could imagine applications within homecare where sensors and applications interact directly and either give an alert when health indicators exceed certain limits, or help patients to comply with therapy instructions. Of course you could also apply this technology within prevention. Sensors combined with apps that can support healthier living could be built in anywhere in the future, which might not even stop at the bathroom door, as pointed out in this video by Constellation research – we will see how far patients and consumers will actually be willing to go...

Mobile: A direct link between mobile solutions and machine-to-machine technology can be done – so mobile solutions are probably equally powerful. There are already mobile apps that can support collaborative care by bringing patients, their friends and families, physicians, and clinics closer together. The inherent data offer also opportunities to develop new drugs and therapies tailored to patient populations. Another set of mobile apps lies within sales and services – many of our life sciences customers provide their sales reps with mobile devices to make it easier for them to demonstrate products to their customers, and within the medical devices sector, service technicians use mobile apps to be at the right place at the right time. A third area for mobile apps: helping workers on the shop floor run manufacturing and conduct maintenance of machines more easily.

Big Data: This seems to be a strong one as well. R&D is the most obvious space where Big Data comes into play in life sciences organizations which have to deal with genomic and proteomic data to develop new products and services in support of personalized medicine, and also need to consolidate clinical studies as well as scientific data from various sources. Also in other business areas Big Data can support decision-making through what-if scenarios when analyzing markets, risk, operational processes or demand and supply. Big Data tools can not only increase speed and precision, they can also reveal completely new insights, change perspectives, and help find new strategic directions.

Cloud: Cloud computing cannot be denied as a facilitator for gaining speed in Life Sciences, either. It helps save cost, run more agile, and scale more easily – which is vital during times of change, rapid growth, or after M&A. Also from a business perspective in Life Sciences, cloud solutions can simplify processes, e.g. in Sales and Marketing, HR, and when collaborating with CxOs. A hybrid setting between public and private cloud seems to be the most popular option in Life Sciences to safely deal with sensitive data and to also benefit from the high flexibility.

No doubt, opportunities are there. What is your favorite? Which technology will give life sciences companies the greatest power to get new competitive edges? And where are possible hurdles?

Please let us know your thoughts as comment here, contact us on twitter @SAP_Healthcare, or fill in the microsurvey “Future of Life Sciences technology”. We very much look forward to hearing from you! Likewise, we will keep you posted. Thank you very much in advance for your feedback and inputs!

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