Daniel Salpak, General Counsel, Keepgo, USA, takes an in-depth look at the eHealth vertical, why it’s particularly interesting for IoT, and lessons for other verticals:
New analysis indicates telehealth use has increased 38-fold from the pre-COVID-19 baseline .
“We live, of course, in a Covid era. And while Covid accelerated the growth of eHealth, it certainly began a long time before that. For example, the ever-increasing demand for accessible and universal healthcare has also led to the rapid development of remote diagnostics and monitoring services.
I’m going to use a specific example here to talk about the expansion of this vertical. One of our customers came to us with a specific idea – they wanted to be able to monitor multiple devices at the same time, but without landlines. There were also some remote locations, with a focus on Australia, Europe and South Africa. Due to the devices and their technology, they couldn’t use Bluetooth, so they wanted to utilise Wi-Fi, and they wanted to understand what was possible on our side.
As an MVNO, we are more flexible than MNOs. At this point, MNOs would be telling the client, ‘Use 24GB of data month, pay us a lot of money and we’ll get this done’. But instead, we went back to the company and asked them, ‘Exactly how do you want to do this?’. We were looking for very precise information to inform our approach.
We finally came up with the idea of having a simple Mifi working as an IoT device, which in turn connected to multiple healthcare devices. We specifically helped them manufacture these – even the Mifi was customised so that it met the customer’s expectations. We of course had to work with operators to get this done, and we had to work with users so they understood exactly what the limitations of the IoT ecosystems were going to be. And this is where our API came through, so that they could monitor, at the same time, the patient and the connectivity, and ensure that the data that they were gathering from the patients was not delayed. Finally, we created a strategic alliance with TeamViewer, so that they could remotely navigate the devices.
Everything came together and resulted in an extremely happy customer – both with this system and with our approach. We weren’t working with hundreds of thousands of devices – not yet. But I believe this is how MVNOs have to work – we have to start small and grow from there. We also always have to consider the customer and their needs – that’s imperative.
We play devil’s advocate a lot – we ask them, ‘what if we use a landline, what if we use Bluetooth?’ and through those questions, we can build the case and make it happen. It’s about being clear, considered and communicative.”
• Ask precise questions and trial different approaches
• Communicate with users so they understand limitations
• Don’t be afraid to play the devil’s advocate