Healthcare “Apps” Exploding in Mobile, Are You Ready?

March 5th, 2010

Does your online monitoring cover new mobile app spaces? If so, you’re seeing what we are: i-Tunes’ Health & Fitness or Medical categories now contain more than 6,000 apps for iPhones. As of January 2010, there were more than 1,700 medical applications; all together, they’ve been downloaded by more than 1 million users.

Among these, there are hundreds of applications that reference virtually every major pharmaceutical brand name, offering services from basic prescribing data to “cost-saving” generic or over-the-counter alternative options. These have been developed by medical publishers, pharmacies, payers, hospitals, advocacy groups, alternative health promoters, health care professionals, litigators, government agencies and others. Virtually every therapeutic area is already represented with growing offerings for disease management. For example, Virginia Commonwealth University recently announced an application for physicians and patients to monitor daily asthma treatment routines.

Late to the game but starting to appear are apps from the pharmaceutical industry. When it comes to pharmaceutical company-branded apps, most are free of charge, while the costs of general healthcare-related apps for the iPhone range from free to $299. More specifically, 23 percent of all medical and health applications are available for free; the median price charged for the remaining 77 percent is $1.99.

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Turning mobile consumers into food safety inspectors, clinical diagnosticians and more

July 24th, 2009
Using a Cellscope

Using a Cellscope to Check for Diseases.

The latest whiz-bang application for mobile users, CellScope, comes to us from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, whose tool enables cell phone cameras to be used as fluorescent microscopes. This means that mobile devices with cameras, like the iPhone, can be adapted to collect and transmit images from blood and sputum (snot or spit) to diagnose the presence of malaria parasites and tuberculosis.

While this fluorescent scope device currently requires a plug-in component, we’re not so far away from software or camera upgrades that would make this adaptation accessible to any iPhone or android device user. Similar applications could easily include the detection of E. coli or other bacteria in food. Imagine that your ground beef smells a little off. Take a snap with your cell phone, and learn if you’ve got a contaminated Big Mac. How about H1N1 (aka, Swine Flu)? Sneeze, and snap a picture; diagnosis and links to related information, services or therapeutic products could be delivered in real time.

The possibilities that these types of mobile applications afford, which inform decision-making and influence behavior at the point of consumption, are endless. Are we ready for mass access and control over food quality or disease diagnostics, like the examples noted above? It won’t matter if we’re ready or not, it’s coming. I’ve written before on the demise of the PC being driven by mobile applications; this is just the latest nail in that coffin, which extends mobile’s reach well beyond where anyone could have predicted.

Continue reading the full post at the v-Fluence Company Blog

Growth in Mobile “Apps” Forebodes PC’s Demise

May 4th, 2009

Where the Web is heading and where you need to be

Not all of the more than 25,000 mobile applications (apps) currently available for the iPhone and other smart phone devices were intentionally designed to kill the PC; however, virtually all of them are training us for that eventuality. Point of consumption content opportunities and risks are booming and organizations that are not positioning themselves now for the related shifts will find themselves at significant disadvantages.

The demise of the PC will not surprise anyone who has studied the history of the ever-shrinking computer or my fellow boomers who still remember when the IBM Selectric™ dominated desktops over ThinkPads™. It may be harder for the X and Y generations to envision a completely PC-free world; however, they will be leading the way with their rapid adoption of mobile and other point of consumption interactive tools.

The key question for those seeking consumer and other key stakeholder influence is, “Where and when are their points of decision and consumption, and how do I effectively participate at those places and at those times?” For many, that transaction point will be via some mobile application interfacing with a smart phone, car GPS system or other Web enabled appliance or device. So, if you are still fiddling with finally launching that killer Web site or edgy corporate blog today, you can stop reading now – it’s unlikely you’ll be around to worry about this.

Continue reading the full post at the v-Fluence Company Blog

The Death of Print

April 2nd, 2009

What’s really endangered about newspaper publishing?

Predictions of the death of the American newspaper are appearing with greater and greater frequency, along with the actual demise of several well known dailies. The Rocky Mountain News recently ceased publication altogether and the Christian Science Monitor will move to an all-online publishing platform next month. The Web is the accused assassin and cause of this mainstream media crisis. It also is the primary driver behind traditional media’s search for a sustainable way to exist profitably online.

What many newspapers don’t realize is that they have yet to perfect the basic mission of successful Web publishing: Link relevant content with relevant audiences for increased ROI opportunities for relevant advertisers. When they do, they may staunch their current hemorrhage and – gasp – perhaps make money online.

Time Magazine has taken up the apparent demise of print journalism with a cover story and recent report predicting the potential demise of eight to 10 of the most endangered papers in the country. Time suggests these once-powerful media mainstays are close to shutting down or moving to online-only publications. But will just a shift to online publishing save them?

Continue reading the full post at the v-Fluence Company Blog

Skittles in Social Media: Key Lessons from a Bold, Ballyhooed Campaign

March 11th, 2009

From the v-Fluence Company Blog:

This past week we were talking about Skittles and an innovative campaign launched by the marketers at Mars, Incorporated, next week it will be something else. That’s the nature of our fleeting attention span and how the Web has helped whittle it into many minute buckets filled with fleeting bits and pieces of information – yes, even fruit-flavored rainbow colored ones.

For their part, the Mars marketers deserve acknowledgment: They took a bold step this week and embraced the fact that consumers, not the brand team, increasingly control their brand and image online. In fact, they’ve gone so far as to actually turn over the keys via their brand Web site,, which they re-launched largely as a navigation tool that overlays social media spaces where unfiltered, regular consumers are talking about their products.

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Jay to host Social Media Summit workshop

August 12th, 2008

v-Fluence president Jay Byrne will be a featured workshop leader at the Advanced Learning Institute’s upcoming Social Media Summit, slated for Oct. 20-23, 2008, in New York City. The event features best practice Social Media strategies and execution tactics from Web 2.0 pioneers at Fortune 500 firms and the interactive agencies, like v-Fluence, that serve them.

Jay’s workshop, “PR And Web 2.0: How To Successfully Integrate Web 2.0 Into Your Communication Plan,” will address the analytics necessary to properly target and engage Web 2.0 blogs, social networks and forum spaces and offer best practice do’s and don’ts to guide your own efforts to create a more compelling and ROI-focused Web 2.0 presence for your organization and brand.

For more on Jay’s workshop and the Social Media Summit, visit the Summit site.

Jay to address Web 2.0 strategies at Ragan

July 15th, 2008

v-Fluence president Jay Byrne will be a featured speaker at two upcoming Ragan communications events. Join Jay as he discusses “PR and social networks: A roadmap for successful integration and outreach” at Ragan’s Social Media Summit in September and “Key elements to create a successful, content-focused online communications strategy” at Ragan’s  Corporate Communications in a Web 2.0 World conference. Jay will be sharing key case studies and exclusive vFluence online analytics. Here are brochures for the Social Media Summit and the Corporate Communications conferences.

Jay Byrne speaks at IABC, PRSA joint meeting highlighting Web 2.0

February 29th, 2008

By Larry Ingram, Edwardsville Journal

Those attending a January joint meeting of the International Association of Business Communicators and the Public Relations Society of America, St. Louis chapters, received a brief primer on the potential of Web 2 technology.

For business communicators, not-for-profit organizations and others, Web 2 can be used to easily target information to constituents and other information users.

Web 2 is used to describe technologies like RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, to send personalized information through the Internet.The topic at the January luncheon was “Communications and Web 2.0: 2008 Trends and Forecast.”

Speakers at the event included Jay Byrne, president of v-fluence Interactive Public Relations, Brian Powell, founder and CEO of Widget Realm and Kate Kromann, e-communications director, United Way of Greater St. Louis.

Byrne said cyberspace and the information it provides to the corporate audience is becoming increasingly important.

“In 2006, every sector of traditional media, other than trade press, has lost audience share,” he said. “All of the vehicles and tools that we are used to using are starting to fade. Where are people going for their content? They are going online.

Byrne said the Internet is providing consumers more information and many more are making their purchases there.

“They are going in more numbers and spending more time online,” Byrne said.

Web 2 provides a means of controlling the information, by making it easier for consumers of information to control how they receive it, he said.

RSS is one method of directing specific information to computer and Internet users, he said.

“With RSS, Web content is automatically delivered to me, to my computer or another device,” Byrne said. “It changes things, because I don’t go out and get things anymore, it’s automatically sent to me.”

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