Bones Like Snowflakes to Kick Off Tour with Acclaimed Drummer Avinash Ramachandra

LOS ANGELES, Calif. –  The rock band Bones Like Snowflakes will kick off its 2017 tour with new drummer Avinash Ramachandra in October in Los Angeles.

“I’m very excited about joining the band taking part in this upcoming tour,” Ramachandra said. “The most exciting thing of being in a band is going on tour, you get to travel to so many cities and countries together and you’re getting paid to pretty much have fun while making music!”

Although dates for its upcoming shows are still pending, Bones Like Snowflakes will launch its nationwide tour in Los Angeles at The Echo sometime in October.

Known for energetic drumming and work with a slew of bands, most recently the Acid Quartet, Ramachandra brings an energy and playful approach to his work that has earned him a strong following and growing fan base.

“He blew us away at the audition and we knew right away he would do a great job for us.” Joseph said of the band’s new drummer. “We’re very excited to have him on board.”

The band, established in 2010 by Marvin Joseph, is known for its eclectic post-rock sound which features electric guitars and synthesizers in a blend of rock, jazz and reggae into a compelling blend of instrumental sound. The band is made up of Joseph on lead guitar, Marvin Zenarosa on rhythm guitar, Denise Santos on keyboards, Drew Elder on bass and Ramachandra on drums.

Born in Bangalore, India, Ramachandra found a passion for drumming began when he first watched Iron Maiden performing live at the age of 16. It was at that moment that he realized he wanted to play music for life.

 After taking private drumming lessons and going on to join several bands, he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Engineering in Computer Science and decided to seek his fortune in the U.S. where he began studying music at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. He would go on to perform with bands such as the Acid Quartet, Caleb Mark and others.

“Bones Like Snowflakes is a very unique band. Every song has a certain theme even though they are just instrumental and have no lyrics,” Ramachandra said. “The music has a very weird way of speaking to the audience through sound and visual backgrounds. The whole thing live is just a beautiful audio/visual trip.”

Bones Like Snowflakes is known for its recent album “Winter Quay/Summer Blankets,” as well as its other albums “Second Star to the Right,” and “Silent Movies I,” as well as the EP “Rewriting Icarius.”

Bones Like Snowflakes, is online at https://boneslikesnowflakes.bandcamp.com/

For more on Avinash Ramachandra, please visit www.avinashdrums.com or follow him at www.facebook.com/avinashdrums and www.instagram.com/avinashdrums.

“Time is for Dragonflies and Angels” by J.M. Erickson Win’s Gold at Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards

J.M. Erickson’s Time is for Dragonflies and Angels wins gold medal in the fiction anthology category at the Readers’ Favorite 2017 International Book Award Contest.

Time is for Dragonflies and Angels is a collection of flash science fiction and novellas that embraces the ideas of multi-universes and dimensions, critical decisions and judgments, and human struggles associated with racism and dystopian societies.

Divine Zape, Reader’s Favorite Reviewer describes this award-winning anthology well:

Time is for Dragonflies and Angels by J.M. Erickson is a beautiful offering for fans of sci-fi and fantasy who are also into short stories and novellas. The collection features powerful themes, including parallel universes, man’s struggle to come to grips with his human predicament, racial discrimination, and many more. This collection has a lot to offer readers with diverse tastes. Those who enjoy dystopian themes will feel very comfortable with Rogue Event featuring the game that many people are familiar with, the struggle for control where a select group wants to control the workings of the lives of others. Read about a widower and an autistic young man in a one-of-a-kind adventure to find meaning in Recount Our DreamsThe Gray is a moving tale that features the mechanics of bias, of racism, and beautifully portrays how a group can elect itself as the judge of others based on what makes them look different. And there is more!”

Time is for Dragonflies and Angels has garnered more critical praise:

Time is for Dragonflies and Angels, the new book from sci fi author J.M. Erickson is a collection of short stories in the tradition of the classic science fiction writing compendiums, evoking well-loved writers such as Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, with clear influences from other giants of the genre as we go along.” – Self-Publishing Review

“This book falls into that rare group that tells unexpected and original stories that don’t rely on cliché’s or overused plot devices – nice, especially in the Sci-Fi genre where it is hard to find really unique plotlines and genuine character development.” – Indie Book Reviewers

“In every story, the author displays bright moments of humor alongside darker bits of existential dread. His stories succeed on two levels, both as diverting bits of adventure and as deeper commentary on our modern life.” – Pacific Book Reviewer

About the Author

In addition to creating the Birds of Flight series and the other award-winning science fiction stories Future Prometheus and Intelligent Design, Erickson holds a BA in psychology and sociology from Boston College, a master’s degree in psychiatric social work from the Simmons School of Social Work, and post-graduate certification in post-trauma treatment from Boston University School of Social Work. Certified in cognitive behavioral treatment and a post-trauma specialist, he is also a senior instructor of psychology and counseling at Cambridge College and a senior therapist in a clinical group practice in the Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts.

Contact

http://www.jmericksonindiewriter.net

http://www.jmericksonindiewriter.com

https://www.jmeindieblog.com/

Crocs™ Enters Cambodia Market with 3 New Store Openings in Phnom Penh

PHNOM PENH, August 17, 2017 /Media Company/ – Crocs™ officially enters the Cambodia market as of April 14, 2017 with the opening of its first store at TK Avenue Mall, followed by the opening of its second store at Exchange Square Mall on June 15, 2017 and third store to be opened at AEON Mall, all locations in Phnom Penh. The Grand Opening of TK Avenue Mall was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony and speech by Mr. Henry Horn, Managing Director of SOHO Diversified Lifestyle Co., Ltd.

“SOHO Diversified Lifestyle is honored to bring this popular and iconic footwear brand to Cambodia. The Crocs brand celebrates authenticity, individuality, and the courage to be who we are in every aspect of life,” said Mr. Horn. “We believe this message, along with our wide variety of fashionable designs, will resonate well with the people of Cambodia.”

The store opening events at TK Avenue Mall and Exchange Square Mall was attended by first-time Crocs customers as well as loyal Crocs fans who have spent months eagerly awaiting the store launches. Festivities included free popcorn and refreshments, and a celebrity spin wheel for shoppers with prizes ranging from special discount cards to free Jibbitz™ shoe charms. Inside the store hung posters of Korean superstar YOONA posing playfully in her Isabella jelly sandals and Asian celebrity Henry Lau sporting his Citiline Roka slip-on sneakers.
The latest Crocs store which will open at AEON Mall on August 26, 2017 will be the latest addition to the mall’s expansive tenant mix of international fashion and lifestyle brands.  SOHO Diversified Lifestyle has also confirmed plans to open additional Crocs stores at Downtown 93 Mall and Eden Garden Center in Phnom Penh before the end of 2017.

 

Hello World – The place to get stunning wallpapers and find out more about exciting travel destinations!

About Hello World app

Hello World combines the feature of a wallpaper app with the engaging content of a travel discovery app. Users can browse through a comprehensive database featuring thousands of high quality images from some of the most exciting and wonderful places all around the world.
Hello World is not only a great way to find an amazing new wallpaper for your screen, but it is also a great platform to discover new places and new unique locations from all corners of the world.

As they say an image is worth more than a thousand words. However, Hello World is not only about stunning photographs. Beautiful images from exciting travel destinations are always catchy, but it is often challenging to find out a little bit more about the places depicted in the pictures. This is exactly why the team at Hello World made sure to also include a lot of interesting facts! Each location featured within our app is accompanied by many different shots and some nice highlights and information about each place. Learn about the best local sights, the weather, the wildlife, the culture, the local cuisine and a lot more!

Hello World hopes to inspire you to travel and discover beautiful new destination all around the world! The app is currently available for download on Google Play for free.

Google I/O 2017

During it’s open beta stage the app was showcased in this year’s Google I/O – in “Firebase recipes to bootstrap your app“ session (https://goo.gl/JDUK8X)
Here is the video about the session (https://goo.gl/CSMY56) 

Contact

Find out more and feel free to get in touch for further information:

Video of Hello World! in action: https://youtu.be/wzCFjv8zBeI
Screenshots about the app: https://goo.gl/TqYFj8
App in Google Play: https://goo.gl/8Xkj4Q
Website: https://helloworldapp.com
Email: viktor@helloworldapp.net

Universal Media Group Inc. (UMGP:OTC) Signs Program Distribution Agreement With Luken Communications LLC.

Boca Raton FL / Access Wire / June 19, 2017 /

Universal Media Group Inc. (UMGP:OTC) is pleased to announce that it has signed a program distribution agreement with Luken Communications for the distribution of one hundred episodes of “On the Mike”  television shows.

Mike Sherman, President of Universal Media Group, is honored to be part of the Luken family of broadcasting and states,  “this  will give our company major eyeballs and extensive exposure on our program nationwide  with the opportunity to capitalize on more advertisers for the company. This is just the beginning of great things to come between Universal Media Group Inc. and Luken Communications. LLC..

They are a first class organization and have a variety of entertaining programs on their network.”

Updates will be forthcoming.

Universal Media Group Inc. (UMGP:OTC) www.umediagroupinc.com is a world-renowned media company that focuses on the implementation of celebrity based programming, social media and interactive television. UMGP focuses on cutting edge technology through music, sports and entertainment for engagement with the millennial generation.

Luken Communications LLC is a privately owned American broadcast holding company, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which owns or operates around 80 television stations in the United States and six digital television multicast networks. http://www.luken.tv

Luken Communications is a national multicast television network provider offering affiliates and viewers a diverse range of programming choices. Retro Television Network was one of the first digital broadcast networks launched. Today, Luken Communications has six networks, with a combined reach of 80% of the country, each targeting a unique segment of consumers.

Our variety of family friendly networks includes:

  • Retro TV – Simply the best in classic television
    • Heartland – America’s home for country music and lifestyle programming
    • The Family Channel – Fun, exciting and informative programs for the whole family
    • Rev’n – TV geared toward the automotive enthusiast, featuring cars, trucks, motorcycles and more
    • Frost Great Outdoors – Hunting, camping, fishing and great outdoor entertainment
    • Action – Action, adventure and outdoor pursuits appealing to both men and women

Advertising with Luken Communications provides the following unique advantages:

  • Multicast networks, offering a unique combination of over-the-air, cable and satellite viewers
    • Brand association with beloved TV classics and strong family-friendly programming
    • Customized sponsorship opportunities including family friendly programming
    • National commercials for a fraction of traditional advertising investments
    • Multiple networks to target specific audiences

 

About Universal Media Group Inc.

Universal Media Group Inc. symbol UMGP (The Company) is a world-renowned media conglomerate whose focus is the implementation of celebrity based programming, social media and interactive TV. UMGP employs cutting edge technology through music, sports and entertainment targeting the millennial generation. For more information visit our website at:www.umediagroupinc.com

 

About Luken Communications:

Luken Communications (LC) was formed in 2008 by Henry Luken III, formerly president and CEO of Equity Media Holdings. Luken Communications agreed to purchase six TV stations from Equity Media for $17.5 million and paid a $5 million installment with the rest pending on regulatory approval. In June 2008, Equity sold to Luken Retro Television Network for $18.5 million and $8.05 million Equity warrants for $1.5 million.[1

 

Forward Looking Statements and Disclaimer

Statements made in this press release that express the Company or management’s intentions, plans, beliefs, expectations or predictions of future events, are forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “will” and similar expressions are intended to further identify such forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. Those statements are based on many assumptions and are subject to many known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause the Company’s actual activities, results or performance to differ materially from those anticipated or projected in such forward-looking statements. The Company cannot guarantee future financial results; levels of activity, performance or achievements and investors should not place undue reliance on the Company’s forward-looking statements. No information contained in this press release should be construed as any indication whatsoever of the Company’s future financial performance, future revenues or its future stock price. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgment of the Company as of the date of this press release, and the Company expressly disclaims any intent, obligation or undertaking to update or revise such forward-looking statements to reflect any change in the Company’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based. No information in this press release should be construed as any indication whatsoever of the Company’s future revenues or results of operations.

Universal Media Group Inc. (OTC Pink UMGP) is pleased to announce that company President & CEO Mike Sherman will be a panelist on one of Music & Fashions most prolific Gala’s.

The First Annual Music, Tech, Fashion & Art Conference,  “Impact 17”

 

BOCA RATON, FL / June 14, 2017 / Universal Media Group Inc. (OTC PINK: UMGP) www.umediagroupinc.com is a world-renowned media company that focuses on the implementation of celebrity based programming, social media and interactive television. UMGP focuses on cutting edge technology through music, sports and entertainment for engagement with the millennial generation.

Mike will join a panel of A list celebrity’s such as social media phenomenon YesJulz who will be hosting the event as well as Mike’s long time friend and music producer “ DJ Khaled “who has frequently been a guest on Mike’s ever so popular television show “On the Mike”.

MPACT ‘17 will be coming to the University of Miami’s Watsco Center on June 29th. Deemed “The Essential Music, Tech, Fashion & Art Conference,” the inaugural event aims to provide a platform for industry leaders and influencers to share their stories with young spirited entrepreneurs of tomorrow. With a jam packed itinerary, attendees ​can expect to gain valuable insight and learn techniques that can be implemented into their respective fields!

The conference will feature a FREE event portion for the general public, a pop-up station from 1 PM to 6 PM that will include an art gallery, local indie artists, DJ performances, and exclusive vendors. All this will go down at the fieldhouse at the Watsco Center.

The day will advance to the conference portion, starting promptly at 4 PM, inside the arena at the Watsco Center, which you’ll need your ticket to access! There attendees will get a chance to listen to roundtable discussions and Q&A’s with art, tech, fashion, and music industry leaders. With over 40 panelists, special guests include pop culture sensation YesJulz, Rico Love, DJ LAZ, actor comedian Tonio Skits, Platinum recording artist Lunch Money Lewis, ​Cocaine Cowboys director Billy Corben, and lots more. The event will also feature a fashion show from Mint Swim, the popular swimwear line founded by former ​Basketball Wives star Draya Michele. Attendees will get a chance to catch over 13 performance acts, with the event closing out with a special live performance by the man with the keys–DJ Khaled! His performance comes just six days after the release of his album ​Grateful​.

Universal Media Group Inc. is honored to be part of this extravaganza and looks forward in working with Pivotal Key LLC & Myami Music LLC.to partner up with on more music conference’s, concerts and entertainment events in the near future.

Get ready to experience a day filled with great vibes, culture, and discovery. If you have an interest in music, tech, fashion or art this event is for you! General Admission is $39, $79, $99 and Swarmer Lounge VIP Tickets are $249. In addition to a star-studded lineup, this year’s conference will be live streamed in HD.

Tickets and the full panelist schedule are available at ​impact17mia.com​. Additions are being added daily so be sure to keep checking in on ​impact17mia.com for all the updates.

IMPACT ‘17 is partnering with the ride-sharing app Lyft in an effort to impact lives in the Miami community. From June 1​st to the 29​th​, for every Lyft rider who participates in the ​Ride to Impact campaign, $1 will go towards The Make A Wish Southern Florida and Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital. The camalign has raised $2,000 so far in its first week.  Use promo code ​IMPACT2017​ to participate!

Media Inquiries: 
media@impactmia17.com
Vendor Opportunities: ​Suki@impactmia17.com
Sponsorship Opportunities: ​nasha@impactmia17.com

General Inquiries:
Info@impactmia17.com

 

 

About Universal Media Group Inc.

Universal Media Group Inc. symbol UMGP (The Company) is a world-renowned media conglomerate whose focus is the implementation of celebrity based programming, social media and interactive TV. UMGP employs cutting edge technology through music, sports and entertainment targeting the millennial generation. For more information visit our website at:www.umediagroupinc.com

 

About Pivotal Key LLC & Myami Music LLC.

Pivotal Key LLC. Was founded by Da Vid Abellard Jr. who’s’ passion for music & Fashion decided him to create affordable, educational and entertaining music & fashion events for the millennial generation all over the world. With the implementation of social media and the web, Pivotal Key is a primary player in the entertainment arena.

 

Myami Music LLC. Was founded by Matthew Krane who is known for creating social media optimization for some of the most successful companies in entertainment.

 

Pivotal Key LLC.

Oakland Park FL

​3350 NE 12th Ave., Suite 23032

Oakland Park, FL 33334

 

Forward Looking Statements and Disclaimer

Statements made in this press release that express the Company or management’s intentions, plans, beliefs, expectations or predictions of future events, are forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “will” and similar expressions are intended to further identify such forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. Those statements are based on many assumptions and are subject to many known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause the Company’s actual activities, results or performance to differ materially from those anticipated or projected in such forward-looking statements. The Company cannot guarantee future financial results; levels of activity, performance or achievements and investors should not place undue reliance on the Company’s forward-looking statements. No information contained in this press release should be construed as any indication whatsoever of the Company’s future financial performance, future revenues or its future stock price. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgment of the Company as of the date of this press release, and the Company expressly disclaims any intent, obligation or undertaking to update or revise such forward-looking statements to reflect any change in the Company’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based. No information in this press release should be construed as any indication whatsoever of the Company’s future revenues or results of operations.

 

French-Made World’s First Universal Modular Mobile Lighting Solution

The creators of Liggoo have announced that they are seeking community support for their all new mobile lightingsolution. Liggoo is much more than just a lamp and has several amazing applications at home, in car, while travelling or even when at work. In addition, it is an excellent and illuminating solution for bicycle riders, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

For the first time in the world,Liggoo create many accessories and Liggoo will soon become 100% compatible with GOPRO accessories.

Liggoo is a powerful, autonomous, light, and compact led module and comes with four lighting modes. These are 25%, 50%, 100% and Flashing Mode. Moreover, the light has very low environmental impact with a rechargeable LiPo battery and reduced weight of raw materials. Furthermore, these raw materials are recyclable and the light has high performance LEDs with 90% of the nominal luminous flux after 9000 hours of use.

The Indiegogo Campaign is located on the web at:

www.indiegogo.com/projects/liggoo-experience-the-light-mobile and it offers several pledges ranging from $38 to $1750 with rewards ranging from one outdoor pack of Liggoo to a pro pack of 50x Liggoo with 42% discount.

About Liggoo

. It is much more than a flashlight and has several amazing features and benefits. The creators of this amazing light are now seeking community support via Indiegogo and they are welcoming everyone to generously back this remarkable project. 

PDF Days Europe underscores the importance of PDF as a key component of business processes

2017 marks a record number of attendees / Experts shared fully-grounded wisdom on PDF standards across the two-day event

Berlin. With over 200 attendees, this year’s PDF Days Europe in Berlin was a significant success with the largest attendance of any PDF Days event to-date. The agenda of 35 specialist presentations, user reports and discussions illuminated all aspects of PDF technology. Both the forward-looking presentations on PDF 2.0 and Next-Generation PDF, as well as the practical presentations on current applications of the PDF standard, drew significant interest.

Attendees praised the leading PDF event for its up-to-date information and cutting-edge expertise. Aside from the knowledge transfer from stage to audience, attendees also indicated that they saw great value in the opportunities for networking during breaks and at the evening event.

Forward-looking keynotes
The keynote speeches focused on Next-Generation PDF and PDF 2.0. Leonard Rosenthol, PDF Architect at Adobe, explained that the PDF format first developed by his company 25 years ago now requires new functionality in order to display structured PDF content on all devices – from large-scale wall projectors to smartphones and even smart watches. Over the course of the two-day event, the PDF experts discussed ideas and approaches for enhancing PDF to meet the needs of our increasingly mobile world.

The subject of the keynote presented by Peter Wyatt, one of the project leaders for ISO 32000, was the latest version of the PDF specification: PDF 2.0, the first update to PDF developed exclusively within the responsible ISO Working Group. In comparison with PDF 1.7, PDF 2.0 adds many new features and improvements to interoperability while preserving the technical foundation of PDF. According to Peter Wyatt, PDF 2.0 is ready for publication and can be expected this summer. “PDF 2.0 is an evolution, not a revolution” was his summary. In addition to the keynote, experts demonstrated – among other subjects – the influence that PDF 2.0 will have on PDF/A and the printing industry.

Concrete application scenarios
PDF Days Europe presentations were not only about the future – they also provided food for thought for using and working with PDF today. For example, discussions included the use of PDF/A services as a cloud solution, new options for collaboration, central platforms for standardized conversion to PDF and PDF/A, replacement scanning in line with TR-Resiscan and converting Office documents to PDF/A-2, and using PDF/A-3. The creation of universally accessible documents, and especially PDF/UA the ISO-standardized PDF subset for Universal Accessibility, also received significant attention.

Matt Kuznicki, Chairman of the PDF Association, summarized the event: “PDF is not just a format – it is the world’s leading business document solution ecosystem.” This year’s PDF Days Europe once again proved this in impressive fashion. We look forward to future events to showcase everything we have achieved together with our members.”

Video recordings and presentations for the PDF Days Europe 2017 can be found at the following link:
https://www.pdfa.org/slides-and-video-recordings-of-the-pdf-days-europe-2017/

Air vs Sea: Is there a modal shift in cold chain logistics?

 

  • There are numerous reports of cargo switching to ocean freight from air cargo, including certain pharmaceutical products, flowers and fruit.
  • Overall the global cold chain market remains highly competitive and fragmented.
  • Innovations in big data and the Internet of Things could transform asset utilisation and the protection of sensitive cargo across the supply chains.

05 June 2017, Bath, UK: Ti is pleased to announce that its latest report, Cold Chain Logistics 2017, is now available to download.

Cold Chain Logistics 2017 offers insight into the complex, but potentially lucrative, nature of temperature-controlled supply chains.

The market continues to grow as new cold chains are created as a result of the buying power of rising middle classes in China and other developing countries, and by new demands for healthier and higher quality products. At the same time, however, restrictions on pharmaceutical production and growing consumer awareness of food safety is pushing the tightening of government regulations on temperature-controlled supply chains.

As a result, reefer container technology has seen improvements in recent years. Not only can reefers control temperature more accurately, but they also monitor humidity, light and shocks. The visibility this provides has helped improve the quality of the reefers by encouraging further innovation. This allows newer reefers to keep perishable goods for longer, meaning a shorter travel time is a less important factor.

Shipping lines with a stake in cold chain logistics are undoubtedly benefiting from breakthrough capabilities in reefer container technology. There are numerous anecdotal reports of cargo switching to ocean freight from air cargo, including certain pharmaceutical products, flowers and fruit.

Ti’s Quantitative Analyst, Andrew Ralls, however explained, “Air freight carriers will need to innovate in the same way ocean freight carriers have done, though strong global trade of agricultural products such as trees & flowers, vegetables and fruits, is set to continue and this will aid volumes for both modes of transport.

Cold Chain Logistics 2017 is a 50 page report that provides analysis of the market and commentary around the future prospects of the industry as a whole, as well as from a logistics market, vertical sector and geographical perspective.

To find out more about Cold Chain Logistics 2017, or Ti’s expertise in logistics technology, visit the Ti website, or contact Ti’s Sales Consultant, Charlie Holden.

The Growing Role of Chatbots in Healthcare

They are not doctors (yet), but well-trained bots can get patients to engage more in their care, helping to close the $300 billion ‘adherence gap’ in taking pills and following orders, say experts at Earley Information Science roundtable

No one would confuse them with young interns or seasoned surgeons, but chatbots are becoming the newest addition to medical teams. Hospitals and other providers, as well as insurers, are starting to employ these digital workers to remind patients to take their medicine, to monitor life signs and to track mountains of data across patient groups that could produce breakthrough insights about diseases and treatments. Already, consumers can choose from among dozens of bots that provide “care” as soon as they are downloaded.  

Help from the bots is critically needed – the lack of patient adherence to prescribed medications and to post-procedure instructions is putting tremendous strains on both providers and payers. Avoidable medical spending exceeds $300 billion a year, according to a recent study by CapGemini.

But for bots to become major players in closing the adherence gap, and to deliver on other health-care and cost-saving fronts, their human bosses have to understand their capabilities while also appreciating their limitations, according to a panel of artificial intelligence (AI) and knowledge management experts at an Executive Roundtable discussion hosted on April 12 by Earley Information Science Corp. (EIS), a leading consulting firm focused on organizing information for business impact.

The bots can greatly improve patient experience, the panelists said, and in the process improve adherence and outcomes. But the spread and acceptance of bots has been slowed by regulatory restrictions, insurance rules and privacy concerns that still have to be addressed, the experts added. And, they noted, because of AI’s limitations in understanding human language, the bots have to be seen as very junior members of the team, and a long way, if ever, from hanging out their own shingles.

Bots can enable meaningful conversations with the care team and with patients, and encourage better patient behavior, “but they can’t provide medical advice and they can’t prescribe possible treatments,” said one of the panelists, Henry Truong, Chief Technology Officer, Teletech Holdings. Even the data that they provide about a patient’s condition, as rich as it is, can be missing the crucial nuances that a doctor’s eye, or touch, can add. 

The roundtable discussion, “The Role of Intelligent Virtual Assistants in Healthcare: How virtual assistants can help solve the ‘adherence gap’ and more,” was led by David Hatch, Senior Vice President for Marketing at EIS. Besides Henry Truong, the panel included Dr. Bruce Metz, Managing Partner, Bruce Metz & Associates; Michael Flammer, Partner, Life Sciences and Healthcare Customer Strategy Services, Teletech Consulting; and Richard Lynch, Vice President and Managing Consultant, Accelare Inc.  

The discussion was the second in a four-part EIS series, “The Age of the Chatbot Is Coming: Are You Ready?” The first roundtable, “Digital Workers, Chatbots and Customer Service: Reality Versus Aspiration,” was held on March 29. EIS held a related roundtable in January, “Virtual Assistants and Chatbots: The Next Big Thing in Customer Experience.” 

Bots are already a key part of the evolution of the digital healthcare ecosystem, said Dr. Metz. “Providers are increasingly getting paid on the quality of outcomes. Meanwhile, consumers are becoming more demanding and discerning. As they pay more, they want more convenient and transparent care.” Enter technology, and with it, “new directions for wellness and disease detection.”

Where bots can be most usefully deployed is in the treatment of chronic illness, which consumes roughly 75% of the $3 trillion spent each year in the United States on healthcare. The next generation of bots, Dr. Metz said, will more fully interact with patients in their homes, featuring such new tools as wifi-enabled pill bottle caps to track the intake of medications. This larger role, akin to “a virtual physician’s assistant,” will result in better chronic disease management.    

The bots also provide extraordinary scaling opportunities, Henry Truong noted, allowing providers and payers “in non-homogeneous delivery networks” to share knowledge and increasing the ratio of patients to care-team members “without sacrificing the quality of care.” Bots can’t work alone, however, but rather in “orchestration” with the care team, extending its reach (not just geographically but also into patient lifestyle by monitoring many new things) and increasing its efficiency.  

But there are obstacles in the way. For one thing, said Teletech Consulting’s Michael Flammer, 75% of patients are very or somewhat concerned about the privacy of their health records. And those records will be exploding in size. The amount of quantitative data that will be collected by bots is going to be “overwhelming,” Flammer said. Yet from a qualitative standpoint, there will actually be a dearth of information. Is a patient’s skin coloring good? Is the patient depressed? How do those “data points” get collected? Are photos needed, for instance?  

From the provider’s point of view, “bots help to close capability gaps,” said Accelare’s Richard Lynch. “They provide new services along the care continuum,” including proactive education and support with financial questions. “They simplify the complexity, and help patients navigate the system.” In fact, he said, “chatbots are not a technology play but rather a business capability tool.”

The challenge, Dr. Metz added, is for regulators and insurers to revise their rules on compliance and reimbursement. They have to catch up to the bots, he said, which are now “way out in front.” 

The roundtable featured a real-time survey of the webinar attendees:  

  • Nearly a fifth of the respondents, or 17%, said that bots are a major priority (supported by funding and executive buy-in) and 50% said they are important but still require a business case. The remaining 33% said bots are not a priority at this time.
  • None of the attendees has been using bots for more than a year, but 14% have recently launched their first wave, another 14% have begun testing in one area, and nearly three-quarters, or 71%, are just starting to investigate how bots can be used.
  • When asked where they would deploy their first bots, 100% of the participants chose extending patient care remotely. Sixty percent also identified patient or member services.   

Please use these links to access the roundtable and EIS resources about chatbots and AI.