MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Qualcomm Inc. has announced the spin-off of its wireless health division into a wholly owned subsidiary called Qualcomm Life Inc. The firm said Qualcomm Life would be in charge of a $100 million fund, managed by Qualcomm Ventures, to invest in wireless health technologies.
The first technology offering from the newly formed subsidiary is the 2net Platform and Hub, which connects wireless medical devices to the cloud, enabling a pooling of biometric information which can then be viewed on one software interface by health care providers, caregivers and individuals themselves.
Despite just having being launched, Qualcomm says it already has 40 customers already either integrating or considering the 2net ecosystem.
“Qualcomm Life was founded, in part, to assist medical device manufacturers who approached Qualcomm for help when their own wireless connectivity attempts became untenable due to technology selection errors, unscalable deployment models and prohibitively high operational support costs,” said Rick Valencia, vice president and general manager of Qualcomm Life.
Valencia said Qualcomm’s services removed a significant burden of technical development for medical device manufacturers, providing integration with mobile carriers quickly and easily.
The 2net Platform was created with a “continuum of care” ideology, meaning that patient data could be collected from various different cellular-enabled devices, while results would appear collectively on just one easy to decipher interface.
The way it works is simple. Data from the medical devices is encrypted and then stored in the 2net Platform over a cellular connection. Once the platform has received the transmission, patient medical device data is transferred to the manufacturers’ interface of choice for the end-user. The hub itself is a small device which plugs into a standard electric outlet and seamlessly connects to any integrated partner medical devices via shortwave radio, making it largely plug-and-play.
“2net will support an ecosystem of medical devices, software, and clinical analytics, which all come together,” said Don Jones, vice president of global strategy and market development for Qualcomm Life, adding that his hope was that the technology would improve the remote monitoring of chronic diseases like Diabetes, making it simpler for the patient to retain a measure of control.
“It’s about the ease and simplicity of wireless deployment in devices in the home,” Jones said, noting that the real improvement was in the mash up of all the different data into one user interface. Using the diabetes example, Jones showed how it would theoretically be possible to connect not only a diabetic’s blood glucose meter, but also a bathroom scale, activity monitor and blood pressure monitor up to the hub, to obtain more comprehensive analytics.
Qualcomm is certainly in the position to make itself an industry leader in the wireless health space, with over 25 years of wireless connectivity experience under its belt, and over a decade of involvement in healthcare.
Qualcomm Ventures has already invested in five wireless health companies—Sotera Wireless, Telcare, AliveCor, Cambridge Temperature Concepts and WorkSmart Labs— and said it was interested in funding more ventures spanning anything from personal wellness to disease management.
Specifically, the firm said it was interested in Biosensors or devices for chronic disease care, medication compliance and fitness, as well as integrated systems for remote diagnosis or monitoring, which specialize in independent living for the aged, software health IT applications and health-related informatics.
“This is the culmination of eight years’ worth of research, using the same kind of wireless platform we used to enable the Amazon Kindle,” said Valencia adding that Qualcomm had fielded a team of engineers called ECG, the engineer commercialization group, to specifically work with medical device manufacturers.
“We really want to define and connect the global wireless health network to improve lives and bring medical devices to life,” he concluded.