SWOT Analysis: Intel’s Health and Life Sciences Division
Intel is considered one of the most respected and recognized global technology companies in the world. The advantages of Intel’s brand recognition and track record of high-performance data centers, integrated systems, and state-of-the-art motherboard chipsets, means they can compete admirably on many different levels:
- Intel owns 15 wafer fabrication plants (fabs) worldwide which helps shorten product to market launches
- Intel’s commitment to research and development (R&D) is strong which allows them to innovate much faster than their competitors
- Intel currently dominates the server market with its x86 architecture
- Intel already has existing technologies and products in place so it can leverage the necessary technologies needed to scale the health and life sciences vertical market (Wi-Gig, Identity Protection Technology (IPT), Multi-factor Authorization (MFA), Real Sense, Curie Module)
- Intel’s Health and Life Sciences (HLS) division have partnered with the the large organizations like Johnson & Johnson, Philips, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation to tackle big challenges
In 2014, Intel acquired the smart watch company, Basis. Two years later, they announced a recall due to overheating issues. The acquisition of Basis was Intel’s attempt to enter the wearable market segment but decidedly scaled back on projects like Basis Science and MICA (a smart bracelet).
“Connected health devices jumped from 24% adoption in the US in 2013, up to 30% in 2015. “ — Parks Associates
Similar to how many start-ups pivot after a failed product launch, Intel should look to a different wearable market to invest in and help grow. Fitness trackers are outselling smart watches 4 to 1. There are notable distinctions between who buys a smart watch and who buys a fitness band. Those who purchase fitness bands have come to expect companies to collect , analyze, and present data for them in a simple and user-experience friendly way.
Fitness bands are specifically designed to simply record and transmit all the data it collected (heart rate, steps taken, body temperature, etc) which requires a lot less power compared to smart watches. For Intel, having a reliable and low-cost fitness band product in their portfolio can significantly add more value to their overall health care ecosystem.
Data collected from these fitness bands can give doctors and physicians a better understanding of how active their patients are, their sleeping patterns, and much more. Intel’s big data and cloud systems are more than well-equipped to provide connected care solutions through both its hardware and software.
Intel should stop viewing their wearables as a flagship product which they can sell for hundreds of dollars a piece. Instead, they should view wearable products like the fitness tracker as just one of many different components of their overall health care strategy.
“With global policy changes driving care delivery from traditional fee-for-service to value based care, the focus for providers is directed towards improving patient outcomes, and coordinating care with their peers and patients.”— Robert Petitt
Low-latency and affordable technologies have opened up new realms of possibilities that were either too difficult or too expensive. Today, almost every person has a smartphone in their pocket and an internet-enabled device in their home. Essentially what this means is that anyone with a smart device can participate in the connected care program.
Intel’s information architecture (IA) allows physicians to track and monitor a patient’s vital signs remotely and accurately. Remote treatment is especially important in 2016 because global reports show that 8.5% of the global population are over 65 years of age. If you combine that with the shortages of clinicians then the patient to clinician ratio is gravely disconcerting.
Intel’s IoT Gateway Software provide hospitals with powerful ways to leverage technology by helping them better facilitate and provide health care services. From simple documentation to tracking vitals, informatics is helping revolutionize the health care industry.
As our devices continue to simplify the way we diagnose ourselves, provide information to our physicians, and keep us engaged in our treatments, the more we can close the patient to clinician divide. The opportunity for Intel to fill in the supply for this shortage of clinicians is astronomical if they they can provide the necessary information architecture for their customers.
According to a recent VDC Research report, the market for traditional and intelligent embedded CPU systems in 2016 was 450 million units. As the PC market continues to slow, AMD is well-positioned to challenge Intel’s market dominance over embedded systems. AMD projects that embedded markets will be worth over $9 billion which could spell trouble for Intel if it can’t produce a better or cheaper product.
During the PC era, Intel’s biggest strength was producing computer processors. In today’s growing embedded market, companies are demanding high-performing and low-power embedded systems which Intel is struggling to provide. As a result, they are playing catch-up with AMD and Nvidia whose embedded systems portfolio is filled with a broader range of products for different segments, especially in the wearable market.
Data Security and Privacy
“Eliminating threats is impossible, so protecting against them without disrupting business innovation and growth is a top management issue” — McKinsey & Company
With more devices coming online every day, the threat of hackers, breaches, and malware is a top concern for organizations and governments. Recent hacks against Sony, Target, and Premera Blue Cross is evident that organizations and companies are still struggling to keep unwanted malicious people out.
Intel’s reputation as one of the leading semiconductor and data center providers can be irreparably damaged if it was made public that their systems were breached. A public debacle like that could force customers, partners, and investors to scale back their operations with Intel.
A recent looming threat facing hospitals today is called ransomware. This form of malicious software is designed to deny access to a computer system until ransom money is paid. In 2016, close to one hundred hospitals were victims of ransomware.
The two main causes as to why hospitals fall victim to ransomeware are their outdated IT security features and indirect security pitfalls. For example, when doctors or nurses connect their already infected personal devices to the hospital’s network, it results in a widespread infection of the malicious software.
If you enjoyed this article, check out the article I wrote: Intel SWOT Analysis: Intel Heading into 2017.
*Note* — I do not represent or speak on behalf of Intel or their affiliates