Thursday, April 30, 2015

The New Era of Robotics Summit: Identify. Commercialize. Fund; April 29, 2015

Our April 2015 Robotics Summit brought together over 100 attendees from industry and academia to state and government/military representatives. The summit was kicked off by Kaigham Gabriel, President & CEO of Draper Laboratory sharing his thoughts on breakthrough innovation teams:  performing in Pasteur’s Quadrant à the intersection of a science/technology inflection point and a driving application.

Our keynote was followed by a diverse Industry Panel of thought leaders who discussed current and future robotic applications – more specifically smart factory automation and industrial IoT, autonomous vehicles and medical/surgical technology.  The group was moderated by Linda Thayer, Partner at Finnegan and longtime supporter of the MassTLC Robotics Cluster. 

(left to right)
Tony Lennon, The MathWorks, Industrial Automation Specialist; Garry Ritter, Director Technology & Strategy at the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center spoke about the future of autonomous vehicles; Scharukh Jalisi, M.D., FACS Director Boston University School of Medicine, Head and Neck surgical Oncology and Skullbase Surgery; Lt Col Matthew Woolums, Commander, 1st Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, MA National Guard

After a short networking break, Christina Chase, Entrepreneur in Residents for the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, engaged in a Fireside Chat with Arron Acosta, young entrepreneur and co-founder and CEO of Rise Robotics.  They discussed the challenges startups face in gaining access to funding.  Arron walked thru his efforts in the hopes that he could help provide lessons learned to others in similar situations.

There was no lack of audience participation and questions on the topic of investor funding for robotics technology and companies!

Christina then moderated a panel of investors with diverse business models and investment criteria.

(left to right)
Christina Chase, Entrepreneur in Residents, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship (Moderator); Anders Bialek, Director of Corporate Development, iRobot; Jerry Bird, President, MassVentures; James Geshwiler, Managing Director, CommonAngels Ventures; Rudina Seseri, Partner, Fairhaven Capital  

James Geshwiler has a few words of advice for Arron.

Thank you to all who attended and participated in our lively discussion.  A special thanks to our summit sponsors:

As well as our Cluster Sponsor:

15 Things Learned From the 2015 MassTLC Sales & Marketing Summit

On April 7, 2015, MassTLC gathered 55 of the top sales and marketing professionals in New England to discuss “Building a High Performing Sales & Marketing Organization.” These were our takeaways, what were yours?

  1. Get rid of the “Gobbledygook” on your website. No one cares about your innovative, next generation, new and improved, world class, innovative product. Just tell me what it does.
  2. Be agile and respond in real time, it is no longer about marketing at a time that works for you, it’s about marketing to the customer when it works for them.
  3. Don’t be boring. Create content that connect your product to what’s happening. Newsjack!
  4. Hire journalists to create your marketing content.
  5. Tear down the sales silo and the marketing silo and build it all under the Smarketing roof!
  6. You need to clearly define what a lead is and what an opportunity within your organization is and make sure there’s an agreement on that definition.
  7. Although there is a debate of where BDRs should sit, the majority believe it’s a sales function.
  8. The best way to recruit top sales & marketing talent is through your top sales people and marketers, leverage their networks to find new hires.
  9. Advocate marketing plans can help your message get to the consumer during the 70% of the buying cycle before they speak with a sales rep.
  10. Responses from advocates on social media resonate better with consumers than direct company responses.
  11. Engaging customers as advocates enhances the post-sale experience.
  12. Have a post-sale touch plan, don’t wait until it’s time to renew.
  13. Understand the “Why” in everything you do, don’t run a new campaign just to run one, determine what the value should be if you get the results you expect.
  14. All good ideas are outside the office, get outside and talk to the people that are consuming your products.
  15. MassTLC events are a great opportunity to learn and network!

What others were picking up:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Medicare Advantage Will Succeed Meaningful Use as Reform’s Power Tool

By Frank Ingari of NaviNet, Inc.

In Modern Healthcare on April 7, Bob Herman reported on the relatively positive treatment afforded to Medicare Advantage insurers by CMS for 2016 (“Medicare Advantage Rates Show Insurers' Lobbying Muscle”). As the article’s title implies, the industry won some key victories, including the highest increase to the base payment rate since the advent of the Affordable Care Act. The article links those victories to the $12-million lobbying budget of payers, but that budget hasn’t changed much in recent years. Why the change in attitude now?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Surplus of Blame, Shortage of Trust: Healthcare, Heal Thyself!.

By: Frank Ingari of NaviNet, Inc. 

After putting in their 10,000 steps a day at HIMSS15, anyone can tell you how much blame there is to go around in the complex dysfunction of U.S. healthcare. Rapturous vendor claims aside, how do we get to the interoperable learning system described in The Office of the National Coordinator of Healthcare Information Technology's Interoperability Roadmap?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

MassTLC Mobile Disruption & the Future of Work Roundtable Recap

On April 15, 2015, MassTLC hosted a mobile roundtable at Cambridge Innovation Center, with presenters from Mobiquity to discuss what role mobile plays in the workplace.

As times and devices have changed there has been a huge disruptive shift in how companies do business, manage their workforce, and secure their data. Mobile isn’t a technology, it’s a state of being.

Many people think of the bleeding of work into their home life, but what about home life bleeding into work? Texting and G-Chatting with friends, responding to personal emails and calls, what’s happening on Reddit, and everything that needs to be ‘gramed throughout the day? The common thred to these things are mobile devices. Salesforce, outlook, and classified/proprietary data are stored side by side with Tinder, Candy Crush, Facebook, and banking apps.

How do you go about building a mobile toolbox for your employees that protects sensitive information without commandeering their personal property? Are there ways to make collecting your employee’s personal information off their devices benefit the company? Tracking where they are selling by looking at Maps? Using their fitness apps to lower insurance costs?

There are far more questions than answers at this point but you can listen to the discussion on SoundCloud or view Mobiquity’s presentation in the video below.  

MassTLC Robotics Cluster Participation in National Robotics Week: April 4-12th

There were SO many activities going on in the Boston area during National Robotics week.  Here are just a few highlights:

WPI hosted an evening with Warner sponsored by INCOSE New England Chapter.  Michael Gennert, WPI Professor of Computer Science and Director of Robotics Engineering, discussed how systems engineering played a role in the development of Warner during the international DARPA Robotics Challenge and what systems engineering means to an entrepreneurial robotics team.  Attendees were treated to a demo of the Atlas robot performing one of the tasks for the upcoming DARPA competition. 

New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center held an open house with many fun demonstrations:

The Vecna Cares Human 5K Race and Robot 100m Robot Sprint Challenge brought out hundreds to celebrate and cheer on both runners and robots!  There was quite a variety of robots, as well as activities – there was even a robot playpen.

And supporting the race from MassTLC (Pictured left to right - Joyce, Clare, Mackenzie, Rachael, Ruth, Leah, and Mike):