Cornelia Mender's profile picture

Summit in China - This journey has just begun

I was so fortunate to be able to participate on the Norway China Business Summit in China, 7th-8th of April (Beijing and Shanghai) organized by Innovation Norway, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries and the Norwegian Embassy in China. This was a historic moment since this was the first visit to China by a Norwegian prime minister for 10 years. It was my first trip to China, and it has given me memories for life. Innovation Norway had invited the large Norwegian corporates like Statoil, Telenor, Hydro, Yara, Kongsberg, Kvaerner, Aker as well as small and aspiring companies, and the Chinese counterparts. In place was also academia, incubators and investors from both countries.

Erna Solberg declared clearly, at the Summit opening in Beijing, that she was here to pave the way for cooperation and growth. She was followed by Jack MA (executive chairman of Alibaba Group) who kept the whole audience in his hand with an inspiring tribute to Norway and the necessity to strive for sustainability, entrepreneurship, happiness and health. Data is going to be the most precious resource in the future, Jack Ma said. I think Innovation Norway, by Anita Krohn Traaseth, has taken a significant role in connecting expertise, suppliers, partners, customers and capital on a global arena. Bringing businesses, academia and investors together and facilitating the event and the establishment of new relations will give long term results. The two days in Beijing and Shanghai entailed a full program from morning to night covering different topics in separate sessions; Maritime, Oil & Gas, Green Shift & Green Smart Cities, Startup, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Healthcare, Tourism, and The Digital Marketplace / Sharing Economy.

My company, Novelda a developer of smart sensors (XeThru), has its key focus on applications for people detection (home/building automation) and healthcare. In China, we participated in the healthcare session under the title; “Norway China Cooperation and Outlook in Healthcare” led by Kathrine Myhre (CEO, ), together with several other start-ups like Dignio (Remote Care solutions), Conceptomed (Luer-Jack syringe), Epiguard (patient isolation system for transportation), Jodacare (communication solutions), and the Intervention Center of University of Oslo, as well as our Chinese colleagues. Congratulations to my fellow companies in signing agreements during the summit. Seeing other companies, large or small, coming from cities like Oslo or small places like Ballstad in Troms signing letters of intent or commercial agreements inspires and gives confidence that this is possible for anyone.

China summit Luer Jack

Speakers from the Session “Norway China Cooperation and Outlook in Healthcare” led by Kathrine Myhre, Oslo Medtech.

The global society is confronting huge challenges within the area of healthcare and traditional methods will not meet the future demand for healthcare services. The aging population is one of the reasons for this. Between 2015 and 2030 the number of people aged 60+ will rise with 56% from 901 million to 1.4 billion according to WHO. By 2050 – there will be more people 60+ than young people aged 10-24 years. There will be an increase of chronic diseases; half a billion people will have diabetics within 2035. And the challenge is that by 2050 there will not be enough hands – caregivers. Globally there will be a shortage of 13 million people in the healthcare workforce. We truly need healthcare services that are better and more effective. We must rethink and improve how we provide those health services enabling us to meet the challenges in the society. The technology itself will never solve the challenge, but combined with cooperation and new approaches in the way we provide healthcare services, technology adoption will be crucial. As a society we need that you and I will be more responsible for our own health, and that we are able to take the actions ourselves to prevent illness. And thereby off-loading the health services and making the approach to health proactive instead of reactive.

One of Noveldas ambition’s is to support the healthcare givers to provide better and more efficient care by remote monitoring of elderly. Today health workers do physical visits at night to people´s homes just to check that their conditions are okay, without any particular reason or triggers. Going into people´s homes when they are sleeping, with the risk of waking them up and making them worried is not optimal, even though the intention is good. It´s expensive, not targeted and the resources could be used in a better way. With XeThru sensor the persons living in their homes or in an institution don’t need to be disturbed. Whether they are asleep or awake, they can be monitored remotely from the medical institution or by their relatives. This saves time and money for the healthcare services. And the best of it, there is no camera or video intruding the persons´ private life.

Insufficient sleep is an undermined public health problem.  Lack of sleep among the U.S. workforce is costing approximately $411 billion and losing 1.2 million working days per year Without enough sleep, we make errors and we use longer time doing tasks, we are less concentrated and our memory is impacted. In fact, 21% of fatal car crashes in the US is related to lack of sleep. Insufficient sleep duration has been linked with seven of the fifteen leading causes of death in the United States, including cardiovascular disease, malignant neoplasm, cerebrovascular disease, accidents, diabetes, septicaemia and hypertension (Kochanek et al., 2014)

Peoples´ health can be improved by starting monitoring and understanding what is impacting sleep. With our sensor, XeThru, you can monitor your sleep in a contactless way so you don’t need to think about putting on a wearable, starting and stopping it, or charging. And the most important thing is that you can trust the sleep data. For the XeThru sensor, we are setting the highest quality requirements to its accuracy. Going forward, gathering data from various sensors combining it with advanced machine learning will improve and provide much more individualized health reports and goals, than the generic guidelines of today. An example of this is guidelines for sleep for an adult can span from 6 to 10 hours. Individualized health analysis will give you your personal target.

China is also a country confronted with healthcare challenges. On my trip, we were privileged to invite customers and partners to the Business Summit. It gives an extra boost in the relation to be invited in such a context. I also feel also that we have been very lucky with the timing of the Norway China Business Summit since we got our first employee in place of Novelda office in China just before the Summit.

What made great impression on me, in my meeting with China and Chinese people, is their ability and willingness to work through obstacles and execute. Norway is a small country with 5 million inhabitants. China has 1.3 billion inhabitants, and it is impressive to see how, despite the huge population, the nation educates and nurtures smart minds and organizes their society. The Chinese people I have met shows great interest, optimism and eagerness to explore, cooperate and succeed. I have been met with openness and a willingness to share. So now it remains to work to realize ideas and translate plans into practice. This journey has just begun.