Normally our CEO blog talks about issues specific to medical device innovation with a focus on the medical and regulatory side. For this post I'm going to digress into discussing something I think is an incredible opportunity for mobile fitness, mHealth and new market innovators who have a significant technology component to their business.
Every startup that uses technology has to make an initial choice about the platform for their solution In the mobile device field that usually means choosing whether to target the iPhone or the Android platform. But that’s only the front end. You still need to build a communications and data infrastructure behind either or both efforts.
Apple has put forth their HealthKit and Google similarly has Google Fit. But if you integrate directly to these you are tied to the respective platform and that adds costs in the future when you wish to support the other platform because you almost have to rebuild from scratch. Besides Google and Apple, the other two major Cloud Computing vendors are Amazon and Microsoft. And here I am going to make a somewhat unusual claim and recommendation:
Our experience has been that not only is Microsoft's Cloud Computing Solution the most comprehensive and advanced, but Microsoft's Innovator program known as BizSpark is probably the lowest cost way of getting your idea to market. Unlike AWS, Windows Azure allows you to simply build your application. No longer do you have to spend time configuring and managing the Linux OS, the Tomcat web server, the MySQL database server and the JBoss App server.
Instead, you write code using PHP, Java, Python or .NET ,– and you deploy it on Windows Azure PaaS and it just runs. Here is the key: If you are an innovator with a company that has been started within the last 3 years and currently have less than $1 million in revenue and are privately held - then you qualify for Bizspark. And what Bizspark gets you is:
- Up to 5 seats of all of Microsoft's development tools
- 40% discount on Windows Azure Services
- $150 monthly credit towards operations of those discounted services
Note that one of the features of Windows Azure is their Mobile Services that work with BOTH iOS and Android enabling PushNotification, automated data gathering etc http://tinyurl.com/q646me8
Another critical feature we got from Bizspark was the free VisualStudio Online source code repository. A source code repository is mandatory for anyone building mHealth solutions because even if your app does not fall within the Medical Device classifications – code version control and other code quality control requirements still exist for any code that touches personal data.
For us at ClearRoadmap™ – this enabled us to start building a solution right away on the infrastructure we are going to ship on. Azure let us not only just code to a PaaS platform and run a full SQL datastore as well as a blob store – but we have the assurance that when, and if, we need to run in a full HIPAA compliant environment, it's simply a matter of signing a Business Agreement with Microsoft, paying a slightly increased fee and having our services moved to a different part of the datacenter. And here is the key – WITH NO ADDITIONAL MANAGEMENT on our part.
Furthermore with Azure's Mobile services platform and its Content Delivery Network, we – are insured that our application runs full speed literally around the world.
So for mHealth innovators in particular – BizSpark and building on Microsoft Windows Azure is a way to get to market faster and cheaper. And that means faster profits.
-- Karl Schulmeisters, Co-Founder and CTO, Carver Global Health Group LLC| email@example.com