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Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DigiSCAN (DigiSCAN)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2017-01-31

The mobile industry is playing a central role in supporting economic activity and recovery in the EU region, contributing 3.1% to Europe’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, equivalent to €433 billion, including €105 billion generated directly by mobile operators. By 2020, it is estimated that the industry will generate a total economic value of €492 billion. The sector provided direct employment to approximately 1.8 million people across Europe in 2013, and indirectly supported a further 600,000 jobs. Introducing new technologies that strengthen use of mobile phones in particular encourage economic growth and job creation in this sector while also addressing demand for ‘mobile hardware’. In the meantime the image sensor market is expected to grow $15.8 Billion by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of 8.06% from 2014 with strongest growth in the APAC region. High power consumption by CCD image sensor is considered as the major restraining factor in the development of market, which is an issue that was looking to be addressed by DigiSCAN, based on more efficient use of. micro-processing technology.

Existing scanning applications available via mobile devices have a very limited functionality and field of application. More complex and sophisticated technologies are currently only available in industrial and office settings. EPISCAN Ltd intends for its advanced scanning technology to be migrated into mobile devices hardware and to eliminate the need to use additional hardware whilst offering extended, complex, leading-edge functionality. The intention is to develop a suite of applications with specific industries in mind, starting with the application for label error detection in the pharma industry, which would be a spin-off based on current in-line technology, however the scope of this technology is so unique that it can be applied to a number of other industries. EPISCAN Ltd already have developed an in-line system that can be integrated within a manufacturing line for use by producers in highly regulated industry such as biosciences and pharma, but also their print and packaging suppliers/printing specialists. EPISCAN Ltd would be effectively migrating this technology into the mobile device hardware and develop a set of applications exploiting the features of this technology for the high-volume market. The software will be novel in the way it is able to provide omni-directional reading incorporating verification and validation of scanned image/data in the first instance for the purpose of quality control. Because of its application for Pharma industry, DigiSCAN benefit to society is that it increases the safety and protects the wellbeing of citizens by providing means of labeling quality control which eliminates costly and often dangerous labelling errors on pharmaceutical products.

EPISCAN Ltd is a company specialising in intelligent vision solutions for highly regulated industries. We currently manufacture label inspection systems based on scanning technology that is highly sophisticated and enables detection of errors on items such as pharmaceutical labelling undetectable by the human eye. Part of the feedback from our clients was demand for a hand-held device utilising the same technology. Further research and market scoping revealed potential for use of this technology within mobile phones/android devices with a much wider scope of application. The development of this scanning technology for mobile devices/androids would be highly disruptive compared to what is currently available on the market and would have a wide range of applications, such as eliminating the need for additional/separate hardware with scanning capabilities far beyond the current standards in particular in terms of OCR, colour recognition and processing of visual details invisible to the human eye. The proposed technology has the potential to significantly augment the way in which we interact with, capture, process, measure and distribute data from within our physical environment with the mobile devices as the only tangible medium required. The specific objectives of the feasibility study are to explore the technical feasibility of moving the existing technology (which is unique in its own right) to the mobile device and establishing market and cost feasibility.
As part of the feasibility project, a detailed market analysis was undertaken, which included direct consultation with the target group of customers, interviews and questionnaires, supported by desk based secondary market research that carefully examined market trends, potential barriers and opportunities, as well as limitations dictated by regulation and legislation. The resulting specification based on needs of the target customers were then translated into a high-level technological spec, in co-operation with the technological partner based in Taiwan, specialising in hardware solutions optimised for mobile phone integration (minimised hardware dimensions, integrating maximum performance) as one of the key obstacles to overcome was to develop a camera solution that has enhanced capability compared to current standard. The technological feasibility of the proposed migration of the scanning technology was proven as viable and the technological partners will be moving forward to exploit the results and ensuing intellectual property in a joint-venture, to be established and based in Ireland.

The final product specification was developed to exploit the opportunity identified in the e-Health sector, with hospitals as the primary target market segment and goes beyond simple label verification to provide an integrated smart medication management system: Medicare - a smart medication & identification system based on the Digiscan mobile scanning technology. EU health systems are under severe budgetary constraints, while having to respond to the challenges of an ageing population, rising expectations of citizens, and mobility of patients and health professionals. Public health expenditure in the EU's 27 Member States was on average 5.9% of GDP in 1990, rose to 7.2% of GDP in 2010, and the projections show that expenditure may continue to grow to 8.5% of GDP in 2060 due to the ageing population, decrease in work force and other factors. In addition, the long term care expenditure projection would on average almost double over the projection period. The impact is being felt today and is particularly acute at a time of increased pressure on public budgets, a steady decline in the number of health personnel, higher incidence of chronic diseases and growing demands and expectations from citizens for higher quality services and social care. eHealth and wellbeing are areas that have been highlighted by the European Commission as having high growth potential and possibilities for innovation notably by unlocking effective health data exchange.
Smart Medicare, based on DigiScan core technology, will incorporate the latest development in mobile scanning hardware developed by its technological partner, combined with customised functional software developed by Episcan Ltd. The hardware, combined with a customised mobile application (app) technology, will be able to deliver an integrated, sophisticated solution for medication identification/smart medication management addressing some of the extremely complex issues relating to prescription errors and fragmentation of communication and data administration between the general practitioner, hospital, pharmacist and patient thereby becoming an important driver of better and improved healthcare in general and specifically advancing eHealth management.

The market potential of eHealth is strong. The global telemedicine market has grown from $9.8 billion in 2010 to $11.6 billion in 2011, and is expected to continue to expand beyond $27.3 billion in 2016, representing a compound annual growth rate of 18.6%. eHealth can deliver more personalised ‘citizen-centric’ healthcare, which is more targeted, effective and efficient and helps reduce errors, as well as the length of hospitalisation. It facilitates socio-economic inclusion and equality, quality of life and patient empowerment through greater transparency and access to services and information. Furthermore, fostering a spirit of innovation in eHealth in Europe is the way forward to ensure better health and better and safer care for EU citizens, more transparency and empowerment, a more skilled workforce, more efficient and sustainable health and care systems, better and more responsive public administrations, new business opportunities and a more competitive European economy that can benefit from international trade in eHealth. Beyond the EU, specific opportunities have been identified in US & Asia, where the number of preventable deaths resulting from prescription and medication errors is particularly high. For example, US hospitals report medical errors (which includes prescription errors) as the third leading cause of preventable death, as highlighted by the British Medical Journal, which Medicare will help alleviate significantly. The commercialisation of this technology will therefore have a wide socio-economic impact, leading to increased competitiveness of EU in eHealth, creation of additional revenue and jobs, and a significant social impact due to improvement of healthcare and medication management systems leading to improved communication, avoidance of (often fatal) errors, and superior patient care, thereby delivering real tangible benefits to the citizens and the economy.