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Mister Beacon Episode #75

Skin Wearable Technology

June 11, 2018

We all can relate to the feeling of an uncomfortable wristband, one that was fastened too tight, continuously scratching our wrists, or even too loose and falling off altogether. Personal identification, whether it be in healthcare, hospitality, or recreation, has yet to see many improvements either for the user or provider. Idion aims to change this by creating a skin-applied, hypoallergenic, and flexible personal identifier and platform using radio frequency technology. Michael Gilvary, co-founder and COO, partnered with Dr. Peter Costantino, Chair of Head and Neck Surgery at Northwell to design this revolutionary solution. For patients/users, Idion can provide a comfortable, safe method of identification with an additional value-add of aiding the user with relevant and personalized information, education, and services like navigation. For healthcare providers, this skin-applied solution offers a way of overcoming the significant problems associated with misidentification in hospitals and can provide ways of optimizing access control and logistics. In hospitality and recreation, Idion offers a new channel with a revenue-generating opportunity, offering upgrades, promotions, and prizes to the users and also providing valuable data and analytics in return to the providers.


  • Steve Statler 0:07

    The Mr. Beacon podcast is sponsored by Wiliot, scaling IoT with battery free Bluetooth. Welcome to the Mr. Beacon podcast. We're in New York. And we are at a very cool we work office with the folks from Idion. And I'm talking to Michael, Michael, what's your role?

    Michael Gilvary 0:30

    I'm the Chief Operating Officer for it on. Tell us what we do it on is a personal identification, security and experience platform. So if I break that into pieces, it's all done through this device. Very cool. Which is a skin applied personal identification device. So on this, we have radio free, this particular one has radiofrequency technology, but we could use others in your case, Bluetooth again. Yeah. So on the personal identification side, we use this to identify an individual using a UID number, and a specific non replicatable number that we can apply to an individual.

    Steve Statler 1:12

    I mean, you know, most things about hospitals are just horrible. But I can imagine with kids, this is like, you know, what do you do when a kid is done something to be praised, you give them a sticker, or you give them a thing to stick on them, they're gonna love this.

    Michael Gilvary 1:26

    Yeah, so they're broad application, there's healthcare, as you mentioned. And then there's also the second piece of this, which is more security related, so more like and it works for kids to where you're in an environment where there are lots of people, and you want to be able to identify people and logistically move them around the way you want to. And it comes up with kids a lot, because you could think of camps and events, you know, school trips, all these things are places where people need to be identified, they in a secure way, and be able to recall that information quickly. So you can get information in a case of just general logistics or even an emergency.

    Steve Statler 2:06

    This kind of was born out of medical context, isn't it?

    Michael Gilvary 2:10

    Right. So in health care, we we originally focused on replacing the hospital wristband. So the hospital wristband is, is universally disliked. For those who have been in healthcare setting they can attest. But even studies inside hospitals have shown that generally speaking, people are very uncomfortable with them. From a healthcare perspective, they also interfere interfere with IV placement, they create irritation on the skin. And they're a conduit for disease transmission. And I say that because in a healthcare setting, when you go from person to person to identify them with a wristband, you need to grab it physically. And there are things in place for sanitary purposes to try to prevent. But just inherently you're going to have some transmission from person to person. And width are devices is non contact, there'll be no reason for that individual to actually physically touch the person. And hence, you know, less opportunity to transfer something from patient to patient.

    Steve Statler 3:11

    So I mean, we had a look at it, what, what is this? And why does it stick out? And why doesn't it just come off?

    Michael Gilvary 3:18

    Yeah, so it's a hypoallergenic material. And it's all skin safe to be applied to skin. So there's an adhesive, there's an electronical component, and then there's a soft flexible material that is applied to surfaces skin to feel like skin be comfortable and discreet and easily forgotten that you have it on.

    Steve Statler 3:36

    Because if I was sticking like a bit of paper or plastic onto my skin, that would be the opposite of comfortable, but this has got some flex in it.

    Michael Gilvary 3:43

    Yeah, so some elasticity, you know, similar to the skin will go a long way and comfort on the skin. Okay, so something stiff will feel stiff. Something that has friction on it, you'll feel the friction when you when you run past it. But you know, if we you know, we could put that on your you'll see that it's very quickly, you'll forget that it's there, and it won't feel like much at all.

    Steve Statler 4:05

    And this particular version is that UHF, it's a UHF RFID NFC. NFC. Okay, so you would tap it with your phone, or

    Michael Gilvary 4:16

    Yeah, so there's two ways to look at it. Right. There's the if we take healthcare, for example, there's the facility side, and then there's the patient side. So for a patient, we want something that's secure, safe, comfortable. And then we can also deliver an experience like you described that's relevant to their stays. So education for the patient education for whatever they're there for things they could take home with that we can deliver that information through a smart device that they tap that's specific to them and their case. And then on top of all that we can put them in a more immersive experience in the hospital. So in New York, it's difficult to park it's difficult to find restaurants so we can deliver some more generic information about how to nap Have a gate through the hospital for all patients. And then also be more specific about your particular situation. Okay. On the flip side, we've got the facility now the facility is more interested in access and logistics, and delivering good care right person, right time right care. So what this does is creates a platform for all these disparate systems, whether it be physicians, or nurses, or administration or whatever or, or custodial, can all work together using this device as the central point to deliver care.

    Steve Statler 5:33

    Okay. And in terms of the other challenges with the existing product, you talked about comfort, you talked about the fact that they're not particularly clean, and hospitals are notorious for being dangerous places to, to go. So it'd be good to avoid that. And if you could just get rid of the backless gown. And I think that the combination of the backless gown removal and the the restrap removal could completely transform things. I mean, is there really an issue with other than the discomfort and the disease are there any other issues that you're solving

    Michael Gilvary 6:09

    Error associated with Miss identification are often because the patient doesn't have it on. And the number one culprit for taking off the person's wristband in a hospital is actually the care provider, the doctor, because what they'll need to do is deliver some sort of care that requires them to either remove it, or, or access something that's in the area. And my wife is actually a doctor at Columbia. And she's told me about situations where you could be placing IVs or a lines, which are arterial lines, and you don't know the wristband is there while you're doing it. But then once you push the gown up or do something, you see that it's there, and it creates a big issue, because it took you a long time to put that on, you don't want to take off the risk back because that creates possibility for error in the future. So there's kind of conflicting forces that are pushing against each other. And in some cases, even extreme cases, there are some like cardiothoracic surgery, for example, will remove all identification before they go in because they need access to both extremities. So there's some extreme cases that are that are, you know, in the picture, and then there's some more broad application?

    Steve Statler 7:16

    And tell us a bit about the company. What What kind of stage are you who are the founders?

    Michael Gilvary 7:22

    So I'm one of the founders, my partner, Dr. Peter Constantino is the original founder, if you will. He's the chair of Head and Neck Surgery at Northwell. And has a history of doing some companies in the past as well. So he's actively involved as the president and chairman of the board. And I'm the Chief Operating Officer.

    Steve Statler 7:41

    And where are you in the product development testing cycle? Yeah, so

    Michael Gilvary 7:47

    We're, we've already deployed it in a recreation setting, in a hospitality setting quite quite successfully. And we are doing a IRB, which is an institutional review board trial clinical trial, at a hospital system in New York in the coming months. But we're ready for we're ready for production or ready for sale.

    Steve Statler 8:08

    And I was thinking about you just in the medical context, but you've just opened up a whole broad set of applications. I mean, this is something that, it seems, I mean, can I just wash this off? Is it easy to get off? Or? Tell me about? Yeah, so

    Michael Gilvary 8:25

    I'll say it depends. Okay. So, you know, you brought up a good point that depends on the environment. So in a healthcare setting, where you're there for several days, you may be getting sponge baths, you may be iodine, these things may be being applied to the area that you want to be able to protect from Yeah, so you're going to have a stronger adhesion there to make sure that you can last through those things, right. Similarly, in a warm weather environment, you're going to want the same thing, because you're going to have not the same issues, but similar ones, where you're gonna have saltwater chlorine, you know, suntan lotion, oils, and things like that. So then, then you can soften things up in an environment where maybe you're just at a day event, and you don't expect to have any really strong environmental forces affecting what's going on. So it can be when it wants to be removed, you can remove it for certain, but once it's removed, it's destroyed. It's no longer functionally capable, either with the functionally capable or visually read.

    Steve Statler 9:25

    And is this going to be used in theme parks is that one of the markets that you're thinking of?

    Jessie Hazelrigg 9:31

    So we have four verticals, healthcare we talked about? Hospitality is another one. So in that realm, we're talking about destination hospitality. So, you know, resorts and cruises, things like that. And then on the recreation side, as the third vertical, we're looking at concerts, events, you know, things where people gather together and it's important to identify, and then the fourth one we're looking at is high security. So think religious pilgrimages are places where people come together, where security is very high. And there's a lot of focus on making sure that the right people are there, and that the ones that are there we can identify in a very secure way.

    Steve Statler 10:15

    I mean, there's just nothing worse than being in these water parks. And you're like, trying to figure out how to keep the dollar bills dry or worried about losing your card. So seems like there's a lot of opportunity. And obviously, Disney had done the Magic Band thing, but then you've got the band seems like this would be a lower cost option.

    Michael Gilvary 10:37

    And yeah, I mean, if you look at like the the band or even RFID wristbands, I mean, what what you're doing there is you're you're you're compounding a lot of the issues associated with comfort, with being discretes. And being easy to wear. And cost, of course, is you know, and really, you're not gaining much in return, right, we can do the vast majority of what you can do with those bands we can do with this at a lower cost and a much more discreet way.

    Steve Statler 11:03

    You mentioned RFID, this is NFC, do you see these being manufactured with other technologies?

    Michael Gilvary 11:10

    Absolutely, as they become available for us, it's about form factor, right? Like, we want to make sure that when it goes on to an individual, that it's it's a thing that something that they enjoy. So if the form factor fit, then you know, we would take whatever technology fits the application.

    Steve Statler 11:29

    And when we started talking through Wiliot art and battery free Bluetooth, and I don't want to kind of get into that because we're pre pre product, but But what about, have you looked at RFID? And what what are the pros and cons of having a 800 megahertz UHF kind of RFID chip in.

    Michael Gilvary 11:48

    So right off the bat with with UHF, you're going to need readers, you're going to need to set that that's it. That's a very large infrastructure spend. And that's actually a lot of the research suggests that that's why adoption has not happened over the last 10 or 15 years, you're also going to need a battery, you're going to need to power it in some way. Technology is getting there with printed electronics, and we're getting there with printing batteries. And in the future, we may get there, we're not quite there yet. So you've got large form factor, a large investment on the individual keys and on the infrastructure to make the piece work. So the beauty of this is that we're the only thing we need is a smart device, which the vast majority of the population already has in their hand.

    Steve Statler 12:34

    Very good. Anything else that we should cover? Do you think in terms of where you're what you're doing and where you're headed? I really love the the idea, I think the healthcare market seems like it's really a great stage to bring this out in because there's a lot of costs and issues that people are looking to optimize your hospitality play, I think, especially when you're tracking kids and, and so forth in grown ups, you know, if you can have no click payments, where basically you are the payment token. And you can use this to find people in parks and so forth. And that seems like a great opportunity.

    Michael Gilvary 13:16

    Yeah, and you touched on the, what's interesting, outside of health care is that now that we have if we took like a concert, for example, now that we have somebody that's a captive audience, we understand a lot about the individual, just the fact that they're there. And now we put this device on them and we put them in, you know, first things first, we need to make it good for the for the user, right for the for the patron. So we give them a good experience, we show them, you know what's going on the event logistics, promotions, prizes, and all those things to make it interesting and fun. But we can also now create revenue generating opportunities, because this becomes a new channel, right? This becomes a way that sponsorship can get a captive audience in their hand in a particular place. And driving that event, to a brick and mortar driving that event to a sale is something it's very difficult to tie now. But it's something we can do. So the revenue generating opportunities for merchandise, upgrades, promotions, prizes, all those things, there's a very good opportunity outside of the healthcare environment. And then the final piece to that is if you if you pull in one more thing that you can do on both sides, that's very interesting, we haven't talked about at all is the analytics, right? So just by the nature of having this on, we're going to collect some stuff that's not relevant to the individual but relevant for us learning about where people may be interacting and going right to general flow. So if you have an activation where you're a sponsor, and you you know, you want people to come in, it's nice to know how many people came in how long they stayed, you know, things like that. But then there's also for loyalty programs for super users, people that want to get more involved, they can then interact and engage in a way A that's more personal so that when they come back to the next event, there's more information that's already built in, we know who they are. And from there, you can start to imagine the things you can do, from event to event to to make the experience better for the individual.

    Steve Statler 15:15

    Wonderful. Well, I think you've got a lot of great things going for you with this. There's the analytics, there's the user experience, there's the whole operational side. Exciting times. Thanks very much for talking with

    Michael Gilvary 15:27

    Thank you. My pleasure.

    Steve Statler 15:34

    What three songs would you take on a journey to Mars?

    Michael Gilvary 15:37

    Okay, good. I was hoping you'd say Mars and not the moon. So the first one I picked because it just popped into my head, and you asked me was Beatles across the universe, because they're a great band just popped into my head. The second one I picked was the misfits. I turned into a Martian, which just kind of rocks to cool song. And the third one I picked has a little more relevance to what we're talking about, which is a relatively new band called The struts. I don't know if you've heard of them.

    Steve Statler 16:06

    I'm my son, and I listen to them all. Oh, perfect. So

    Michael Gilvary 16:09

    there's a song that they have said could have been me. Yeah. So it just talks about, you know, wanting to get the most that you can add a life and taking a lot of risk and in an entrepreneurial environment, you know, being bold and taking risk is important.

    Steve Statler 16:26

    And what about the Beatles? Does it kind of The Beatles conjure up any personal memories for you is looking like a time when you first heard them? Yeah.

    Michael Gilvary 16:34

    So I could tell you an anecdote or story. My mother was actually at what is now Citi Field, but Shea Stadium, when the Beatles invaded the United States. She was actually there. And I and I asked her, she, you know, she waited online for days to get tickets. And yeah, she went to the show, and she's telling me all about it. And I'm like, oh, it's super great. And I'm like, how they sound and she goes, Oh, I didn't hear a thing. It's just it just screaming uncontrollably everybody there for two hours. And that was it.

    Steve Statler 17:07

    Well, that was the point, wasn't it? They that's actually your mother was responsible for them. No longer touring was so noisy. They couldn't hear themselves plan. They said we're not going to do this anymore.

    Michael Gilvary 17:16

    Yeah. So yeah, so it conjures up good memories of my childhood and my parents and there's a great rock band and good group.

    Steve Statler 17:24

    Incredible. Very good. Thanks very much.

    Michael Gilvary 17:26

    My pleasure.