October Research Picks

Technology to cope with diabetes

Growing numbers of people are becoming overweight and obese, with the attendant increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its various health problems. As such, there are more people with debilitating health problems that often leave them housebound or otherwise reliant on regular visit from healthcare professionals. Managing chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, in the changing population might be made somewhat easier by technological solutions for remote monitoring of symptoms. Researchers at the University of Hohenheim, in Stuttgart, Germany, has reviewed commercial diabetes monitoring solutions available on the market with a view to identifying the universal benefits and the shortcomings of such technology in order to better inform the people designing the next generation tools. Real-time glucose monitoring devices, wireless and smart phone communications technologies all provide advantages for improved healthcare in such patients. Nevertheless, they all have limitations in terms of usability, accessibility, efficacy and error margins.

Peter, G. (2014) ‘Technological solutions in chronic disease management for monitoring diabetes‘, Int. J. Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp.380-397.


Paying for entertainment and news

Anssi Tarkiainen, Heli Arminen and Olli of the Kuivalainen School of Business, at Lappeenranta University of Technology, in Finland, hope to address one of the most pressing questions of our technological: When it comes to online content, who is willing to pay and for what? They have focused on the newspaper industry, which is struggling to survive, it seems, as free, online news is so widely available. However, the team has found that many users are still buying printed newspapers and simultaneously turning to free, online resources. Indeed, the team has identified four consumer segments: full content users, region-oriented users, surveillance users and entertainment-seeking users. It is only among the consumers in the latter segment that it seems value of the online news is perceived and those people are thus willing to pay for this content.

Tarkiainen, A., Arminen, H. and Kuivalainen, O. (2014) ‘Online content: who is willing to pay and for what?‘, Int. J. Business Information Systems, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp.283-305.


Bigger brands are greener

The bigger the brand, the more likely it is to be genuine in its efforts to reduce the size of its carbon footprint, according to research by a team at the University of Colorado, in Denver. While many companies would like to be perceived as making their contribution to global efforts aimed at reducing carbon emissions, there are some that are less honest in their approach. A statistical analysis of emissions goals reveals that it is more likely that firms with higher growth, in high emission industries, and those in the consumer/retail sector are more likely to be focused on an intensity-only carbon dioxide emissions goal. This essentially means that the company can carry on growing without reducing its emissions absolutely. In contrast, stronger brands seemed to avoid the “greenwashing” and are more transparent about their absolute emission targets.

Byrd, J., Cooperman, E.S. and Bettenhausen, K. (2014) ‘Determinants of corporate carbon reduction targets‘, Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp.271-289


Cloudy ethics

Many businesses are adopting the cloud computing model with a view to cutting costs and improving efficiency. However, as with any new technology there is always the potential for unethical behavior. Issam Kouatli of the Lebanese American University, Chouran, Beirut, Lebanon point out that while malware is often the main focus of computer security systems, such as antivirus software and firewalls, it is the “peopleware” that can be the weak link in any system where visitors to a premises or even the company’s own employees can represent a risk of leaking or corrupting data for whatever malicious or competitive reason or for personal gain. Proper ethics guidelines need to be established, implemented and enforced, the team suggests based on their review of the state-of-the-art regarding information technology in the workplace and in the context of cloud computing.

Kouatli, I. (2014) ‘Impact of un-ethical IT behaviours to cloudy businesses‘, Int. J. Trade and Global Markets, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp.205-213.

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.